The well-known designer and podcaster talks skill sets, SASS, and CSS experiments
Una Kravets talks podcasts, skill sets, SASS and CSS experiments
net: You’re clearly as talented a visual artist as you are a technical programmer. Has that helped or hindered your career development? UK: *me blushes* The answer to this is the classic: it depends. Anywhere that it really matters, such as in my work and the products I build, it absolutely helps. Having multiple skill sets allows you to have unique perspectives and understand the bigger picture. However, in a hiring environment, companies still don’t really know what to do with hybrids, so you don’t really end up being able to leverage your skills to their full potential.
net: We’re loving your CSS experiments, such as travels.surge.sh. Are these mainly done for fun, or are they a fundamental part of your process? UK: My CSS experiments are done to practise with experimental technology in a low-stakes situation. To me, the best way to learn is by doing, so I’m always doing a variety of side projects, combining my personal interests and the technologies I want to work with. The project you mention, travels.surge.sh, actually became the subject of one of my first talks about blend modes.
net: You started both the DC and Austin Sass Meetup groups, as well as internal meetups at various places you’ve worked. What do you see as the biggest challenges to the future of Sass? UK: I don’t really see any challenges. Sass is a great technology that makes a lot of things possible that CSS does not otherwise. It integrates well into other systems as well.
net: What things are exciting you most in web design right now? UK: CSS Grid ( w3.org/TR/css3-grid-layout) is very exciting, along with the adoption of blend modes and new colour modes (like Lab Colors). Layout and design in the browser is getting much more powerful.
net: You divide your time between blogging, speaking (una.im/speaking), podcasting (toolsday. io), and your day job as UI Engineer at Digital Ocean. Is there a natural synergy between them all, or is it sometimes a struggle to fit everything in? UK: It all fits into my current life goal of making the web a more beautiful, accessible and performant place. Each builds off of each other and each experience is a learning opportunity. Of course it’s hard to fit everything in, but you have to make time for the things you’re interested in and care about.
net: What have you been working on lately? UK: I’m launching a book! This is something I’ve been working on with a publisher for a while now: writing a guidebook to front-end development that’s beautifully illustrated and accessible. I think it’s something that’s really missing from the current content we have today and I’m really excited to announce that it’ll be coming soon! If you want to stay updated, follow me on Twitter @una or subscribe to my newsletter, Web Love, at: tinyletter.com/weblove.
Una Kravets will be speaking at An Event Apart in Washington on 10 July and Chicago on 28 August.