Level up #1: 5 best posts you'll read this week

Here's a collection of the best thoughts published on the web each week. Feel free to share your own picks in the comments!

1. History, aesthetics, and discourse in web design

Jason Santa Maria on The Pastry Box

We are all standing on the shoulders of the work that came before us—just as Vignelli’s subway poster was influenced by Henry Beck’s 1933 London Underground map, and Glaser’s Dylan poster was influenced by a 1957 self-portrait from Marcel Duchamp. Will new students to web design know of these same connections in their own field, or will the work done before their time always be quaint artifacts of a bizarre, retro internet where aliased type, tables, browser plugins, and slow connections ruled the land? Or worse, will they never know of the work at all?

30-second commentary: A constant emphasis on shiny technology and trends loses the context of what lasts on the web.

2. CSS Animations vs. Javascript

Jack Doyle guest post on CSS-Tricks

Are CSS animations "bad"? Certainly not. In fact, they're great for simple transitions between states (like rollovers) when compatibility with older browsers isn't required. 3D transforms usually perform very well (iOS7 being a notable exception), and CSS animations can be very attractive for developers who prefer putting all of their animation and presentation logic in the CSS layer. However, JavaScript-based animation delivers far more flexibility, better workflow for complex animations and rich interactivity, and it often performs just as fast (or even faster) than CSS-based animation despite what you may have heard.

30-second commentary: In an industry where we gravitate towards the "new", this makes a great point on the benefits that exist with jQuery interactions.

3. Value is created by doing

Sam Altman

You build what you measure—if you measure your productivity by the number of meetings you have in a day, you will have a lot of meetings. If you measure yourself by revenue growth or number of investments closed or something like that, you will probably have fewer meetings.

30-second commentary: Prioritizing work is the best way to refocus your efforts towards a productive end.

4. Pixel Perfect Front-end Development Matters

Spencer Fry on Treehouse

It may sound like I’m being picky, but mismatches of this kind taint the quality of the completed work. The work you do as a front-end developer is a reflection of the finished product (i.e., the pages) that you produce. Any errors or omissions reflect poorly on the job you did – even if you got 99% of the way there – and your employer will not be pleased to see anything but pixel perfect work.

30-second commentary: Multiple devices and cross-browser implementations are not an excuse to eschew the standards of the design, it's just why there needs to be a well-thought out approach for all circumstances.

5. 3,111 email addresses and $15,798: The story of my first successful product

Sean Fioritto on Planning for Aliens

Lesson #5: Launching is an art form

I learned that I had failed to build anticipation for the product. For the second launch, I sent five emails over the course of five days. The emails were essentially no different than my blog posts. They were useful and on topics relevant to my audience. My email list loved them. But the problem was that I failed to tie the emails back to my product. I barely mentioned Sketching with CSS until the last email, so I failed to build anticipation. Oops.

30-second commentary: Having a strategy when launching a product is key, based on what you launch, know if your audience responds better to anticipation or immediacy.