Nevertheless,
I am the same

Once upon a time a child was born. This was no ordinary child, this was a child who was trapped inside a body she didn’t belong in. For the next thirty something years this made her wonder; would who she was, who she truly was, be accepted by others in the kingdom? Or would she be doomed to live her life forever as someone else?

As years went by and she aged, Ariel began to lose pieces of her authentic self. She tried hard to suffocate her true feelings, but that just made things exponentially worse for her and everyone around. Piece by piece, she became thinner, until a day arrived, when she couldn’t take it anymore.

She knew there was no magic spell that could frankly help her. And that this was perhaps the greatest risk any of us could take. Having the courage to unpeel, to get rid of our stringencies. To be seen as we truly are. To shed our past lives, the expectations of others, and become something new.

As frightening as it felt, Ariel knew this was the only way forward. And in this update, she decided to share this to you, dear reader.

Ariel Salminen Illustration: Eric Habich

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Where Do
We Belong

I’ve been years watching everyone around me change. Seasons coming and going. People growing roots. Building houses. Giving birth to their babies. Becoming stable parents. And I’ve tried hard to change as well. Become that, understand it. I’ve been through these things, but I feel like I’m still the same scrawny kid full of dreams and restlessness.

Eventually, I’ve started becoming part of everything I’ve seen around the world, if nothing else. And when I’ve travelled forward, a small part of me is always left out there somewhere. On the deserts, mountains, forests, oceans, and the cities around the world. It’s a little bittersweet. It’s the same with people. I ain’t got roots and I don’t know where I belong.

I have this dream where I’m sitting on top of Mt. Tamalpais East Peak gazing over San Francisco city lights across the bay. Warm autumn breeze blowing from the Pacific Ocean. Misty mountains around me, swaying fields in the moonlight, colors of the autumn, and music that fills our souls.

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Interview with Ariel Salminen

I was recently interviewed by Lovers Magazine about what led me into design and what type of things inspire me as a designer. I think it was refreshing to answer their questions and really dive into the deep end of what ultimately took me where I am today.

I sometimes tend to forget that I’ve been working in this profession for two decades and many of the people I meet inside and outside of work are just starting their careers. I’m not really saying that I’d be offering any kind of career advice in this particular interview, but it’s still a brief look into one person’s journey to become a systems oriented designer.

If you’re interested, you can read the full interview here. I also created a small Spotify playlist for the readers of the magazine. These are tracks that I often listen to while working. There’s an Apple Music playlist available as well.

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Launching Nord Design System

We’re excited to announce the first major release of Nord Design System, v1.0. With this release, our design systems team is shipping a number of new tools and features to improve the experience of designing, building, and shipping products at Nordhealth.

Looking back in time, we started our design systems journey at the end of 2020 with initial user research, but the concrete design and development work on the system didn’t start before the late summer 2021 when Eric Habich, Nick Williams, and David Darnes joined the team.

Now, 8 months later, I’m excited that we’re launching Nord Design System and all of our tools for production usage! To learn more about the new features included, keep reading below.  🎉

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A Missed
Opportunity

Why does it feel like the devices we use are getting slower over time? A smartphone I bought a few years ago seems to be losing its edge when browsing websites. My computer struggles to play audio. Even my car’s interface can’t keep up anymore after all the updates. Am I just imagining or were they always like this?

No, these devices aren’t actually getting slower, it’s the software that is getting more bloated. Whenever new hardware is released out in the wild, it takes only a few months until it becomes the benchmark for software developers. Because hell, why not. We have all these resources to utilize, why wouldn’t we. Why give a fuck about the needs of users.

If you’ve observed this too, it’s not just your imagination. Software is becoming increasingly complex and requires more resources than ever before. As CPU power increases, software is expanded to consume that extra performance. We live in the era of disposability.

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CodePen as a Component Editor

When we started working on Duet Design System early last year, one of our goals was to create similar component playgrounds as I had previously built for Vue Design System. While this seemed like an obvious decision at first, we soon realized that maintaining a code editor of our own required far too much effort, especially since Duet’s documentation is a custom built platform created for a specific organization’s needs.

We figured there must be a simpler approach. Maybe all of it didn’t have to be a part of the documentation itself. The most important goal was to have a code playground which would enable quick prototyping and testing.

This got us thinking. We were already using CodePen when we needed to quickly prototype or design something in the browser. Could we utilize the same tool for the public website as well to make the component documentation more interactive?

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Why We Use Web Components

It’s August, 2018. I’m at the office, sitting by the window staring rain pouring down from the sky. A warm cup of tea in my hand, about to sip it, but the phone suddenly rings. I don’t recognize the number. I hesitate for a moment whether to pick it up or not. Maybe it’s again a telemarketer trying to sell me something?

Thinking of this particular autumn evening today, a year and a half later, I’m delighted I picked up the phone. This one phone call ended up having a major impact, as the end result was the biggest personal project I have worked on so far.

While I used to work with bigger clients and projects when we lived in United States, this felt different. I personally sold the project and were responsible for most of the things from initial research all the way to the design system’s overall architecture.

A few months went by after our first call. I went to see the client during a couple of occasions to plan the possible collaboration. After some back and forth negotiation we ultimately started working together in the beginning of January, 2019.

And so Duet Design System was born.

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