Featured blog posts

  • I’m a web developer now?! From decoding human behaviour to building the modern internet.

    By Lucas Silbernagel, 29 February 2020

    Like many people, my road to becoming a front-end developer was a long and winding one. While it seems as though certain rare souls easily stumble upon a skillset and career path that defines and motivates them, I’m definitely more of a jack of all trades, master of none. From high school onward, my interests and strengths included languages, writing, martial arts, music, history, film, and more. I remember enjoying a basic web design course in high school, but with my focus constantly shifting between a myriad of other interests, it was difficult to imagine pursuing a career in that field, at least back then.

    I moved to Toronto in 2014 to pursue a Master of Arts degree in sociocultural anthropology at U of T. I planned to later pursue a PhD and become a professor of anthropology, but even as I boarded the plane to Toronto I had serious doubts about that career path.

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  • The Blind Leading the Sighted: Prioritizing Accessibility on the Modern Web

    By Lucas Silbernagel, 13 April 2020

    According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the internet, web accessibility means designing web experiences and technologies that can be used and contributed to by anybody. This includes people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities.

    The benefits of web accessibility extend far beyond these groups, however. Consider the elderly, whose abilities have changed due to aging. Consider people with “temporary disabilities” like a broken arm or missing glasses. Consider the wide variety of scenarios that limit or change how people interact with the internet, including devices with smaller screens like smart watches, regions with slow or poor internet connections, limited bandwidth, and situations where people either can’t listen to audio due to their surroundings or can’t easily view their screen due to bright sunlight. Web accessibility practices make the internet better for everybody by overcoming these and other obstacles.

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  • React Hooks and Focus Traps: Implementing User Feedback into My User Persona Generator

    By Lucas Silbernagel, 25 May 2020

    As part of the web development immersive bootcamp at Juno College, I was tasked with building a React app of my own design. Being interested in UX design and user research, I set out to build a user persona generator.

    User personas are semi-fictional characters that represent your customers or product users, ideally based on real research and data. My goal was to make an easy-to-use tool with React that would allow anyone to quickly create and visualize user personas by filling out a simple form, and save each persona to the page with the help of Firebase.

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  • How to Build an Accessible Hangman Game with Vanilla JavaScript

    By Lucas Silbernagel, 22 July 2020

    In this article I will outline how I built a hangman game with Vanilla JavaScript, and more importantly, how I made it accessible for players who navigate with their keyboard or with a screen reader.

    Hangman is a simple word guessing game that can be played by one or two people. The goal of this project was to practice building a fun app using Vanilla JavaScript only, no frameworks or libraries. Players can choose to play with two people or solo. For the one-player game, categories and words are preloaded in an array and randomly generated for the player to guess. For two players, the first person creates a category/word and the second person has to guess the word. Each letter guessed correctly is displayed on the page. For each incorrect guess, a body part is added to the hangman image. If the hangman image is completed before the player can guess the word, they lose the game. To guess a letter, players type it into a text input.

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