Five Takeaways From My News Apps Apprenticeship

My apprenticeship ends this week, after nine great months with INN. In that time I worked on seven website redesigns, many INN members' sites, contributed to Largo releases and worked on some of INN’s plugins, namely Link Roundups.

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I gained invaluable knowledge from my coworkers in pair sessions and improved my own self-learning. With the weekly INN Nerd Alert newsletter my coworkers shared great articles and I learned more about their interests. Each month the News Nerd Book Club exposed me to great ideas and discussions about newsrooms, audiences and web development. Plus every day working on INN member's sites I was exposed to terrific journalism and learned about the publishing needs of content creators.

(If the flexibility of remote work and all this sounds exciting to you, consider applying for one of INN's open positions)

Some important things I've gained:

Always be learning

One of INN's core values and one of mine as well. I've learned better habits and developed more informed opinions around publishing, design, development and business.

Documentation is more important than code

Frameworks, libraries and development techniques are all fleeting. Good documentation is timeless. Be kind to the soul who inherits your code — it could very well be you.

Responsive grids have made too many websites look alike

Web designers have gotten too good at following the rules.

Today a drive down Content Websites Blvd. is like passing through a bland subdivision: similar grid patterns, similar gardens of social media buttons and similar pairings of colors and fonts. Most of these websites aren’t bad, but most aren’t memorable.

Some of my favorite work was with INN members InvestigateWest, Midwest Energy News and New Mexico In-Depth, whose website redesigns called for a mix of unique and common design patterns to create usable, memorable sites.

Less is more*

In code. In design. In words. Often.

*Never in regards to tacos, documentation or testing.

Kindness, patience, and humor

In every job I aim to bring kindness, patience and humor. Being remote, it’s important to extend these things to yourself, in addition to coworkers and clients.

Thanks y'all and farewell

It's been a pleasure working with the INN Nerds and INN's members! I start a new position with TIME, Inc. and Fansided near Phoenix after the long weekend. You'll still see me in the #00-open-tech channel of INN's Slack org and @dryanmedia on Twitter.
Deez Nerds helped me take flight, gonna miss 'em! See y'all round the friendly skies of the Internet.