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Things we love 8

At FutureLearn, we’re always on the look out for new sources of inspiration and share what we learn with the world every month in our “Things we love” series. Here, our team talk about some of their favourite things from around the web, plus an event they’ll be speaking at soon.

Rolls of calendar masking tape
Calendar masking tape from mo man tai is one of the things we love this month.

Our inspiration

Calendar Tape

With this masking tape from Dutch company mo man tai, you can turn the walls around you into calendars. Great for the organisationally inclined and useful for planning projects or just your week.

– Laura Kirsop, Product Manager

How to Enjoy Stuff with Jeff Rubin

I only have time to listen occasionally to Jeff Rubin’s geeky podcast interviews with “creative people who have turned their obsessions into professions.” In recent weeks he’s had a slight change of tack, with a series of shows on “How to Enjoy” various things as varied as Batman, boardgames, Shakespeare and pizza.

The episode with Kathryn Potts, the Head of Education at the Whitney Museum in New York, is particularly good, as she explains what makes a museum work in the 21st century and how to get the most out of visiting them.  

– Nigel Smith, Head of Content

TIS-100 by Zachtronics

I am very keen on computer games, and this is the strangest one I’ve played in a while. Billed as “the assembly language programming game you never asked for,” it’s a curious mix of puzzle-solving, logical thinking, and retro aesthetics – it reminds me a lot of writing BASIC when I was a kid. It’s not actually assembly, but it does require a lot of the same techniques and thought patterns that programming does. I don’t usually do programming outside of work, but I’m completely hooked on this.

– Mal Pinder, Developer

Designing for (and with) Color Blindness

We work hard to make FutureLearn accessible to all, following guidelines, best practice and user feedback, but every so often an article pops up that reminds us about a particular issue. Aaron Tenbuuren is a colour blind designer and wrote this excellent article about designing for and with colour blindness

– Dereck Johnson, UX Designer

Myths And Patterns Of Organizational Change

“I don’t need to convince people. They should just see how good this idea is.”

This is just one of the myths that Linda Rising tackles in her excellent keynote from PIPELINE 2015as she shares some useful patterns for effecting organisational change.

– Joel Chippindale, CTO

Us elsewhere

Learn. Reflect. Repeat.

As developers, we’re constantly learning: whether it’s figuring out how to solve new problems and bugs, or focusing on new skills and knowledge to apply to our work. Come along to this year’s State of the Browser, where our Developer, Melinda Seckington, will be speaking about how to make learning a more integral part of your processes. She’ll explain how to run internal events, like hackdays and lightning talks, to support this.

The Language of Modular Design

Goodbye pages, hello systems! When we break things down into atomic units, design elements become more scalable and replaceable, easier to test, and quicker to assemble. Our Interaction Designer, Alla Kholmatova, wrote an article on A List Apart emphasising that a shared vocabulary should be the jumping-off point for teams who want to adopt a modular design approach. Let’s start with language, not interfaces.

Seen something lately that you think we’ll love? Share it in the comments below. Want to know more about the way we work? Take a look at all of our “Making FutureLearn” posts.

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