Finding time to stay up-to-date with current trends in web design can be a challenge, but is of utmost importance in the world of technology today.
Although technologies themselves don’t change quickly – because they take a long time to be developed and tested – the same cannot be said for the application of existing technologies, which evolve at a rapid pace in all kinds of new ways.
So how best to keep current with all that’s going on? Here’s a list of our recommendations:
Locate and filter
- Find some great sources. Try blogs, podcasts, news sites, online TV, webcasts, email newsletters and online tutorials.
- On Twitter and other similar social networking sites, follow the right people, who will filter content for you. These people may be leaders in the field themselves, but will more often be those who are one step removed, providing up-to-date, informative and reliable news and information.
- Be selective, both in your choice of sources and people, so that your incoming information streams remain relevant and easy to use.
- Sign up for Google Alerts, where you can have new and relevant articles delivered directly to your inbox, based on your areas of expertise and interest.
- Use time-saving tools such as RSS feed readers and bookmarking services (Pinboard, Delicious and so on) to filter, save and organise important information.
Read, look and listen
- There are many fantastic blogs out there that are perfect for keeping up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of technology today. Once you find one you like, make sure you subscribe and bookmark the site.
- When you do have a bit more time to spare, browse through galleries, portfolios and showcases of work. Award-winning websites can give you inspiration, but don’t forget to look at other, smaller sites too for quirky, more individual ideas.
- Podcasts don’t take up too much time – you can listen to them whilst driving to work, during your lunch hour or even in the bath! And subscribing to a podcast series means that you can save your favourites and listen to them at your leisure.
Join and interact
- Attend conferences, workshops and networking events to learn what’s happening at the ‘front end’ of web technology. Getting amongst other like-minded individuals and taking yourself away from the computer can open up opportunities and develop your thinking in new ways.
- Participate in forums and take part in Twitter live chats. These are great places to get quick and easy answers to questions you may have.
- Join online groups – such as those within LinkedIn – to find out directly what people are talking about and to comment and interact with ‘hot topics’.
- Talk to people! Ask your friends and colleagues who they follow, what they read and which tools they use to keep track of new information and stay current.
Play and teach
- Often the quickest way to learn something new is to simply try it out. Playing with new technology and testing how it works in new situations not only allows you to understand how it works, but might lead you to new discoveries and innovations yourself, which you can then share with others.
- One of the best ways of retaining information and technical know-how is to teach it to others. Whether this is through researching and writing an article, publishing a podcast, writing an ebook or giving a presentation, teaching a topic requires you to know your subject inside out and is a great learning method.
With a little organisation (and the ability to avoid spending all your time on Twitter…), staying up-to-date with trends in the world of web design needn’t be difficult or time-consuming.
As well as preventing your skills, knowledge and output from becoming dated, our tips above will also help to keep you motivated and inspired to try new things in what is a wonderfully exciting digital environment.