If you go looking for web design podcasts, the big, established (and excellent) ones that you’re likely to run into are Shoptalk, Boagworld, and The Big Web Show. These are not to be missed, but there are plenty more out there covering every aspect of designing for the web, running a business, dealing with clients, ecommerce, and much more.
To uncover the best podcasts out there, we asked a dozen top web designers and developers to tell us what they’re listening to, and came up with this interesting collection of shows.
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1. The Web Ahead
Jen Simmons' conversations with the web's best and brightest are fascinating for anyone who cares about the current state and near future of the web and web design. Recent great episodes include: Parsing design with Andy Budd, which examines the current state of web design; Paying on the Web with Manu Sporny, which looks at work being done to make paying on the web easier and safer; and Rethinking Microsoft's browser with Rey Bango, which discusses project Spartan.
2. The Design Details Podcast
Bryn Jackson and Brian Lovin chat to product designers who work for some of the biggest sites on the web and ask them how they do what they do.
It’s a favourite of designer and entrepreneur Cat Noone, who describes it as “insightful and fun, with an (exciting amount of) information overload, shared by the people creating the products we use everyday."
3. Design Matters
This show has been running since 2005, and in it Debbie Millman talks to graphic designers, web designers, branding experts, architects, and product designers about their craft. It’s a place to hear discussion of the overarching themes in the lives and careers of designers from some of the most interesting people in the field today.
More and more web agencies these days are moving to a collaborative, agile process for working with clients, and Funsize is one of those. To provide us with an understanding of how that works, in this podcast the agency “opens its doors and discusses its philosophies around building company culture, doing business, client experience, product design, process and crafting meaningful products.”
They have episodes on practical matters including choosing the right clients, driving a product, the future product designer, the value of user testing, and, incongruously, there’s an episode called ‘David Blaine is an Asshole.’
Hired comes from the people at Authentic Jobs and is a truly stellar repository of interviews with really interesting people. It bills itself as “a podcast about work life and company culture, and how our guests do both ridiculously well.” Past guests include Geoff Teehan, Ryan Sims of Rdio, Jason Fried, Paul Young of charity:water, Josh Brewer of Twitter, and too many others to mention. Each show is a convenient, bite-sized length of about 20 minutes.
6. Style Guide Podcast
Find out how to make your life easier with style guides and pattern libraries from hosts Anna Debenham and Brad Frost and their fantastic ensemble of interviewees. So far they’ve done episodes with the likes of Samantha Warren, Dan Mall and Jina Bolton, and each show brings the benefits of style guides to life.
Putting in the initial effort to build a style guide can make it easier to add material to your site, make design changes, and keep everything aligned across platforms. For further resources, head to styleguides.io.
7. The Unofficial Shopify Podcast
Kurt Elster and Paul Reda are your hosts in this highly entertaining show about how to do well with your Shopify store. Episodes cover case studies, including the story of United Pixelworkers, and practical advice for working smarter and increasing your sales.
Further Shopify-specific listening can be found at The Ecommerce Customer Lifecycle with Keir Whitaker and Ross Beyeler.
8. A Responsive Web Design Podcast
Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte interview really great teams about how it went when they implemented responsive builds. Previous episodes include discussions with NPR, Expedia, Microsoft, Vox Media and The Guardian.
Designer Val Head names it as a current favourite: “Karen and Ethan ask great questions and talk about what really worked and what didn't for these sites going responsive. The interviews span many different industries, and it gives you a whole new perspective on responsive design and its impact on teams and business. Great stuff!”
We also particularly enjoyed the episode with Airbnb.
You may know Alex Blumberg from This American Life and NPR’s Planet Money. He has launched a podcast startup, and this is his podcast about it — “StartUp: A series about what happens when someone who knows nothing about business starts one.”
It covers all his trials and tribulations in starting a company, including the effects on his personal life, the challenges of suddenly having to develop new skills, and dealing with burnout. If you’re thinking of going into business, this is a detailed, entertaining and inspiring account of what you can expect to face.
There’s also some rather glorious typography on the website. Developer Patrick Fulton and studio manager Elaine Zelmanov, both at Bearded, are big fans of this and Reply All, which is about the internet and can be found on the same site.
10. The Digital Life
Jon Follett and Dirk Knemeyer discuss topics in the wider world of digital design and technology. Recent episodes cover smart cities, wearable tech, smart clothing, the UX of augmented reality, and Apple’s electric car.
Developer Jamie Kosoy picks Businessology as a favourite: “It’s hosted by Dan Mall and Jason Blumer, and it gets into the depths of what it takes to be a businessperson and a designer. Figuring out how valuable you are or how much to charge is one of the hardest things to wrangle. I don’t think there can be enough good advice on how to price yourself.”
12. CodePen Radio
Fans of Shoptalk can get even more Chris Coyier in this show by the people behind CodePen. It’s billed as being about “the ins and outs of running a web software business,” and they tell us all about the behind-the-scenes action at CodePen. There are episodes about scaling, taking payments, dealing with churn, advertising, support, community and lots more.
13. Working Out
Standardista Chris Murphy recommends this show from photographer Ashley Baxter and UX designer and illustrator Paddy Donnelly about how to start a business doing what you love. The pair chronicle their daily experiences of working as freelance creatives in the UK and Belgium.
14. The Jay and Farhad Show
Jay Yarow of Business Insider and Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times collaborate to bring you all the news on the tech giants. It’s an entertaining show that works as a good weekly summary and insightful analysis of the big technology news.
What are your favourite design podcasts?
Let us know what you’re listening to in the comments below.
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