The best of January's web design podcasts

Responsive Web Design Podcast, Episode 21: AIDS.gov

Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte quiz the AIDS.gov team

Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte quiz the AIDS.gov team

Continuing with the theme of users in crisis, episode 21 of Responsive Web Design Podcast looks at the responsive build of AIDS.gov. An interesting moment in the conversation arises when the team are asked about differences between desktop and mobile users. They reveal that there is a strong split, with visitors from mobile devices using more personal language and asking specific questions such as "How do I get AIDS?", "I feel sick, do I have AIDS?", "Can I get AIDS from X?". They cite additional data about how, in a health crisis, people often turn to their phones, and for this site they prioritised the use case of an anxious person seeking personal information.

Episode 19 is also worth a listen: it's the hosts Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte summing up some of their biggest learnings of 2014.

This Developer's Life 2.0.9: Drama

Why are arguments about coding so passionate?

Why are arguments about coding so passionate?

This Developer's Life has taken on the styling of This American Life, but it's about programming. This episode examines the phenomenon of drama in dev land, and it starts with the story of an infamous flame war in which harsh words were exchanged over the issue of semi colons. The host wonders, "Is it a guy thing?". Sara Chipps compares it to an incident she witnessed as a child when she was watching boys play sport and suddenly they all piled on one kid and she didn't understand why. She still does not understand "the pile on mentality".

Deep questions: "The paradox of holding an opinion and keeping an open mind… When do opinions become a faith you hold on to at all costs?" Bad words: "'Rockstar', 'guru' imply someone who's done all their learning, when really we should be unlearning and relearning every few years."

Aaron "@tenderlove" Patterson explains that his relentlessly positive attitude is actually a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of open source programming, and reveals that his famous 'Twitter hugs' have actually carried over into the real world, with strangers approaching him at conferences for real flesh hugs. On flaming he says: "For each of those there are 10 nice people who don't care about your argument. There are tons of people not involved – I want those to be seen more." He also talks about the origins of tenderlovemaking.com.

Hustle, Episode 13: The future of the design agency

Is the design agency as we know it dead?

Is the design agency as we know it dead?

The shock news of Teehan+Lax being acquired by Facebook has added some heat to the already hot topic of the sustainability of design agencies as we know them today, with the word "death" being bandied about quite a bit. In this episode of Hustle Greg Storey, former partner at Happy Cog, discusses what the future may hold for design agencies.

CTRL+CLICK CAST, Episode 35: Pursuing your passion practically

Sometimes a supportive day job beats doing your passion full-time

Sometimes a supportive day job beats doing your passion full-time

We often hear "pursue your passion and the money will follow", but most of us know it's not always that easy. It's an idea that assumes you don't have other responsibilities. In this episode hosts Lea Alcantara and Emily Lewis talk to Beth Dean, whose job as a product designer at Facebook enables her to pursue her passion for illustration on her own terms. She discovered at a certain point in her life that what she was really looking for in a job - what made her happiest - was an environment that supported her creativity. It's a priority that comes above any particular career objectives. "It's been transformative", she says. Working a day job at Facebook means she can take only the commissions she wants, rather than having to spend time drawing things she didn't want to just to make money. They go on to discuss the importance of self-awareness and of nurturing your passion, forming an interesting starting point for your thoughts if you're looking for a way to weave your passion into your career.

The Gently Mad, Episode 20: What to do when you don't know what to do

Why does having a podcast make people think you know what you're doing?

Why does having a podcast make people think you know what you're doing?

The conversation in CTRL+CLICK CAST is useful if you know what your passion is, but not everyone does. In The Gently Mad, Adam Clark just lays it out there: "I don't know what the fuck I'm doing and it surprises me that people email me and assume that I do know what I'm doing, because I have a podcast.

"It can be very overwhelming and depressing when you have a job you don't like. You know it's not what you're here for, but you don't know what the thing is, and you don't know how to find it. How do you know which way to turn when you don't know where you're going?

"I do have a couple of strategies. One is you just gotta try something. You gotta make a turn and see where it leads. You don't like it? You can turn back and take another direction. Just throw the stick and go after it and see what happens.

"Don't fear picking the wrong thing. None of it is a waste. Embrace the season you're in and take advantage of the opportunities it affords you to make progress."

Words: Tanya Combrinck

Tanya Combrinck has been writing about the web for over four years, and the internet is actually her preferred method of interacting with humanity. You can find her on Twitter at @tanyacombrinck.

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