A year in review: 2021
2021 was wild! That’s why I’ve decided to write an “A year in review” post for the first time.
Let me start with the most important thing that happened in 2021: Our daughter Johanna was born on May 19th. I can’t describe how beautiful the entire experience was and still is. For the first two days, I wasn’t able to look at her for longer than 5 seconds without tearing up. Everything was just so emotional, beautiful, and overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, life with a baby is exhausting, especially compared to how our life was before, but the positive things outweigh the lack of sleep and the new fears you have as a parent. Watching her grow and learn new stuff every day is amazing.
Fun fact: I hid some Easter eggs on HTMHell regarding my daughter. The example I’m using in Issue #1 - iframe accessibility is “Visions of Johanna” by Bob Dylan and I’ve listed her as an executive producer in the credits of my first YouTube video.
Another personal highlight of 2021 was our first vacation as a family in Croatia. We enjoyed the time at the sea and camping in our van a lot!
My personal year 2021 was overall great. I’m getting tired of the whole pandemic situation, but my fiance and I enjoyed the time she was pregnant a lot and the rest of the year as well, of course. I was always bad at work-life-balance and this year it has changed little. While I could keep most weekends work-free and I spent them with my fiance and my daughter, I didn’t have enough time and energy left for the rest of my family and my friends.
Angular and performance
In the first few months, I worked with a team of Angular devs on improving the performance of a large all-in-one productivity app. The job was challenging because most people involved were very skilled and I felt a lot of pressure to deliver visible improvements every week, but I learned a lot in these few weeks and I got to know super nice people. It was a joy to work with them.
I worked a lot with the Smashing Magazine team, which is a great honor to me because I’ve been a fan of Smashing Magazine and their work for many years. I became part of their experts panel, I gave a talk at a meetup and I held a workshop.
At my day job nothing too exceptional happened. This sounds negative, but it’s actually a good thing because we had time to focus on our new design system and the pattern library. One thing worth mentioning is that I worked quite a lot with CraftCMS and twig. I like Craft because it gives me as a frontend developer a lot of freedom to build templates the way I want.
Other than that I did some accessibility audits, consulting for an university in Vienna, and several workshops. My favorite gig was a 2-day workshop with the designers and developers of sipgate. They were so interested, involved and eager to improve the accessibility of their products that it didn’t feel like work for me. I had a lot of fun and I also learned from them.
Considering that I have a full-time job, that sounds like a lot, and it was. All in all, I’m happy with the quality of my work, but I was stressed out a lot this year, and I did fuck-up one or two tasks.
I’m really happy with my side projects. I created some pretty cool and useful stuff.
- DevToolsSnippets, a collection of front-end debugging script snippets to be used in the Sources panel in Chrome DevTools.
- The Button Cheat Sheet
- I started the HTMHell newsletter.
- I recorded the first video for the HTMHell YouTube channel.
- HTMHell Advent Calendar
I didn’t take part in many calls for papers, but I prepared a new talk and I presented it at 3 events. You can watch “Building The Most Inaccessible Site Possible with Manuel Matuzovic - Smashing Meets For All December 2021” from Smashing Magazine on Vimeo. I gave the same talk at Web Directions Access All Areas (I highly recommend this event) and at the German version of technica11y.
I also did a live stream with my friend Christoph, which was super fun. We tested the accessibility of his website larastreamers.
I've written 30 blog posts this year, which means on average 2.5 per month. That's not too bad considering how much other stuff I was doing this year.
If I had to pick 3 favorite articles, I'd go with:
- My current HTML boilerplate on my blog
- Issue #8 - the section element on HTMHell
- #26 HTMHell special: tasty buttons on HTMHell
Here's the complete list of articles:
- Meta Theme Color and Trickery on CSS-Tricks
- Creating Custom Emmet Snippets In VS Code on Smashing Magazine
- Ordering CSS properties on my blog
- Dev Tools: Debugging DOM Tree modifications on my blog
- Highlighting columns in HTML tables on my blog
- My current HTML boilerplate on my blog
- Element diversity on my blog
- 19 “Heaven” posts on HTMHell
- 4 “Hell” posts on HTMHell
And I’ve translated an older article to German, which I’m planning to do again with other articles in 2022.
Read “Eines meiner Lieblingswerkzeuge für Barrierefreiheit-Checks: Die Tabulator-Taste.”.
I'm proud of this meme I made. 😄
Me after a whole day of doing accessibility audits. pic.twitter.com/qWZUFioAjX— Manuel Matuzović (@mmatuzo) July 8, 2021
Plans for 2022
I didn’t spend much time thinking about my plans for 2022, but off the top of my head here’s what I want to do:
- Work less and enjoy life with my family and friends
- Spend more time on writing for HTMHell
- Record videos for HTMHell
- Redesign my personal website
- Finally update my profile pic
I'm looking forward to 2022! 🤗🥳