2019: A year in review

— 6 minute read

It’s been a hell of a year for me this year. So much good has happened—I’m incredibly privileged to be able to say that.

I’ve published a book, delivered an opening keynote at an international conference and had my most successful year in this industry, so let’s celebrate a bit with some reflection.

Work permalink

This year, I have had a very successful year as a freelancer. I’ve been really lucky to have such good clients that have allowed me to work on stuff I really care about. Some projects haven’t gone smoothly, but others have gone better than I could have ever imagined.

This year has put my business in a really strong position to start to transition into something that is less of a client services business and more of a product and education business in the future. That work will continue and accelerate in 2020.

I’ve also made a few side projects, as per…

Every Layout permalink

Every Layout has been a huge success for Heydon and I. It’s taken off far more than we ever thought it would do and has enabled us both to do more stuff for ourselves this year.

Importantly, thanks to so many people buying a copy, we’ve been able to give tonnes away to those who need it the most. Thank you to each one of you who has enabled us to do that.

Next year will see even more stuff get added to the project, including some work which will make integrating the layouts with JavaScript frameworks such as React, Preact and Vue a lot easier.

Let’s just say I’m very glad Heydon wanted me to work on it with him. Nice one, pal.

Front-End Challenges Club permalink

For something that was a shower thought, Front-End Challenges Club has been a whirlwind, early success. I honestly thought about 2 people would sign up for it and I’d end up having to give them a refund. It’s had so many more than that and the list keeps on growing!

I think 2020 will be a great year for this project and I’m really excited to have an excuse to build cool stuff and teach folks important skills. It’s also had a complete redesign and re-platforming to help with those changes and as it stands, I couldn’t be happier with how it’s all going.

Piccalilli permalink

In March, I got bored of reading tech tweets about JavaScript. I can’t remember what the drama of the day was, but I created this thread because I wanted to look at some cool stuff.

That escalated into me creating a goddamn newsletter, Piccalilli!

I love running this newsletter and seemingly, people love reading it as it now has around 2,000 subscribers!! Sharing links to cool stuff and giving people a signal boost makes me really happy and it’ll continue to plod along next year.

Time to embrace React and Gatsby permalink

You may have noticed that I don’t have much good to say about React and Gatsby. I’ve come to realise recently, that they don’t show any sign of going away, so instead of being a grumpy curmudgeon, I want to get more involved in the communities to help folks get better at progressive enhancement, accessibility and performance.

If I try to force people to reject technologies by yelling at them about my ideals, they’re understandably not going to listen. This attitude has created a lot of conflict for me this year and it’s something that I want to change.

I want to reach out to folks in these communities and try to work out how to create material that will be the most beneficial. A starting point will be making Gatsby the focus of my upcoming course: “Let’s Build A Landing Page”. It’s already going to be heavily focussed on performance, scalable CSS and accessibility, so I want to introduce a framework that’s not often associated with those. I think that will make the course endlessly more useful and appealing.

You can read a thread I wrote about my attitude towards React and Gatsby here.

What’s coming next permalink

I’m making big changes to what I do, starting next year. The first big change is a leap into education. I will produce two courses next year:

  1. CSS From Scratch
  2. Let’s Build A Landing Page

I’m really excited about making them and in terms of pre-production planning, they’re both ready to go. I’ve just got to get my head down and write some material for them.

The landing page course will come first: hopefully early 2020. The CSS course will likely be towards the end of 2020.

I’m also going to be working on some products. I’m obsessed with people being able to make money on the web and that’s what I’ll be focussed on. I’m not going to go much into what I’m planning, but let me just say, the power will be back in your hands…

Goals for 2020 permalink

I’m not setting goals this year because I never keep track of them and so many things change. I’m just setting three principles for myself to follow instead:

  • Take more notes
  • Take less shit
  • Do more to help those who need the most help

I’m also going to get much better at bullet journalling. That’s had a massive positive effect for me.

Wrapping up permalink

Thank you to everyone who has enabled me to have a positive year. I celebrate 10 years in this industry this year and with 2020 bringing a fresh decade, I want to start it in the most positive way possible to set the groundwork for another 10 years!

Next year will be a big year for my country, too. We’re almost certainly going to leave the EU, which is devastating. We’re also going to experience a brutal, unforgiving, populist regime in government. I want to do as much as possible to counter that.

I hope you have a great new year, too. Thanks for reading.

Hi 👋
I’m Andy, a freelance web designer

I currently have availability for short term design and front-end development projects.

Hire me