38: A Stark difference in design

👋 Hey there! Last newsletter had a 42% open rate. The newsletters for the next month will be sent from all over Europe as my family heads there for a month. Really exciting, but it may mean that some are shorter depending on time, and sent a day earlier or later depending on wifi service lol. Got your coffee ready? ☕️ Let’s read…


1. A Recipe for Designing Animations — Without Sacrificing Performance

“That said, animations and site performance aren’t always agreeable. We’re committed to ensuring that everyone can download Chrome quickly and easily, even in areas with low bandwidth. (Our achievements in performance were recently featured at Google I/O ’19.) But even after compression, GIFs and MOVs tend to run very large, and multiple network requests for large files would derail site performance. I feel strongly that good design shouldn’t come at the cost of good performance, so I took on the challenge of producing high-quality animations without contributing to latency.”

2. Stanford Team Aims at Alexa and Siri With a Privacy-Minded Alternative

Are virtual assistants about to join the world of decentralized products? Stanford computer scientists are pushing for it with their new virtual assistant software. Its goal is to not only be decentralized, but connected by programming standards that allow the user to take control of their data and what is done with it.

“The Stanford researchers argue that Alexa’s approach, even with thousands of employees, will never be able to adequately deal with the complexity and variability of human language because it is incredibly labor-intensive and may not extend to more complex conversations.”

3. Accessibility Standards: Defining What Success Means

“…how can we possibly fulfill our mandate to create accessible web content? […] the answer was to choose a set of accepted guidelines (currently WCAG 2.1 AA), and then define what success would look like under each of the work scenarios I’ve described above. Team 51 Accessibility Standards: Defining What Success Means answers those questions at a sufficient level of detail to guide our and our colleagues’ and successors’ work.”

4. Clearing up misconceptions about Neurodiversity

What a fantastic read. So much of it had me re-reading in a good way.

“The social model of disability comes from the field of disability studies. It says that a person is “disabled” when the (societal) environment doesn’t accommodate their needs. An example: in a world where ramps and elevators are everywhere, a wheelchair user isn’t “disabled,” because he/she/they can access all the same things as a person who walks: schools, jobs, restaurants, etc. However, providing equal opportunity doesn’t mean ignoring the differences and difficulties a wheelchair user may experience.”


there’s nothing inherently wrong with disliking social activities. Not wanting to socialize is different from wanting to participate and being unable to. Both are possibilities for autistic people. One requires acceptance, the other requires assistance. Sadly, I have yet to meet a therapist who doesn’t treat the two as equivalent and in equal need of correction. 

5. Why User Interviews Fail

TLDR: User interviews are often used for the wrong purpose, they’re not planned or analyzed properly, and stakeholders don’t see the value in doing them.

But you should really read the whole thing. It’s very good.

What’s new from Stark

We announced Stark’s paid plans!

This week we officially announced our Paid Plans. They're pricier than a news subscription, and cheaper than a lawsuit.

As a Stark Pro, for $2.00/month (YES, $2), you get...

✅ Pro in Sketch & Adobe XD (all for 1 price)

✅ Contrast Checker

✅ Colorblind Simulations (all 8 simulation types)

✅ Keyboard Shortcuts

✅ Access to the Stark Beta slack group (optional)

✅ Tons of features coming soon.

When we say we have a ton of features coming soon, we actually mean a ton. And not in a feature creep way. It's seamless, beautiful and easy to use...

  • More integrations

  • Live Contrast Checks

  • Suggestions

  • Export Images

  • Educational Material

  • Export Values for Code (Later)

  • Deep Type Analysis

With the announcement of paid plans, we're more than happy to share that the basic features you've been using so far will remain FREE. We believe everyone should have access to tools that help build a more accessible and inclusive world.

Signup for Pro now!

Bookmarks Design

Thanks Bookmarks Design for featuring Stark in their accessibility section!

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–Team Stark