Parker Henderson

Designer. Engineer. Tinkerer. Thinker.

Things I want to Learn/Improve on in 2019

3/11/2019

Early this year I tweeted a pretty exhaustive list of things I wanted to learn and improve on this year. Almost all of the items were technical or related to my work in some fashion, but after a bit of thinking, I realized it was a bit too much. So I decided to narrow the list down to 7 topics that I have an interest in and can apply to side projects and my job.

React & Redux

All the hype around the React ecosystem encouraged me to learn it, and I'm glad I did. However, even after around a year of working with React and getting a firm understanding of the concepts and fundamentals, I've never been able to wrap my head around Redux and other state management libraries like MobX. The idea and concepts behind it make sense to me in my head, but in practice I to know what goes where and how to set up everything. The goal here is to have a solid understanding of how React and Redux work together and be able to build my own React/Redux apps confidently.

Vanilla Javascript

With the previous topic comes a need for more in-depth knowledge of plain javascript. I've never really taken the time to learn about the good and bad of more advanced Javascript practices and topics, so as I go about going deeper into the React world, I'm sure this be running in parallel as I try to figure out what I'm doing..

A few concepts here I plan to learn and better my knowledge on…

  • Closures
  • Inheritence
  • Functional Programming
  • Promises
  • Testing

There is a lot more for me to learn, but lets start with some small stuff, yeah?

CSS Layout

I'm quite confident with CSS, but when it comes to responsive layout, I still depend heavily on hacking flexbox, and good 'ol floats to get my results. I've done a few projects with grid, but there are still a ton of holes in my knowledge that I don't feel confident using it for real projects yet..

A few things I'm still trying to figure out about grid…

  • When to use Grid vs Flexbox
  • Nested Grids? (Wtf)

3D

I started my career in design wanting to do game design, so the first tools I touched were 3D tools like Cinema 4D and Unity. It's been a while since I used them, so my knowledge of them is rough now, but with my increasing interest in VR/AR, I want to refresh my understanding so I can start experimenting with some ideas I have related to 3D interfaces and other nonsense.

Swift

I've tried Swift a few times, and honestly, I still have mixed feelings. However, as of late a majority of my work has been on mobile apps, and I tend to like to understand how my designs are implemented and who wouldn't want to learn another programming language?

The main concepts and topics I am looking to learn…

  • Core Graphics & animation
  • UIKit and everything to do with creating custom UIs and UI elements
  • ARKit

Math of Color

After Lyft released their color tool, Colorbox, I became extremely interested in learning about the math and numbers behind how colors are represented and manipulated. I have a good understanding of basic color theory, but it doesn't go much farther than being able to build a decent color palette using my eyes. I don't think I'll ever be completely comfortable with this topic, but I've enjoyed reading and learning about color and how it works across different mediums.

Writing

That's the goal of this blog. Hopefully, this will give me a place to share my thoughts and build a habit of writing consistently to help me improve on my written communication which will also help me become a better designer/developer.

There's a lot more, but these are more than enough for me to focus on over the next 12 months or so.

Thanks for reading.