UX und Tollerei is a derivation of the German idiom »Jux und Tollerei«, which basically means to do something purely out of fun. It also symbolizes a way of taking a look beyond your normal comfort zone and seeing things differently. From the beginning I thought this should be the vision behind this side project.
Since UX und Tollerei was built within a few days, I wanted it to be as simple as possible but also enjoyable to read. Without much time for iteration, I pushed myself to an imaginary deadline. This helped me to focus on the core information that every issue should convey.
Every issue contains a bunch of links to interesting articles, resources and news about the latest trends, techniques, and insights from the UX community (and beyond) that I come across during the week. It becomes a personal, compact roundup for people to catch up on. To make every issue more distinctive, a very good friend of mine, Fabian Denter, who is a talented 3D artist, creates lovely cover illustrations on a weekly basis, exclusively for each issue - over 60 at this time. Those illustrations sometimes correlate with events that took place during the week, so they are not always just visual appetizers but also serve a greater purpose.
Every 10th issue, I invite a fellow guest artist to join UX und Tollerei and contribute a kind of special and exclusive »anniversary« illustration to bring more diversity in style to those issues. The opportunity to work with inspiring artists of different backgrounds is one of the most fulfilling parts of maintaining this newsletter.
The first issue of UX und Tollerei was sent on January 2 2015, to just 2 subscribers, Fabian and me.
Just one week later, after getting featured at places like Codrops and Product Hunt, we already had a 292% increase in the number of subscribers. From there on this number kept increasing monthly. There are currently over 3.000 registered subscribers (not counting RSS and web visits), including some folks from well-known companies such as:
It's been almost two years now since I started this little side project of mine. Since then I shared over 900+ links and reads with over 3,000 subscribers (let alone everyone who's subscribed via RSS, etc.) every week. Preparing and curating all these inspirational and thoughtful articles helped myself to sort through all the clutter that filled my timelines and just consume what seemed important enough to me.
But I gradually realized, that it takes a lot of time of reading those articles, preparing them and putting them together in a comprehensive list. So in the last few weeks I reached a point where I decided (together with Fabian) to let »UX und Tollerei« go (at least for the time being) as I want to focus my time on new projects and pursue different ideas.
I would like to thank everyone who participated in making this scrappy reading list a success by supporting it, guest-illustrating and spreading the word. It really means the world to me and proves that this side project is actually meaningful! First and foremost of course Fabian for dedicating a good chunk of his spare time creating those beautiful illustrations which made every new issue something special. Also a big thank you to all of you, the people who read every issue, week by week and motivating me with your suggestions and feedback.
»UX und Tollerei« was never sponsored or paid for by anyone but me and I'm very proud of that. It started as a small intimate place for me to share the stories I come across as a professional designer and my thoughts on them in an unfiltered way and it has held up to this premise ever since.
What I learned
UX und Tollerei really taught me that sharing curated content is something people value and that it often just needs a few variables to get a message across. Additionally, a very constraint time-frame to build something helps you to focus on the important parts of your project and channel your resources, which is especially important in such non-profit projects that I fund with my own pocket. Needless to say, with the help of Fabian and our guest artists, it became a publication I'm highly proud of.
UX und Tollerei takes some well-deserved off time now and I don't know for how long but I'm positive that it'll return in the future.