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‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2 Finale Recap: A Quest Complete, a Jedi Returned

Disney/Ringer illustration

Chapter 16 brings an end to a story—with the help of a ‘Star Wars’ legend—while hinting at what’s to come next

Spoiler warning

I’m not sure I can recall a “previously on” segment that flexed as hard as the one before the finale of The Mandalorian Season 2. In a few quick clips, Jon Favreau reminded us how many times this second season dropped the mic, picked it up, and slammed it down again. Bo-Katan. Ahsoka. Boba Fett. Fennec. Dark troopers and Darksabers. The Razor Crest exploding, a Jedi beacon being lit, and Grogu getting captured.

That sizzle reel established where the story stood, but it also raised the bar for the finale. So how to up the ante? Here’s how: Luke Skywalker coming to the rescue. Oh, and R2-D2, too. Not to mention the first time Din and Grogu get to stare into each other’s eyes, and a major post-credits announcement. Chapter 16 of The Mandalorian, “The Rescue,” packed so much plot and narrative resolution into its 47 minutes that it could have functioned as a series finale if The Mandalorian’s ongoing success weren’t so central to the future of the franchise.

“The Rescue’’ wastes little time jumping into the action, so neither will we. Chapter 16, which—like the far less eventful Chapter 10—was directed by Peyton Reed (no stranger to CGI de-aging), starts with Slave I hot on the tail of a Lamda-class shuttle carrying clone engineer Dr. Pershing. The data dump Mando and Mayfeld obtained on their sightseeing excursion to Morak last week evidently contained not only Gideon’s whereabouts, but Pershing’s too. Look, if I were Moff Gideon and I knew that my nemeses had just raided and destroyed a base to find out where I’m chilling and then sent me a message to tell me I’m next, I might move elsewhere and tell my top scientist to do the same. But I’m sure Gideon knows what he’s doing.

After Fett disables the shuttle with a well-placed ion bolt and Mando and Cara Dune board, a standoff ensues between Cara and the Imperial pilot, who’s holding Pershing at gunpoint. “I saw your planet destroyed,” he says. “I was on the Death Star.” If, as the pilot professes, he doesn’t have a death wish, it seems like a strange strategy to tell the soldier who’s holding a gun on him that he helped blow up her planet. But pilots who work for Gideon haven’t had a high survival rate this season. “Which one?” Cara responds. Sick burn.

A discussion ensues that harkens back to Mayfeld’s monologue last week about how many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. “Do you know how many millions were killed on those bases?” the pilot asks. “As the galaxy cheered?” OK, buddy. We’ve all seen the Clerks “contractors’’ scene, but you’re not going to get us to feel equally bad about the destruction of Alderaan and a planet-exploding superweapon called the “Death Star.” Before we have time to wonder why this former Death Star resident is still alive, he isn’t: Cara head-shots him on behalf of her whole planet.

(Side note: While we’re on the subject—again—of who the good and bad guys actually are, how sure are we that those “pirates” Mando and Mayfeld fought off last week were actually pirates? Are we just taking the Empire’s word for that? Imperials refer to the Rebels as terrorists and scum, and they assumed that Slave I was full of pirates too. Maybe the “pirates” weren’t trying to steal those rhydonium transports because they were really freedom fighters who only wanted to stop the Empire from getting its hands on a dangerous explosive? Maybe they and Mando were actually on the same side, and he killed them because he fell for Imperial propaganda and stereotypes about pirates and colorful clothes. Food for thought.)

With Pershing in custody, Mando’s next task is adding Bo-Katan to his party. This time, he tracks her down easily—no frog family sidequests required—and finds her sitting in a cantina with sidekick Koska Reeves. (Some Mandalorian cast members seem to be straight-up lying about whether they’ll be back on the show: First Bill Burr fibs about reprising his appearance, and then Mercedes Varno does the same. You can’t trust actors anymore.) For someone who hardly knows Grogu, Bo-Katan seems super upset that he’s gone. (Granted, it doesn’t take long to get attached.) “You’ll never find [Gideon],” she says, not knowing that his coordinates are easily accessible via an unsecured computer.

Mando offers Bo-Katan Gideon’s cruiser as the spoils if she’ll help him get his baby back. I’m pretty sure he had her at “Gideon” and “Darksaber,” but a cruiser that could help her retake Mandalore is a nice incentive too. “[Grogu] is my only priority,” Mando declares, though he may change his tune next season. Boba makes a gauche remark about how the Empire turned Mandalore to glass; between Captain Teva asking Cara if she lost anyone on Alderaan and the Alderaan and Mandalore discourse this week, I’m starting to suspect that some of these characters lack tact when talking to traumatized people from ruined planets. Boba, Bo-Katan, and Koska start squabbling about whether Boba is a Mandalorian, whether he deserves to wear his armor, and whether Jango was his father or his donor. Then Boba and Koska wrestle and call it a draw when the flames from their flamethrowers meet in midair like Dutch and Dillon’s arms in Predator. That bit of business behind them, the new crew of six congregates in the shuttle to pump Pershing for info and form a plan of attack.

Speaking of Carl Weathers, Greef Karga is still a no-show despite owing his life to Grogu, which means that the Grogu rescue crew remains one ally short of a magnificent seven. (Cue the Chris Ryan Greef voice: MANDO! I’M BUSY REVITALIZING NEVARRO RIGHT NOW, BUT LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED ME TO PUSH SOME OF THESE MEETINGS.) Perhaps some other ally will eventually appear? One who might have something to do with that Force signal we saw in the “previously on?” We’re getting ahead of ourselves. First the strike team has to get to Gideon’s cruiser, where a dark trooper garrison awaits.

Pershing confirms that these are Phase III dark troopers—the kind without weak human soldiers inside the suits. The droids consume so much power that they’re kept in cold storage, which means they take time to boot up. The Rescuers settle on a time-honored tactic for infiltrating Imperial facilities: posing as Imperials in a stolen Lamda-class shuttle. The plan is for Fett to pretend to attack the shuttle, which will broadcast a distress call. When the cruiser scrambles its fighters, the shuttle—which won’t be flying casual—will slip through the launch tube, preventing additional fighters from exiting and gaining access to the innards of the ship. Then Cara, Koska, Bo-Katan, and Fennec will fight their way to the bridge, distracting the defenders while Din heads to Grogu’s cell. In theory, he’ll grab the baby and be out of there before the dark troopers get their core temperatures up.

Although Cara’s gun jams—which one wouldn’t think would happen so often with weapons that don’t fire physical objects—the plan goes off with only one potentially disastrous hitch: a single dark trooper escapes the storage room before Mando seals the others inside. As they try to punch their way out, the one who got out tries to punch its way into Mando’s brainpan. Personally, I’d suggest just lifting his whole head off his body—aren’t these troopers supposed to be strong—but the trooper prefers the brute force approach.

Mando’s helmet is too strong for the trooper, but most of Mando’s armory—blaster, flamethrower, whirling birds—is equally ineffective against the droid. Fortunately, the beskar staff Ahsoka gave Din does the trick.

Mando spaces the rest of the dark troopers and kills the stormtroopers stationed outside Grogu’s cell, seeming to relish choking the second one with the staff. My advice: Don’t make Mando angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. When Mando opens the door, Grogu seems surprisingly unexcited to see him; the little green guy’s been sedated. Gideon, who anticipated Din’s destination, is already in the room, brandishing his blade. “All I wanted was to study his blood,” he explains. “This child is extremely gifted and has been blessed with rare properties that have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy.” Ah, order to the galaxy; where have we heard that before?

Gideon pretends to be touched by the bond between Mando and Grogu, and he offers to hand over the Child if Mando will leave and let Gideon go on his way. Mando seems to fall for this obvious ruse (and turn his back on Bo-Katan and Mandalore, seemingly confirming what he said about Grogu being his sun and stars), despite having ample evidence that Gideon is a merciless zealot who’ll stop at nothing to get Grogu. Fortunately, Mando’s beskar bails him out again when Gideon tries to cut him in half. (“Assume that I know everything,” Gideon tells Mando, except he doesn’t seem to know that beskar can block the Darksaber—which seems strange, given his history of fighting Mandalorians.) Remember when Mando got his ass kicked by Jawas? At this point, he’s borderline OP. It’s a good thing they didn’t build the Death Star’s reactor core out of beskar.

Finally, we’ve come to the “iconic battle” that Giancarlo Esposito teased months ago: Mando and his beskar against Gideon and the Darksaber. After a flurry of slashes, stabs, and blocks, Mando wins the well-choreographed fight and walks Gideon to the bridge, Darksaber in hand.

There, a delighted Gideon reveals why Bo-Katan was so eager to find Gideon herself and seems less than pleased to see Mando holding him captive: Darksaber rules and regulations say that to be the rightful wielder of the blade, one must best its previous owner in combat. (Which sort of seems like it creates a loophole: No one can take the weapon from you if you refuse to fight.) Mando has already defeated Gideon, which means the Darksaber is his. He’s happy to hand it over, but to claim it correctly, Bo-Katan will have to fight him instead. Awkward!

Look, I respect tradition. But Mando got over his code and took off his helmet last week. Maybe Bo-Katan should consider bending the Darksaber rules just this once, especially considering that she’s wielded the weapon before. In fact, it wouldn’t be the first time: Bo-Katan accepted the saber when Sabine bequeathed it to her in Rebels Season 4.

Even if Bo-Katan wants to keep up appearances, can’t everyone just stick to the story that she was the one who beat Gideon? Or, if she wants to win the weapon fair and square, take a little liberty with the rules of engagement? Does a thumb war count as combat? Rock paper scissors? Failing that, they could just spar—I don’t doubt that Bo-Katan could kick Mando’s ass, and it doesn’t have to be a battle to the death. I’m just saying, this doesn’t seem like such a sticking point, and it’s pretty important to straighten it out, given that wielding the Darksaber gives Din a mandate to liberate and rule Mandalore (which, until now, hasn’t been on his to-do list).

For now, though, the group has a more immediate problem: The dark troopers are back, having been built to function fine in a vacuum. They’ve breached the hull, and they’re on their way to try to punch down a door for the second time today. I don’t mean to make light of the threat, but shouldn’t these unstoppable super droids have bigger guns, or explosives of some sort? It seems like a waste to equip them with the same weapons a human would have, and doors are really an issue for them. And why are they so big on body work? Can we get Carl Weathers to take them on in the ring?

All sniping aside, it seems like it’s only a matter of time until the droids knock down the door and help Gideon get Grogu back. But just as all appears to be lost, an alarm beeps, and an X-wing swoops by. “One X-wing? Great, we’re saved.” Cara says sarcastically.

Did I wonder for a moment whether the cavalry was Captain Teva, here to save the day and set up a starring role in Rangers of the New Republic? Yes, reader, I did. But it didn’t take long for understanding to dawn. The occupant of the X-wing could be only one man. No, not Trapper Wolf. This is Deus Ex Skywalker. When Grogu lit the Jedi signal, we mentioned many possible candidates for characters who could answer the call, but The Mandalorian went with the most obvious, logical, and exciting of all.

The dark troopers stop punching and descend on the intruder. To be as badass as possible, Luke doesn’t answer Bo-Katan’s hail, and he doesn’t lift his hood. He’s using the Force, so he doesn’t have to use his eyes. But then, through grainy security camera footage, we see him go to work. The green lightsaber. The black glove. And then the reaction shots: the glimmer of recognition of a fellow Force user from a groggy Grogu. And the look of sheer terror from the normally impassive and smug Gideon, who must see Skywalker in his nightmares.

This isn’t the illusion of Luke Force-projected from afar. This is Luke in the flesh, inexorably laying waste to droids like Darth Vader rampaging through Rogue One. I liked The Last Jedi’s vision of a jaded, guilty Luke who has to be convinced that the Jedi shouldn’t die, but that version of Luke is still decades in the future. This is the version that those who hated hermit Luke were waiting to see—the one who hasn’t scuttled his X-wing, still proclaims he’s a Jedi without reservation, and saves the day like the hero he is in the original trilogy. “We need Luke Skywalker,” Rey will say. Well, here he is.

Like Father, like son. This is the way! #TheMandalorian #Starwars #Grogu #LukeSkywalker

— ⚡ Santosh ⚡ (@Santosh_cool) December 18, 2020

Reading the writing on the wall, Gideon makes his move, drawing a blaster that the rescuers left lying around after killing the crew and firing at beskar-clad Bo-Katan, to no avail. Then he points the barrel at a fleshier target: Grogu. If Gideon can’t have him, then no one will. But Din dives in front of him to block the bolts, which would be a riskier move and a grander gesture if beskar didn’t render him impregnable. (When Fennec sniped Mando from a long way away in Chapter 5, he said, “At that range, beskar held up,” which suggests there is some range where it wouldn’t, but we haven’t seen that yet.) Gideon is disarmed, and Din opens the door. It’s time to meet the mysterious savior. He removes his hood, Jabba’s palace-style (and accompanied by a strain of “The Force Theme”), to reveal not popular fan-casting choice Sebastian Stan, but CGI Mark Hamill, looking less uncanny-valley-like than CGI Tarkin or CGI Leia from Rogue One, but still slightly too expressionless. Maybe we can chalk it up to Jedi discipline.

Thrilled as I was to see him, a part of me wanted Luke to leave. He’s here to save our fictional friends, but he’s also coming to take Grogu away. “Are you a Jedi?” Din asks. The answer seems obvious, but in Din’s defense, he only recently learned that the Jedi exist. Luke confirms that he is. (I half-expected to see some text on screen say “Quest Complete: Bring Grogu to the Jedi” and watch Din’s XP bar fill up.) “I will give my life to protect the Child,” Luke vows. So would we, Luke. So would we. But the Child needs training to harness his powers. Luke gestures to Grogu. “Come, little one,” he says, seemingly unfazed by his first in-person glimpse of the baby who may or may not be his old master’s secret love child. (I’m still sticking to that story.)

Grogu won’t go without permission from his metal dad. “That’s who you belong with,” Mando says. “He’s one of your kind. I’ll see you again. I promise.” In one sense, though, he hasn’t truly seen him for the first time. Grogu reaches out to touch Mando’s helmet, and Din gets the message. Grogu wants to see the face of his father. So just this once, Din will look on Grogu with his own eyes. This is the Way.

The moment might have hit even harder if Mando hadn’t unmasked last week, but this was still a fulfilling culmination of a two-season arc. With no visor between them, they stare into each other’s eyes and drink in the details. Grogu touches his cheek, and Din’s chin quivers as his eyes well with tears and he struggles to smile. Perhaps Grogu wonders why Din still sort of has a mustache.

When Din sets down the other half of Clan Mudhorn, Grogu clings to his leg like a toddler who doesn’t want to be dropped off at pre-school. But as both Grogu and Din have discovered, growing up means eventually learning to let go.

Only the appearance of a whistling R2-D2 can coax him across the room. Grogu waddles away from his dad. (By my rough count, we fell less than one minute short of five minutes of Pedro Pascal facetime this season, if we include the time when his head is on screen but not the whole time he’s unhelmeted.) Luke picks him up, and he and Grogu give each other another up-close inspection. Then Luke utters a “May the Force be with you” and, without so much as saying what his name is or where he’s going (or discussing visitation rights), walks away, Grogu looking back over his shoulder. We see master and padawan for one moment more, standing in a turbolift and looking like the Madonna and Child (and astromech droid). And then they’re gone, leaving us to ponder whether this might mean that Ben Solo kills Grogu. (It’s scary that the Luke of The Last Jedi—who’s well aware of Grogu—still says he’s “the last of the Jedi religion,” although that might mean that Grogu, like Ahsoka, follows a less rigid, Gray Jedi path.)

“If you should manage to finish your quest, I would have you reconsider joining our efforts,” Bo-Katan told Mando earlier in the episode. “Mandalorians have been in exile from our homeworld for far too long.” With the Darksaber in hand, Mando may have a new mission. His promise to Grogu was a promise to us all: Grogu isn’t gone forever forever. But the baby’s absence from last week’s episode could be a sign of a pivot to come. The Mandalorian may no longer be just about the duo that has been its beating heart. What’s next for the still-living Moff Gideon, whom Esposito suggested we would likely see much more of? Could Thrawn supplant him as the Empire’s Big Bad? Will the series—or its spinoffs—still touch on Pershing’s program and the efforts to resurrect Palpatine? If Grogu won’t turn out to be a Jedi, mightn’t he be better off staying with Din and cultivating that attachment rather than letting it go? Does the choice to render Luke with CGI mean he won’t get much more screen time, or could the character be recast now that this episode established who he is?

Just as I was lamenting that we missed out on a reunion between Boba and Luke—and wondering why Fett was in this series at all— The Mandalorian gave us a first for the series: a post-credits scene. In the quick clip (which I wish had an “in memory of” original Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch, who died on Thursday), Fennec and Boba blast their way into Jabba’s palace, where security is still lax and where the Hutt’s “maclunkey”-exclaiming former majordomo Bib Fortuna—who’s put on a few pounds—has taken control. (Bib is played by sound editor Matthew Wood, who has played or voiced several Star Wars characters, including Bib in an uncredited appearance in The Phantom Menace.)

Boba blasts Bib and takes his seat, laying claim to the palace where he once stood guard. Perhaps he’ll take over Jabba’s old empire while continuing to say stuff like, “Well if that isn’t the Quacta calling the Stifling slimy.” This is the setup for The Book of Boba Fett, due out in December 2021, when The Mandalorian’s third season is also supposed to premiere. A Deadline report suggests that this will be The Mandalorian’s third spinoff series, although there’s some possibility that The Mandalorian may simply evolve into a non-Mando-centric series; its title, after all, could refer to Boba or Bo-Katan as easily as Din. Whatever The Book of Boba Fett’s format, it will presumably explain how Fett survived the sarlacc, lost his armor, and teamed up with Shand.

That “The Rescue” ended with a Skywalker and a setup for another series is emblematic of the juggling act that this season sustained as The Mandalorian grew into its role as the star of Star Wars. As Favreau and Dave Filoni foreshadowed prior to the premiere, The Mandalorian’s second season significantly expanded the series’ scale and strengthened its ties to the rest of the franchise. Any notion that The Mandalorian would stay a somewhat self-contained story that existed apart from the Skywalker saga went out the window this year. But the series largely navigated the job of incorporating preexisting characters and setting up spinoffs without recycling ideas, sacrificing week-to-week entertainment, slowing the progression of the plot, or neglecting the development of its own homegrown core. A Skywalker stole some of the spotlight this week. But it was the look between Grogu and an unmasked Din that delivered the payoff we were waiting for.

Today, I’ll dispense with our usual recap-ending subsections, seeing as we’ve kind of covered the fan service of the week; Bo-Katan and Ahsoka may have been strangers to some, but I hope no one needs me to explain who that Jedi guy with the green saber was. Thanks for joining me on this journey for the past two months. I’ll be back soon to sum up the season and speculate about what could be coming in Season 3.

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Batman Beyond: The Classic That Nobody Wanted

Twenty-one years ago, Batman Beyond ushered in a new era of animated adventures for the Dark Knight. Set decades in the future, the series sidelined Bruce Wayne and put an entirely new character in the cowl, a teenager named Terry McGinnis. This radically different, cyberpunk Batman didn’t even have a cape. Wha-at???

While initially met with skepticism from the most rigid of fans who couldn’t imagine anyone other than Martha and Thomas Wayne’s orphaned son as the Dark Knight, Batman Beyond quickly showed it was a worthy successor to Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. Today, the series is considered a treasured part of the Dark Knight’s long and storied mythology.

The story behind the story of Batman Beyond is almost as interesting as the tales told within the series’ 52 episodes and one feature-length film (the acclaimed and controversial Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker). The series exists because creators Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett managed to stay ahead of studio directives that called for Batman to follow the standard template for WB Network programming at the time: Go young or go home.

The network wanted a teenaged Batman. Wisely realizing that nuking the canon established in BTAS – not to mention the mythology in decades of Batman comics – would be disastrous, Timm scrambled to come up with an alternative: a Batman tale set in the future.

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So how did a network exec’s unwanted idea turn into a beloved animated series with its own unique legacy? How did Batman Beyond’s producers create something from such a specific ask that not only lived up to the established Bat canon but also expanded and enriched it?

For this installment of IGN Inside Stories, we talked with many of the principals involved with the series from the very beginning. Through these new conversations, we learned how the team paved a new road that led Batman into the future… and beyond. Watch the full video above or read on!
Unexpected Origin Story
The genesis of the new series spun out of a meeting with WB TV boss Jamie Kellner. Timm, Burnett, Dini and the late Jean MacCurdy, who was then running WB Animation, were in attendance. In that meeting, Kellner told the team he wanted a new Batman series, one that depicted Bruce Wayne as a teenager.

bruce_timmBruce Timm, producer: I’m not sure I can adequately describe [my feelings] at that moment. It was surreal, and disappointing, shocking, and dream-like. Like this can’t be happening. It was not the words I expected to hear, let’s just say that. We were in the middle of doing our second iteration of Batman, The New Batman Adventures. We’d found our groove, we were digging the look of the show, we were digging the scripts and stuff, we were on fire. So to have the rug pulled out from under us, it was just like, “Oh God, seriously?”

My thing in the room [that day] was… my one overriding desire was I didn’t want to just throw all that [continuity] away. I didn’t want to throw that and Superman [The Animated Series] and BTAS out the window, so I said, “So if there was some way that we could come up with a teenage Batman show that was still in continuity, that’s still built off of the shows that we had already done, the only way really to do that is to go forward into the future and introduce a new character, a new Batman.”

James Tucker, director: We knew the network and the toy company wanted something like that, a future Batman idea. Bruce and Alan had always had tried to push it off because… there are no bad ideas, there’s just bad ways of doing things. The network always seems to pick one. At the time, I was just a storyboard artist and character designer. Bruce and Alan came and told all of us what they told the network. They pitched a young Batman, Terry McGinnis with an old Bruce Wayne. If the network wanted a future show, this was how they wanted to do it.

batman-beyond-terryBruce Timm: I’ll never forget, Jamie’s reaction was… it was kind of odd, and I remember this specifically. He said, “Yeah, it’s like the new generation of samurai passing his sword onto his protégé.” And I thought, “Well, I don’t really know what that’s about, but yeah. Yeah, like that.” And he said, “Great, let’s do that. Let’s make that show.” And I said, “So great, so the next steps are what? We’ll go off and get something on paper and start developing?” He said, “Oh no, no. You got a green light. I want this show for next fall. And we’re just like, “Uh, what?” It was that immediate.

Paul and Alan and I walked out of the room and we met in the parking lot as we’re getting into our cars and just kind of bitched and moaned about it. It was like, “Oh, I don’t want to do this stupid show. I don’t want to do teenage Batman, blah, blah, blah.” We wanted to keep doing the show we were doing, even though we knew that was pretty much a lost cause. So we just kind of walked away, grumbling, not really very enthusiastic about it. It was on Monday morning when I came in, and the first person I saw was Glen, and I told him what had happened and what it was all about. And Glen just kind of shrugged and went, “Hey, I think it sounds cool.”

Glen Murakami, producer: I did think it sounded cool. I told Bruce we should do it.

Bruce Timm: I was like, “What?” He said, “Yeah, a futuristic show, teenage Batman? We can do all that Spider-Man stuff, with the tortured hero, he’s got to balance his schoolwork and his love life and being a superhero.” Glen said we could come up with our own stylish version of futuristic Gotham. And he thought it sounded fun. And I kind of went, “Well, yeah. You’re kind of talking me into it.”

glen_murakamiGlen Murakami: I think Bruce wasn’t sure about the idea until he pitched it to me. I don’t know if this was toy line related or what, but I think Buffy [Buffy the Vampire Slayer was airing on the WB network at the time] was doing really well for them so I think that also had some influence. They wanted a version of Batman similar to Buffy. I remember Bruce coming back from the meeting and telling me they wanted several different options. One was Bruce as a teenager before he becomes Batman, almost like Speed Racer driving around in a car helping people. But it’s before he’s Batman and before he has a Batmobile. That was one idea and I think there was maybe another idea almost like maybe Batman throughout time, different kind [of] versions of Batman.

The reason why I was interested in it is because I felt like people were typecasting us. We did BTAS and it was like, oh, “Dark Deco,” film noir. Okay, you guys know how to do that. And then we were doing Superman and it’s like, well, even Superman was kind of old-fashioned. I’m like, let’s do Batman Beyond to show people we can do something more modern.

Andrea Romano, casting and voice director: I really wanted to do it because we were creating a series that was not based on established material, whereas Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and even the Teen Titans show [later on] were based on existing material. This was something that we were kind of going to create ourselves.

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Hitting the Ground Running
With a series commitment and facing a ridiculously short production window, the production had no time to waste. Many of the same people that Timm, Burnett and Dini had worked with on the Batman and Superman series were recruited for Batman Beyond.

Bruce Timm: Once I came around on it, we had to hit the ground running. We had no time to develop the show. And we were still finishing up The New Batman Adventures. So we were doing two shows at the same time. We didn’t have scripts, we didn’t have characters, we hadn’t done any of the world building yet. It was a mad dash. We were making stuff up on the fly.

James Tucker: By that time, our crews just rolled over into every show that came along.

Stan Berkowitz, writer: I’d been hired to work on Superman in 1996. And essentially that was a staff that just stayed there from ’96 on. When Superman ended, most of the same crew all went together to Batman Beyond. For me, it was a little different because around Thanksgiving of 1997, I got an offer to go work on a Dick Wolf live-action show called Players. While I was doing that, Alan Burnett called me to tell me he and Paul Dini were writing a pilot for this new Batman thing. They had worked together to write the script for part one. They needed someone to write the script for part two. So while I was still working for Dick Wolf, I was pretty busy. I was writing the script for the Batman Beyond pilot at home.

That two-parter, titled “Rebirth,” would launch the series in a special primetime debut on January 10, 1999. The following week, part one would re-air in the series’ official daytime slot on the Kids WB! The story begins in 2019, when an aging Bruce Wayne nearly resorts to using a handgun after a hostage rescue goes awry. That moment makes him realize it is time to hang up the cowl. Twenty years later, Wayne helps a young teenager named Terry McGinnis fight off the Jokerz street gang. After McGinnis discovers the elderly man used to be Batman, the two form an alliance. The episode is crucial not just for establishing the foundation of Terry and Bruce’s relationship (formed amidst the commonality of personal tragedy), but also for how Bruce Wayne determined it was time to give up being the Batman.

kevin_conroyKevin Conroy, voice of Bruce Wayne: It’s not a decision that anyone imposes on him. It’s a decision that he arrives at through experience, through seeing that he physically can’t do anymore what he wants to do. So for him to hand over his mantle willingly and take on an apprentice and teach him everything he knows, that just shows extraordinary growth on Bruce Wayne’s part.

Bruce Timm: It made all the sense in the world. And this was the thing: From the minute we announced the show was going to happen, a lot of our fans … already wrote it off. They were just like, “Oh my God, this sounds horrible. This is going to be terrible. A teenage Batman? It’s going to be a stinky rip-off. It’s going to be for kids.” And actually that first two-parter, everything … is so much more adult, and darker, and uglier than pretty much anything we had done in any of our shows up until that point. So we knew that when we had that shot of Batman pointing a gun … at a criminal, that was the best way to slap those [critics] upside the head and say, “Nope, this is a good show, and you’re going to love it.” I love the pilot. I love both parts of it so much. It’s just a mission statement.
New Art for a New Gotham
With the series’ raison d’etre established, the crew had to worry about something else of great importance: a new rogues gallery. Timm was adamantly against just recycling classic Bat-foes with a fresh coat of future paint. He wanted new villains, with different goals and motivations that fit the Gotham of 2039.

James Tucker: Bruce pulled all the artists who could do it into a room and said, “We need villains.” He basically just threw it out there. We developed the show in a room. It was me, Glen, Shane Glines, a few others, and we were just throwing out ideas and literally just drawing. Everything was coming out fresh, because Bruce didn’t want us to just do futuristic Clayface. He wanted completely original characters.

Bruce Timm: I said that we could use their motifs, just come up with a really crazy, futuristic spin on all of them. Out of that idea, James Tucker came up with the Inque character. He literally just drew this blobby, weird, shape-shifting character, and then wrote I-N-Q-U-E, which I thought that was kind of a neat way to spell it. So that’s our Clayface, that’s our shape-shifting, weird character, but A, it’s a female, and B, she’s stylish and elegant, not just a pile of crap. That set the pattern for how we came up with all of the other characters.

James Tucker: Then the writers would come on, and then we’d have a script, it was like, “Oh.” Sometimes it was completely different than what we envisioned. When you’re drawing a character, you don’t really have a fleshed out idea of what it could be. I was always surprised to see what they took and what they came back with.

stan_berkowitzStan Berkowitz: I remember the villain Shriek was basically just Glen drawing a picture of the character. Alan Burnett then gave it to me and said, “Here. Glen just did this drawing of a bad guy. It has something to do with sound, figure out something.”

James Tucker: I designed the majority of the Jokerz at the start of the series, and then later we started filling in new Jokerz as we went along. Everything that was in that show came from sitting in that room and talking. Thank God we had been all working together for the past five years already. I don’t think you could do a show… You couldn’t create a show from whole cloth with people who were fresh to each other and didn’t know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. There was just such a synergy and Bruce just trusted us. I don’t know, it was great. I’ve never had a working situation quite like that.

One of the standout elements of the series was the visual aesthetic of Gotham City. With staggeringly tall buildings, daring architecture and flying cars, it was a cyberpunk visualization of Gotham in 2039. The show’s visual artists drew on influences from across pop culture to design the mega-city. That’s challenging under normal circumstances. Given the show’s lack of preproduction time, it made it a nigh-impossible task.

Glen Murakami: I think Bruce would tell me some of the ideas he had and then I would kind of visualize them. I was just kind of the art director so I wasn’t really involved with story that much, but I was envisioning the world and then shoving my two cents in as much as I could.

BatmanBeyond-Terry-MedShotJames Tucker: Either Bruce and Glen or both of them had taken a trip to Tokyo for another project. They were very inspired by just how futuristic Tokyo looked. A lot of it seemed to generate from Glen. [He] kind of had the vision of the monolithic, sprawling megalopolis for the show. At least, he’s the one who started doing the drawing and the sketches that we initially started working from. Bruce Timm’s shows at the time were… they were very synergistic. Glen was the art director, so we’d all pile into his office. Bruce would come in, and a lot of times the ideas would come about based on conversations we were having about other stuff, sci-fi books and certain types of movies. I can’t pinpoint the exact thing that influenced the look of the show, other than we wanted it to feel massive. Especially compared to what anime does. I always thought our cityscapes never quite achieved that. But [the show designers] went out of their way to make sure there was a scale to it that we usually didn’t have.

Glen Murakami: I remember one of the ideas was [the series] was going to be a little bit more about class structure… like, Terry was going to be the kid from the wrong side of the tracks. He was going to be almost more like a bottom dweller and there was going to be rich kids, and almost like the high school was going to be met in the middle. We talked about that, and I don’t know why that kind of disappeared. Also, we had the idea that Bruce Wayne kind of loses his fortune and then the criminals are more in charge, so then the city should [become] more vertical. We said, “Oh, the original Gotham City is on the bottom, and they just kept building on top of it.” You could still go to the very bottom of Gotham City and still find the Dark Deco world, but the villains just kind of kept getting richer and richer, just stacking on top of it.

Glen Murakami: We just wanted it so when you were looking at the show, you could tell it apart [from the other series]. Each show had a different color palette, too. Even the skin colors on Batman Beyond, they’re a gray flesh color versus Superman that’s way more red. We wanted Batman Beyond to feel a little bit more oppressive.

Bruce Timm: I really wanted the show to have its own identity. [Our writers] literally had villains robbing banks. And I’m like, “Dude, 50 years from now, banks are not going to be banks as we know them. Nobody’s going to be using cash.” We were at least smart enough to realize that… So you literally have to start thinking forward, futurizing, future trends and stuff.

Stan Berkowitz: You had to kind of figure out what a futuristic version of a routine situation might be like. Like if they went to a fast food place, what would a fast food place for the future be like. I had no luck in doing that. I was not the futurist on the show.

james tuckerJames Tucker: I mean, we weren’t ahead of the curve on cell phones for sure. But, we do have iPads. My first episode I directed [Season 2’s “The Eggbaby,” which won Tucker and the team a Daytime Emmy award], one of the teachers was holding an iPad, essentially. That wasn’t a reality back then.
The Title Sequence
One of the most distinctive elements of Batman Beyond was the show’s opening. A dazzling array of images and techno-punk music mixed together, it was conceived by the late Darwyn Cooke, but ultimately was completed with the help of several others.

Glen Murakami: Darwyn Cooke had come onboard and he came from a commercial arts background. He said, “I can gather all of this artwork that we produce and I can collage it all together and put it together for a title sequence.”

Bruce Timm: Darwyn assembled it all in After Effects, back in the days when it took forever just to render a single scene. It’s just kind of mind-blowing when you look back on it now. It’s a pretty sophisticated piece of film for 1999 technology. Because there was so much to be done on such a short timeframe, there’s a lot of everybody in it. I designed a bunch of stuff, Adam Van Wyk animated two different scenes of Batman doing stuff. There’s a James Tucker shot in there.

Glen Murakami: Bruce had a video camera and he had a setting on it to kind of pixelate it so he filmed a lot of stuff in that really crummy, low-tech format.

Bruce Timm: That shot of Bruce Wayne that everybody thinks is CGI, that’s literally a sculpture. That’s a 3D sculpture that Glenn Wong, one of our designers, built. I stuck it on a Lazy Susan on my kitchen table, spun it around, and shot it with my home video camera. Then Darwyn took that image and digitized it, and that gives it that weird CG look.

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=That%20shot%20of%20Bruce%20Wayne%20that%20everybody%20thinks%20is%20CGI%2C%20that’s%20literally%20a%20sculpture.%20…%20I%20stuck%20it%20on%20a%20Lazy%20Susan%20on%20my%20kitchen%20table%2C%20spun%20it%20around%2C%20and%20shot%20it%20with%20my%20home%20video%20camera.”]

Glen Murakami: That shot of Batman standing and he turns with the Jokers? That’s an action figure.

Bruce Timm: That’s a Nightwing action figure that I kitbashed and customized him to look like Terry. And again, he’s on the Lazy Susan, and I just literally spun him and shot him. And then Darwyn took that and then surrounded him with James Tucker villains. So James drew the crowd of villains surrounding him. Yeah, it’s a mashup of all of us, but I [don’t want to] under-emphasize how much Darwyn had to do with it.

Glen Murakami: A lot of it was Darwyn insisting, “Let’s use this new technology. I can do it. We don’t have to send it overseas. I can do it all.” And he was right, but back then the computers were just running so slow that I think his computer kept crashing all the time. And because it was distressed so much digitally and processed so much, I think people look at it and go, “Oh, it must be CG.” But a lot of the solutions were very, very low tech.
Finding the New Batman
Casting the new Dark Knight was arguably the most crucial element of getting the series off the ground. Terry McGinnis shared several qualities with Bruce Wayne, including experience with personal tragedy at a young age, but they were not the same character. The producers were after a young voice. Will Friedle, then a co-star on the ABC comedy Boy Meets World, won over the team immediately. But even before the title role was cast, Timm, Dini and Romano had figured out what to do about Old Man Bruce. Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman/Bruce in BTAS and The New Batman Adventures, was the only choice to play the retired Batman.

Kevin Conroy: They said, “We want to do a new Batman show.” And I thought, “This is great, another shot.” And they said, “But you’re not going to be Batman.” I said, “Wait a minute! That doesn’t sound so good!” They then told me it’s a Batman in the future and [I’m] 80-year-old Bruce Wayne. So I’m his teacher and sort of the Obi-wan Kenobi of the show. They knew that I brought the spirit of Bruce Wayne, the internal character that I had established. They loved that, but would I be able to age the voice enough to be convincingly 88?

andrea_romanoAndrea Romano: I just knew that [Kevin] could do it. I knew that aging of one’s voice is not that difficult. Kevin already knew that he needed to use a deeper pitch for this guy. And then he started adding some air to it in addition to the gravel that he added anyway, and the gravitas that he gave to that character. And there was kind of a fun thing about this Bruce Wayne… he was cranky most of the time.

Kevin Conroy: There are no guarantees at all. It’s all based on how good you were yesterday, you know, then they bring you back. What a business.

Will Friedle, voice of Terry McGinnis/Batman: I guess Bruce’s wife was a Boy Meets World fan, and she’s the one who said that Bruce and Andrea should bring me in. So I didn’t know that they were already looking at me, which was very, very cool. But I remember being nervous. I’d never done an animated series before, never been behind a microphone before, so to go in and audition to play Batman for your first time ever was a little daunting.

Bruce Timm: [We knew] it was Will pretty much after hearing the first couple of words come out of his mouth in the audition. There was not even any competition.

Will Friedle: Every generation thinks their generation had the best cartoons, but mine really did. Batman: The Animated Series changed the whole ball game. So yeah, it was big shoes to fill. But in another way, it wasn’t too bad because I didn’t have to play Bruce. When you don’t have to play Bruce Wayne, I can still to this day say, “I’m the best Terry McGinnis there’s ever been.” Because [I am the] only Terry McGinnis there’s ever been. So I think stepping into the role of Bruce Wayne is a heck of a lot harder than stepping into the new kid’s shoes.

batman-beyond-brucy-terryAndrea Romano: Sometimes you want to hire an established, known actor because they will make your job easier. You won’t have to teach them as much. But every once in a while, you want to take the risk and bring in somebody who you believe will be a really good choice for the role.

Will Friedle: I think the thing that I did [that] other people might not have done … was that I loved the Michael Keaton Batman. I thought he really paid respect to the fact that Batman and Bruce Wayne were two very different characters. And I realized that Terry McGinnis was 17 years old, and that nobody was going to be scared of his voice. So I made sure that I deepened it when he was playing Batman, when he put on the cowl. So I could be wrong. Other actors might have done that, but I distinctly remember doing half of the audition as Terry and then half-deepening the voice and doing it as Batman.

Another challenge was getting the writers to grasp the idea that this Batman show wasn’t about Bruce Wayne; the spotlight needed to focus on Terry McGinnis. This frustrated Timm to no end.

Bruce Timm: Literally all [the writers’] pitches were about Bruce Wayne. And you know what? I love old man Bruce Wayne. I think he’s fascinating and fun, because he’s ancient, and he’s cranky, and he’s more of a bastard than he ever was, but he’s not the star of our show. Terry is the star of our show. And nobody could relate to him. They were like, “Oh, but we’re all 50-year-old men. We don’t know how to write for a teenage boy.” And I was like, “You’re a writer. Use your goddamn imagination. If you can’t write this show, then maybe you ought to find another show.”

I’m overselling it. Bruce was an equal partner. But he was not the main character. And it was just really hard to get everybody to think outside of the standard Batman box. All of our freelance writers, nobody understood it. So we literally had to write all of the stories in-house. And again, we didn’t have the time. All of this stuff was just happening instantaneously. It was insane. I had never experienced anything like it.

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=I%20was%20like%2C%20’You’re%20a%20writer.%20Use%20your%20goddamn%20imagination.%20If%20you%20can’t%20write%20this%20show%2C%20then%20maybe%20you%20ought%20to%20find%20another%20show.'”]

James Tucker: Bruce and Alan and Glen were very specific about that. We have to care about Terry. He is our Batman. We have to make him matter, because people already know and love Bruce. Another thing about that is Terry … brought out this side of Bruce, this tenderness, even in his grumpiness, but there’s something that humanized Bruce a little more than what he had been.

Andrea Romano: I think Terry McGinnis was more rebellious than bad. He had a lot thrust upon him as a very young man, but he had a good soul.

Bruce Timm: We wanted his personality to be completely different than Bruce… it’s almost like he has the exact opposite reaction to his dad being killed that Bruce Wayne did. It’s almost like it pushed him into the arms of Bruce and the whole Batman mythos, to kind of avenge his dad. But then once he gets into the suit, it kind of saves him. It kind of puts him on the right path. He still has trouble in class, and if anything, he has even more trouble with class, because he’s so busy being Batman all the time. But when he’s in the suit, he’s a different guy than [Bruce] was. He’s not brooding. He’s not dark and brooding. Any teenager, when they see Terry in that suit, flying around town, or driving the Batmobile, in a flying car, they’re going, “Oh my God, this is unbearably cool.” You know every kid in America watching the show was saying, “Yep. That’s exactly how I would react to it.”

Stan Berkowitz: The whole point of doing the series was to have a hero who is younger and could appeal to younger people. So we made him someone who thinks he knows a lot and is continually getting shown up by his older mentor. You made a mistake here, but you’re learning, you’re learning kid. [Terry is] still a bit of a screw up, but I mean, he has girlfriends. He has friends. I don’t think Bruce Wayne had any of that stuff. I think Bruce Wayne was just always this dark disturbed little kid who was essentially friendless. Bruce Wayne is a fake [identity]. It’s his actual given name, of course, but it’s a fake because he’s not really Bruce Wayne. Going back to the Shriek episode in the first season, he was hearing voices in his head and he’s thinking, “Am I losing my mind?” And then he realized, “No, I’m not losing my mind because the voices keep addressing me as Bruce.” And then Terry goes, “Well, that’s your name?” Then Bruce says, “But that’s not what I call myself in my thoughts.” He’s Batman. And he’s been Batman for a very long time.

will_friedleWill Friedle: There’s a couple of things I loved about that episode. To me, [it has] one of the best animated fight scenes ever, and it’s not long, but it’s the scene where all of the sound drops out. Essentially, they’re fighting in silence, which is amazing. I know that was something that Bruce [Timm] had wanted to do for a long time, was pulling out all the music, pulling out all the sound, and having a silent fight, which is very interesting.

The other thing I loved about that particular episode was it was Terry’s first chance to try to be the detective without Bruce standing over his shoulder. I think there’s one of my funniest lines where Terry is trying to work the bat-computer, and he doesn’t know how to [give the commands]. And he’s like, “Tell me the stuff that this thing’s made of,” because he doesn’t know the words to prompt the computer. That was one of the early pivotal episodes that helped set the tone for the series.

Glen Murakami: The thing that I used to say about Terry is, Terry likes being Batman. I think Bruce Wayne is haunted about being Batman. I think Terry enjoys being Batman.

For the role of Dana Tan, Terry’s girlfriend, another member of Timm’s troupe was tapped for the part. Actress Lauren Tom had previously voiced Angela Chen on Superman: The Animated Series.

Lauren Tom, voice of Dana Tan: I think that I got Superman because that was right around the time when I was Julie, Ross’s girlfriend, on Friends.

The actress takes particular pride in how Dana helped break ground because, at the time, she was one of the few Asian characters in an animated series.

Lauren Tom: I was just his girlfriend who happened to be Asian, which was really lovely. And I also love the fact that Dana was pretty strong. She’s not like a wimpy weak gal at all. I mean, she was a bit put upon because he kept standing her up. But in the [Season 2] episode “Rats,” for example, which was kind of like my main episode, I was amazed that she just doesn’t freak out. Like once she wakes up and realizes she’s been kidnapped by Patrick Fitz, she’s so calm. And she tries to reason and talk with him, like a person who has a lot of confidence and strength would, because me in real life, I would be so freaked out that I’m sure I would start screaming. I really liked that aspect of her personality.

After the Future of Batman
Batman Beyond ran from 1999 to 2001, composed of three seasons and one feature film. Nearly four years later, what was essentially the series finale of Batman Beyond aired on Justice League Unlimited. The episode “Epilogue” retconned, using some serious superhero science, that Bruce Wayne was actually Terry McGinnis’ father.

In the years since the show went off the air, Terry McGinnis has persisted in comics, games, and of course on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming. And with the constantly changing state of the DC film universe, the future of Batman Beyond is always filled with hope.

James Tucker: At first it was something we were dreading, and then it became something we really got into and loved. We thought of it as something where we were actually contributing to the Batman mythos, something unique, something that didn’t exist before in the Batman world. We got a lot of hate up front about it; it was touch and go for us as far as if we were going to achieve that. It’s gratifying to know that fans who grew up on it, for whom Terry was their first Batman… it’s nice that it did pay off, that our hard work and the thing we became passionate about created passion in others.

Stan Berkowitz: There was something odd about it in that we had, instead of one hero, we had two incomplete people and they needed each other. You absolutely could not get rid of one of them. Most team-ups are unnecessary, but I think the Batman Beyond team-up was absolutely crucial. It was that relationship that tied them together. And I think that’s what made the TV series unique.

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=I%20think%20for%20a%20whole%20new%20generation%2C%20it%20made%20people%20go%2C%20’Wait%2C%20I%20can%20be%20Batman%2C’%20and%20I%20think%20that’s%20a%20cool%20thing.”]

Kevin Conroy: It’s the psychology of the characters, the psychology of Bruce Wayne, the psychology of Terry McGinnis. There’s a real sense of family between the audience and these characters. And I think that’s why they want more of it.

James Tucker: It’s probably our most human show.

Will Friedle: I think for a whole new generation, it made people go, “Wait, I can be Batman,” and I think that’s a cool thing. So there was a whole new generation of kids watching a superhero show where the superhero was a kid in high school, just like them, kid in school who had to deal with dating, and being bullied, and problems at home.

My favorite exchange between Terry and Bruce happens at the end of the pilot … the last two lines between the two of them, where he just says, “I’m a stern taskmaster. I want you to come and do this with me.” And Terry says, “Yeah, I think I can handle it.” And Bruce just says, “Very well, Mr. McGinnis, welcome to my world.” And they shake. It still gives me chills when I think about that. And I think it is you’re bringing that whole next generation of younger Batman fans into a whole new version of Batman. And I think that sustains, I really do. I think it’s cool.

What are your memories of Batman Beyond? Do you want to see it revived in some form? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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7 Work-from-Home Upgrades That Boost Productivity

To be honest, my first couple months of working from home didn’t go well. I wasn’t focused, wasted too much time, and felt trapped in my house. But nine months later, I’ve come to love my home office and will most likely have trouble transitioning back. To help you upgrade your own work space, here are my suggestions for gear that will get you cruising into (and well past) the new year.

The Mind Journal Jotter ($40)

home-office-upgrades-journal_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

I’ve always had a notebook for my to-do lists, but I upgraded to this journal because it takes my weekly planning routine up a notch. I still use it to make lists, but an included checklist asks me to think about how I’m feeling each week and then prompts me to write down some larger projects I’d like to tackle, plus a few things I’m grateful for. Those three extra activities take just five minutes but have a larger cumulative effect that leaves me feeling more grounded and organized. 

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U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus with Preamp ($379)

home-office-upgrades-u-turn_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

This piece of gear has single-handedly transformed my work space. Most important, it’s become the metronome for my day, forcing me to stand up and flip or change the record every 20 minutes or so. Those little breaks are good for my body and my concentration. It also does a good job of setting the mood. I invested in some classic jazz records and love exploring a whole musical genre while I get work done. This model from U-Turn is my go-to because it doesn’t need an amp—it plugs right into your speakers instead—and because it offers great sound for the money.

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Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle with Chug Top ($30)

home-office-upgrades-yeti-rambler_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

I wasn’t drinking enough water the first few months I was at home. I’d get to the end of the day and have a headache. Now, however, this bottle stays on my kitchen table (a.k.a. my work space) at all times. When it’s sitting there in front of me, I remember to drink and feel much better come five o’clock. I like the Chug top’s small opening, which is easy and satisfying to drink from. I’m also a fan of the Rambler, because when it’s not getting me through my day, it’s also super functional for outdoor adventures.

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J.L. Lawson and Co. Event Horizon Spin Coin ($34)

home-office-upgrades-spinner_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

We all need small breaks throughout the day. In addition to changing my records, I’ve also started using this top to take a quick mental pause. Constructed from nearly pure iron, with a ceramic ball as the contact point, it spins for a surprisingly long time and makes for a nice distraction when you’re tired of staring at a computer screen. Two minutes of top spinning leaves me feeling much better than the ten minutes of Instagram scrolling that used to occupy my writing breaks.

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Modern Sprout Coastal Fan Palm Hydro Grow Kit ($19)

home-office-upgrades-modern-sprout_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

Plants make any work environment more pleasant. But instead of buying ones that were already established, I wanted the challenge of growing something from seeds. Modern Sprout makes it easy by sending you everything you need, from the seeds to the pot to detailed instructions. I chose the fan palm, because after a few years and some attention, it will grow into a fairly large indoor plant. 

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Taylor Stitch the Hardtack Sweater ($248)

home-office-upgrades-taylor-stitch_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

This is my Mr. Rogers sweater. When I put it on every morning, it signifies my transition to work. Made from Yak wool, which is almost as soft as cashmere but significantly more durable, it’s immediately cozy and keeps me warm on cold days when I don’t feel like running the heater. Its thinner weave means it layers well: I wear it under a coat when I walk the dog and will use it as my midlayer while backcountry-skiing this winter. The Hardtack isn’t cheap, but the price has paid for itself, as it’s easily one of my most-used pieces of clothing.

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Haflinger GZ Slippers ($125)

home-office-upgrades-slippers_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller) 

I’m a big fan of gear that serves multiple purposes. These slippers fall into that category: they’re great house shoes that I can also wear outside. The boiled wool keeps my feet comfortable with or without socks, while the rubber soles are thick enough for walking the dog or quick trips to the store. And with medium-high arches, my feet are supported at all times. Style-wise, they’re a mix between slippers and clogs, so they go with pajamas and jeans alike.

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How to Use Selenium?


Introduction to Selenium Webdriver

Webdriver is a web automation framework that enables us to use a programming language in order to execute scripts in different web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc. It controls the browser from the OS level. All it requires is a script to run and a web browser. Selenium web driver supports different programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, .NET, etc.


Selenium package: This can be installed by using the following command.

pip install selenium

Drivers: Different browsers will have different drivers that are needed to be downloaded before using them.
For chrome: chromium driver, download it from the following link.

For Firefox: Gecko driver, download it from the following link.

For Microsoft Edge: internet explorer driver, download it from:

For safari: Safari driver, download it from:

For windows users, after downloading the required driver, unzip the file.
Place the file in a directory and save the path to that directory.
Add the path in the environment variables as a path, and save the path for later use.

Usage of Selenium WebDriver

From the selenium package we need to import web driver, this can be done by:

from selenium import webdriver

Create a driver by using the following code:

driver = webdriver.Firefox(‘path to geckodriver’)

Here, for instance, I have used geckodriver for the firefox browser you can use anything instead.

Pick a url where this webdriver has to head and place the url inside driver.get() method, this method automates the driver towards the url. For instance, let us use url to search selenium in Wikipedia.


To automatically close the browser after opening it use driver.quit() at the end of the code.
Summing up all the above steps the following will be the python script,

from selenium import webdriver
driver = webdriver.Firefox(‘path to geckodriver’)

how to use selenium 1

The above web page gets opened after running the above script, but the page automatically gets closed because of driver.quit() option so we can use that as optional.
This selenium web driver also supports the HtmlUnit browser which is used for headless browsing which means the webpage can be accessed without opening the web browser, this can be done as follows.
Import options from selenium as:

from selenium.webdriver.firefox.options import Options

Set the options to headless and then include it along with the path of the driver as:

options = Options()
driver = webdriver.Firefox(‘path to geckodriver’,options = options)

Web driver provides many number of ways to find the elements from the web page through xpath, is, name, css_name, css_selector etc.
Locating elements can be used as follows,

driver.find_element_by_xpath(‘xpath value’)

all the values for the locating elements can be found by inspecting the web page.

Let us consider another example by using locating elements,

Here we will work login automation for a website called Quora.
First, let us get the URL path for Quora website and include it in the driver.get()
Then the page might look like this,

how to use selenium 2

Now inspect each element by right-clicking on the element and select inspect element option to find the value of the element as shown below.

how to use selenium 3

Copy the value of the locating element and according to the value selected use the following code,

Email = driver.find_element_by_id(id = ‘value of id’)

In the above-given website, the values of email id and password has to be entered which can be done by,

Email.send_keys(‘enter the email id’)

Similarly, enter all the required fields and then we have to press the login button to do this inspect the value of login button, and then write the following code.

Button = driver.find_element_by_id(id = ‘value of login button’)

Then automatically the website will be redirected to the account as shown below.

how to use selenium 4

Summing up all the above steps python script will be as below.

from selenium import webdriver
driver = webdriver.Firefox(‘C:\\geckodriver’)
email = driver.find_element_by_name(“email”)
email.send_keys(‘enter the email id’)
password = driver.find_element_by_name(‘password’)
passsword.send_keys(‘enter the password’)
button = driver.find_element_by_xpath(‘//*[@id=”__w2_wQpenGLD21_submit_button”]’)

Locating Elements with Selenium:

There are different ways to locate elements in a web page. The following are the different methods to locate elements.

Example #1: Find element by id

We can use this method when we know id attribute of an element. Let say we have a page source as follows.


<form id=”loginForm”>
<input name=”username” type=”text” />
<input name=”password” type=”password” />
<input name=”continue” type=”submit” value=”Login” />

We can locate the form below

login_form = driver.find_element_by_id(‘loginForm’)

Example #2: Find element by name

We can use this when we know the name attribute of an element. Consider the following source.


<form id=”loginForm”>
<input name=”username” type=”text” />
<input name=”password” type=”password” />
<input name=”continue” type=”submit” value=”Login” />
<input name=”continue” type=”button” value=”Clear” />

We can extract username and password like this.

username = driver.find_element_by_name(‘username’)
password = driver.find_element_by_name(‘password’)

Example #3: Find element by XPath

With XPath consider the page source as follows.


<form id=”loginForm”>
<input name=”username” type=”text” />
<input name=”password” type=”password” />
<input name=”continue” type=”submit” value=”Login” />
<input name=”continue” type=”button” value=”Clear” />

Elements can be located like this.

login_form = driver.find_element_by_xpath(“/html/body/form[1]”)
login_form = driver.find_element_by_xpath(“//form[1]”)
login_form = driver.find_element_by_xpath(“//form[@id=’loginForm’]”)

Example #4: Find element by line_text

We can locate hyperlinks with link text as follows. Consider the page source as follows.


<p>Are you sure you want to do this?</p>
<a href=”continue.html”>Continue</a>
<a href=”cancel.html”>Cancel</a>

Continue link can be located like this.

continue_link = driver.find_element_by_link_text(‘Continue’)
continue_link = driver.find_element_by_partial_link_text(‘Conti’)

Example #5: Locate Elements by CSS Selector

This method allows you to locate elements by class attribute name. Below is the source.


<div class=”round-button”>Click Here</p>

We can locate css sector as below.

get_div = driver.find_element_by_css_selector(‘div.round-button’)

Example #6: Locate Elements by Tagname

This method allows you to find a web-element by specifying the tag name.


<title>Hello Python</title>
<p>Learn test automation using Python</p>

The above code has a title tag with some text. You can find it using the below code.

get_div = driver.find_element_by_tag_name(‘title’)

 You can find the reference link below.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to How to Use Selenium?. Here we also discuss the Introduction to Webdriver, Usage of Selenium WebDriver with different examples. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

Assertions in Selenium
Selenium Software
Components of Selenium
What is XPath in Selenium?

The post How to Use Selenium? appeared first on EDUCBA.

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Learning Resources In Challenging Times: Online Workshops, Meetups And Events

In these existing unusual times of seclusion and social distancing (with nearly all conferences and occasions being cancelled), it can be rather challenging to feel linked to household, pals and associates. Here at Smashing, our company believe that is now more vital than ever to remain in touch and assistance each other. Behind the scenes, the group is working relentlessly on methods to keep the neighborhood linked, and oh boy do we have a great deal of things in shop for you! You didn’’ t truly believe we ’d quit that quickly, did you?

Your office might look a lot like Topple’’ s, however even if it isn ’ t, make yourself comfy! We ’ ll assistance you improve your abilities online and find out useful, actionable insights from specialists inthe market.

We ’ ve been hectic over the last couple of weeks, and we’’ re not stopping! We have online workshops , SmashingConf Live , Smashing Meets and finally, Smashing TELEVISION coming right within your reaches! Initially, let’’ s see what else we ’ ve been upto …

. Look What ’ s Cookin ’!

Exciting times! Click! , our newest Smashing book, is readily available for pre-order with a friendly discount rate– you can currently begin checking out the eBook till your printed copy comes to your doorstep. Composed by Paul Boag and wonderfully created by Veerle Pieters, the book is divided into 11 chapters: from checking out the psychology of choice making and how to determine conversion to checking out methods of how to motivate users to act without alienating them.

. There is no scarcity of books on marketing and UX, however when it pertains to bridging the space in between the 2, a lot of us have a hard time to discover the ideal balance. Pre-order today → .

Of course, if you ’ re sensation smashing today, we ’dlike to welcome you’ sign up with the Smashing household and get the eBook totally free( amongst with lots of other eBooks and a couple of elegant felines!).

. Knowing And Networking, The Smashing Way.

Despite the existing scenarios, we ’ reeager to discover methods which we can use Smashing experiences to anybody thinking about gaining from professionals in our market– without requiring to leave your desk! We ’ ve been asking what kind of resources you ’d like to have, therefore all of’the following online occasions is what has actually landed’in our Smashing wanting well. Thank you to everybody who has actually shared their ideas and feedback– we ’ ve been all ears!

. 1. Online Workshops( May– July).

 Topple the Cat prepared for the brand-new experience Our friendly online front-end/UX workshops are bound to increase your abilities and assist you get useful, actionable insights from professionals in the market– live. There will be a lot of informative takeaways, workouts, slides, recordings and friendly Q&A time. Obviously, we ’ re delighted to supply discount rates for big groups and trainees.


We currently have you covered for the next 3 months– make certain to conserve your area as quickly as you can:

.When? What? Who? May 7– 22. Advanced CSS/Sass . Miriam Suzanne. May 12– 26. Smart Interface Design Patterns .Vitaly–Friedman. May 28– June 12. Web Performance Masterclass –.Harry Roberts. June 11– 12. The CSS LayoutMasterclass . Rachel Andrew. June 16– 30. Front-End AccessibilityMasterclass . Marcy Sutton. June 18– 26. Building Modern HTML Emails –.Rémi Parmentier. July 2– 17. Buy!The eCommerce UX Workshop . Vitaly Friedman. July 7– 21. Design Systems .Brad Frost.

Note: If you ’ re likewise thinking about how you too can run online workshops, listen to Smashing Podcast episode 14 with Rachel Andrew in which she discusses running online workshops and how a standard occasion can adjust when individuals can ’ t go to face to face.

. 2. SmashingConf Live( June 9– 10).

 Topple the Cat resting on a comfy sofa with a laptop computer on its lap Meet SmashingConf Live( June 9– 10), a genuinely smashing, friendly online conference on front-end &UX. With interactive live sessions, useful insights, available speakers, collective notes–and fireplace talks with similar folks. Dive to initially validated speakers. Check schedule →


Both days begin at 8 AM PDT( inspect your time ), with interactive sessions, followed up with →a time for Q&A s and conversation zones.


Ah, and the very best bit: a conference in which you play an active function– participating in live sessions, Q&A s, conversation zones and obstacles. To the schedule. Of course that ’ s not all! Be gotten ready for style &coding obstacles, scavenger hunt and fireplace sessions with secret visitors. And to keep in design, obviously we ’ ll toss a Smashing Party.

Do you like what you see, however are fretted about getting a long time off from work? Well, you undoubtedly didn ’ t believe we’would leave your hanging? We understand how tough it can often be, therefore we ’ ve prepared a cool lil ’ Convince-Your-Boss design template to assist you out. All the best!

. 3. Smashing Meets (Free).  Topple sitting beside a campfire We ’ re very thrilled to run our extremely first Smashing meetup next week! We will concentrate on front-end and UX, however likewise cover all sorts of subjects from efficiency to availability. Smashing Meets wouldn ’ t be possible without some fantastic neighborhoods from around the globe, so another Thank You to everybody included!

. 4. Smashing TELEVISION( Free Webinar on May 19th).  Photo of Carie Fisher and Harris Schneiderman Looking for methods to assist you broaden your ease of access test protection beyond automation? With really little resources, you can make a significant distinction. Join us with Carie Fisher and Harris Schneiderman at 7:00 PM CET/1:00 PM EDT who will show the fundamentals of automated screening and share essential lessons on optimizing your ease of access effect.

. Sharing Personal Experiences And Stories.

 Smashing Podcast moderated by Drew McLellan We ’ re moving onto our 16th episode of the Smashing Podcast next week! The Smashing Podcast is the best method to take a bit of Smashing in addition to you on your early morning strolls, while cleaning the meals, or anytime you like actually. You can subscribe in your preferred app to get brand-new episodes as quickly as they ’ re all set.

. Previous Smashing Podcast episodes ( consisting of records). Follow @SmashingPod on Twitter. Your Design Work Deserves Attention.

Do you have art work you ’d love to show the style neighborhood? Please do if so! We are constantly trying to find imaginative skill, so if you have a concept for a wallpaper style, please put on ’ t be reluctant to send it. Join in! →

. Trending Topics On Smashing Magazine.

We release a brand-new post every day on different subjects that are existing in the web market. Here are some that our readers appeared to take pleasure in the most and have actually advised even more:

. “ Setting TypeScript For ModernReact Projects Using Webpack And Babel ” by Blessing KrofeghaThis short article presents Typescript, a superscript of JavaScript that provides the fixed type function for finding typical mistakes as“designers codes, which improves efficiency, for this reason leads to robust business applications. You ’ ll likewise find out how to effectively establish TypeScript in a React Project as we construct a Money Heist Episode Picker App, checking out TypeScript, React hooks such as useReducer, useContext and Reach Router. “ A Complete Guide To Mechanical Keyboards ” by Ben FrainHow much idea have you take into your main input gadget? Ever thought about just how much better your user interface with your computer system might be? In this post, we dive into the possibilities of mechanical keyboards.“The various designs, switch types and even keycap product. Strap yourself in– this will be a deep dive! “ Micro-Typography: How To Space And Kern Punctuation Marks And Other Symbols ” by Thomas BohmFor centuries, we have actually been utilizing white area in typography. Today, in 2020, how do we include spacing to punctuation marks and other signs, and — how do we change the area on the“left and ideal side in a constant and simple method? It is really not as fast and simple as it need to be. “ How To Pass”Data Between Components In Vue.js ” by Matt MaribojocWith many various methods to share information throughout parts, you need to understand which strategy is best for your circumstance. Let ’ s examine 3 of the most typical methods to pass information in VueJS. “ Reducing Design Risk ” by Eric OliveThe pressure to hurry market and use research study brings threat. We ’ ll deal 4 useful strategies to reduce this danger and produce styles that much better serve consumers and the business: context over benefit, compromise, much better style choices, style decrease. Finest Picks From Our Newsletter.

We ’ ll be truthful: Every 2nd week, we deal with keeping the Smashing Newsletter concerns at a moderate length– there are so lots of skilled folks out there dealing with fantastic jobs! Congratulations to everybody included!

Interested in sponsoring? Feeltotally free to have a look at our collaboration alternatives and contact us with the group anytime– they ’ ll make certain to return to you immediately.


P.S. A big thank you to Cosima Mielke for composing and preparing these posts!

. Developing Accessible Color Palettes.

Findingtising@smashingmagazine.comthe ideal tint or shade of a color is not — just’a matter of taste however likewise ease of access. , if color contrast is lackingDoing not have a product item, in the worst case, even become end up being for people individuals vision impairmentsProblems An extremely in-depth contrast checker to assist you find prospective mistakes ahead of time originates from Gianluca Gini: Geenes .


The tool lets you play with shade varieties and saturation and use the color combinations to among 3 selectable UI mockups. As soon as used, you can set offvarious type of vision problems to see how afflicted individuals see the colors and, lastly, make a notified choice on the very best tones for your combination. To utilize the colors right now, simply copy and paste their code or export them to Sketch.

. Command Line Love.

It ’ s not unusual for technical paperwork to be dry and feel challenging, particularly for individuals who are simply beginning with a brand-new tool. That can get rather discouraging specifically when a handbook is challenging to follow or check out, or the descriptions are verbose and do not have examples.

.  Dash Dash

Dash takes the Unix( Linux, BSD, macOS) open source manual pages and sets the material in a lovely type and design. It offers not just descriptions of all commands, however likewise search, examples and TL; DR areas. The Art of Command Line takes you on a journey to Command Line from fundamentals to system debugging.


And if you are up for sophisticated command line methods, cmdchallenge triggers you to fix jobs with a single line of celebration. (vf )

. Available Component Libraries.

While a number of the element libraries we develop are attempting to cover all the normal suspects( the accordions, the tables, the carousels, the drop-downs, in addition to typography, colors and box shadows ), No Style Design System by Adam Silver is focused mainly around ease of access and web kinds.

.  Accessible Component Libraries

As a system produced for and utilized in his book on Form Design Patterns , Adam ’ s library offers a set of available elements for whatever from autocomplete, checkboxes and password expose to radios, choose boxes and steppers. The majority of them have a very little CSS styling with tidy, available markup. And if you require somewhat advanced parts, Heydon Pickering ’ s Inclusive Components has actually got your back: with extensive tutorials on available cards, information tables, notices, sliders, tabbed inerfaces, toggles, menus and tooltips.( vf)

. Custom-made CSS Cascades.

Miriam Suzanne constructed a demonstration to highlight a extremely smart method to specify a waterfall of custom-made residential or commercial properties . One that enables you to figure out which intent needs to take top priority, without fretting about the uniqueness of how the worth is specified.


See the Pen [Custom-made Cascades]( )by Miriam Suzanne .

. See the Pen Custom Cascades by Miriam Suzanne .

Miriam demonstrates how it operates at the example of a button. Due to how the waterfall is set up, the default button is constantly falling back to– btn-bg– default. Including thehandicapped quality, constantly bypasses any other button colors, no matter where they are specified, and, when brand-new button types are produced,– btn-bg– type makes sure that just the defaults are bypassed however not the state. The technique likewise lets you set these worths contextually. A wise service to prevent the normal threats that highly-specified inline designs generally bring along.

. Front-End Bookmarks.

Some of us conserveall the beneficial short articles and talks they discover in one ever-growing bookmark folder (which can make discovering what you ’ re searching for rather a difficulty sometimes), others have a more orderly technique. Like Manuel Matuzovi ć.

.  Front-End Bookmarks

Manuel gathers posts and speak about HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on his website Front-End Bookmarks , organized alphabetically by aspects, characteristics, homes, expressions, techniques, and selectors. No matter if you ’ re searching for info on how to properly utilize aria-labelledby or what the:: marker pseudo-elementćis everything about, opportunities are great that Manuel currently assembled handy resources on the subject. By the method, if you feel that a resource is missing out on in the collection, put on ’ t be reluctant to add to it on GitHub .

. GitHub Tips And Tricks.

Do you understand how to immediately squash devotes on GitHub when combining pull demands? Or how to open a repo in the internet browser utilizing GitHub CLI? If not, Joe Previte ’ s collection of GitHub techniques and suggestions may be for you.

.  GitHub Tips And Tricks

In bite-sized videos, Joe shares effective however little ideas to take your GitHub workflow to the next level. And for those of you who choose to discover by reading, a lot of pointers are likewise offered as brief post. Convenient little timesavers.

. The Sound Of Colleagues.

Working from’house can have some genuine benefits over working from a workplace, however let ’ s be sincere, it can be a rather lonesome experience, too, when there are nocoworkers around. If you feel your office is getting too peaceful and you require some bustle in the background to remain focused, The Sound of Colleagues has actually got your back.

.  The Sound Of Colleagues

The Sound of Colleagues lets you blend workplace soundsto produce your custom-made workplaceambient sound. Individuals typing and talking, phones calling, the coffee device, the printer– all of these little things amount to bring a little workplace sensation to your house. Possibly it ’ ll even assist you improve your efficiency, who understands?

. A Minimalist And Modern Media Player Library.

If you wish to embed a media gamer on your website, Vime may be worth taking a more detailedtake a look at. Constructed around the concept that you manage the gamer, not the other method around, the open-source library supplies an alternative to Videojs and Plyr and supports HTML5, HLS, Dash, YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion.

.  Vime

Vime does not — just shine with a minimalist, smooth appearance, however it is responsive, available, modular, and light-weight, too. It manages with no external reliances and comesin various plans customized to various requirementsso that you can choose simply what ’ s needed for your usage case. And considering that minimalist doesn ’ t suggest dull, Vime is supported by a plugin system that uses a great deal of space for modification– believe customized controls, settings, tooltips, and more. The last 2 variations of all contemporary web browsers in addition to IE11 are supported.

With Smashing Newsletter, it constantly seems like house. A feline with slippers checking out the newsletter edition. . Smashing Newsletter.

Every 2nd Tuesday, we send out a newsletter with helpful methods on front-end and UX. Subscribe and get Smart Interface Design Checklists PDF in your inbox.

. Your( smashing) e-mail. Subscribe →. UX, style and front-end. Sent 2 × a month. You can constantlyunsubscribe with simply one click.  Smashing Editorial( cm, vf, ra).

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Welcome to the Future of Work

The future of work was expected to be something that was constantly coming however never ever got here. Idea professionals and leaders would speak about the ‘‘ future of work – ’ as an idea– absolutely nothing more than a gadget to assist us much better prepare to jump into the next chapter of our life and organisation. And yet in March of 2020, with what appears like little caution, the future of work got here, right away altering the video game for millions over night. With self-isolation and physical distancing standards setup throughout America and all over the world, workplace doors have actually been locked, and the 2017 video of the BBC father whose child notoriously marched into the frame is now more relatable than ever.

Well, we’’ ve lastly handled to shave a long time off the early morning commute, which now includes strolling from our cooking area to the when ignored extra bedroom/storage closet/home workplace. With diversions are plentiful, be it kids, household, or your attention-seeking dachshund, we’’ ve all needed to change. Apptopia reported that Zoom now has 15.3 million day-to-day users (about two times the population of LA, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas and Phoenix, integrated). This almost quintuples the variety of users on the platform this time in 2015. Video chat is increasing and in-person connection falling off a high cliff, like Mufasa in Lion King.

Here’’ s what the last couple of weeks have actually taught us about the office of tomorrow:

.1. Work is determined by outcomes, not time.

Gone are the days of the 9 to 5 work environment. Consider the single mommy that is dressing, feeding, and arranging her kids, while attempting to look after herself and her work. Among her kids isn’’ t getting the mathematics idea and she has actually simply leapt in to assist. The soup on the range is boiling over and she’’ s no place near the computer system at 11:30 AM. After a busy day, she’’ s got the kids to bed and the last load of laundry in prior to heading back to the computer system to complete the report prior to the virtual conference tomorrow early morning. It didn’’ t matter whether the work got done at 2:00 PM or 10:00 PM, it simply mattered that it got done, and was succeeded.

 future of work

.2. Construct trust by keeping track of development.

If a worker is dealing with a report in self-isolation and no one is around to witness it, did it even take place? Yes, much like the tree in the forest it made a noise and you simply missed it. With a great deal of working experts now required to be working from house, routine group gathers and check-in calls can assist leaders track development and more notably assist staff members feel acknowledged and valued. No one likes a helicopter supervisor, however when it concerns keeping a remote group empowered keep in mind the 3 A’’ s: Be conscious, friendly and readily available. Without these, it’’ s hard to track tasks and preserve relationships. In order to continue developing trust, concentrate on tracking development. The work environment of tomorrow will see remote work as a typical practice, not an exception, and will have the ability to keep track of development and develop trust as an outcome.

.3. Work life combination will be much more popular.

Are they using trousers? We’’d like to believe so however can’’ t be’too sure. What we ’ re recognizing is that individuals are individuals and the concept of excellence is gone. Excellent riddance. The previous weeks have actually required us to take our masks of excellence off. Without time to get ready for the shift from workplace to house, we’’ ve all seen untidy houses and houses, kids running around in the background, unidentifiable sounds that are forgiving however annoying, and the odd stain on a t-shirt. The forgivingness we’’ re seeing today will assist form the work environment of tomorrow and permit individuals to do their finest when they can, nevertheless they can. Work and life will be even more combined due to the fact that of this. On our group calls, we’’ ll be presented to animals, kids, and loved ones bringing a lot more humankind to the brand-new workplace. This much better understanding of each other’’ s lives will end up being a structure for even much better compassion and neighborhood being constructed in the future as we won’’ t simply be the specialists we are; we’’ ll be a member of a household, owner of a family pet, and a human.

 how to keep remote staff members engaged

.4. Virtual conferences and conferences will increase.

Finally, we’’ ll see that since more individuals have the ability to work from another location, flexibly, and by themselves time, that virtual occasions and connection with individuals will be valued more than we’’ ve seen prior to. We’’ ll see a range of smaller sized virtual group occasions, interdepartmental conferences, and market expos contributed to calendars. This development in the virtual occasions sector will enable individuals the chance to link and connect with individuals they ’ ve been dealing with regularly, share finest practices, and reinforce relationships. These virtual occasions will be partly academic, however mainly a chance to commemorate, link, and share.


If there is something we ’ ve gained from the previous couple of weeks, it is’that these unmatched times have actually accelerated what we believed the future of work was going to appear like. We ’ ve found out that we can rely on individuals, that they can get their’work done from anywhere, which in-person connection and neighborhood is yearned for. If something is clear, it ’ s that we ’ re well on our method to a more lively, inclusive’and linked office culture.


To find out more about my ideas on the future of work, take a look at my webinar recording, “ The Evolution of Connection and Need for Belonging . ”


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How To Design Mobile Apps For One-Hand Usage

How To Design Mobile Apps For One-Hand Usage

How To Design Mobile Apps For One-Hand Usage

Maitrik Kataria


On Friday, January 2007 the world shrank into our palms as three revolutionary products — the iPod, a phone, and a breakthrough internet communicator — were unified to create the smartphones we know and love today.

Steve Jobs on One-Handed UX

The first iPhone introduced in 2007 marked the fall of Qwerty keypad and stylus. (Large preview)

iPhone was built to be comfortably used for one-handed operation, allowing for a smoother thumb movement across the screen.

Steve Jobs once said that the 3.5-inch screen is the “perfect size for consumers” and that larger screens are foolish.

Smartphone Shipments Worldwide by Screen Size from 2015 to 2021

(Large preview)

But it wasn’t until the turn of the last decade that phablets gained popularity owing to their bigger screens, so much so that less than 1% devices sold today had smaller than 4-inch screens.

90% of the smartphones sold today have bigger than 5-inch displays.

In the meantime, this goldrush for bigger-the-better presented app makers and designers with opportunities to utilize the screen real estate to serve more content and functions.

For instance, the CNN App was among the few who got early access to iPhone 5 introduced in 2012. The developers not only gave it an aesthetic transformation but also designed a reader-friendly, visually-appealing experience that made headlines stand out.

Evolution of Thumb Zone in UX UI Design

Adapted from Phil Schiller’s keynote at Apple’s Special Event 2012. (Large preview)

With Bigger Screens, The Ease Of Access And Reachability Suffer

While bigger screens are great for showing more content, the #1 design consideration of Steve Jobs for making 3.5-inch phones suffers — designing for one-handed usage.

In his 2-month-long research — at airports, streets, cafes, on buses and trains — Steven Hoober shed light on the three ways users hold their phones.

How People Hold and Interact with Mobile Phones

(Large preview)

49% of users hold their phones with one-hand specifically while they are on the go.

Making a strong case for designing apps for one-handed usage. Steven also found that users frequently alter their grip based on their comfort and situation.

Why Designing For One-Handed Usage Should Become The Top Priority For App Makers

We use our phones a great deal when we are preoccupied or in a hurry. This greatly impacts how users hold their phones and how they use the apps resulting in a lot more of one-handed-usage than the 49% number suggested above.

Research suggests that an average user checks their phones for as many as 58 times a day out of which 70% of mobile interaction lasts less than 2 minutes.

We use our phones in “distracted short-burst usage”.

Image Credit: Rescue Time. (Large preview)

A team of researchers at Simform observed usage and behavior of short-burst sporadic usage in multiple scenarios such as:

When Users Use Mobile Apps

Example cases of short-burst usage (Large preview)

Google’s Product Director, Luke Wrobleski, terms these short bursts as ‘one thumb, one eyeball’ mobile-usage experience. It reflects how a distracting environment forces users to engage in single-handed usage within short spans of partial attention. He further adds that the most optimal type of smartphone usage with a single hand is one where quick interaction is supported by smooth functionality.

How To Design For Keeping These One-Handed Short-Burst Usages In Mind?

The answer is rather simple. Do continuous usability testing and study different ways your users hold their phones in various situations.

If the users of your app tend to use the app a lot in distracting scenarios, then you should focus on designing patterns that target reachability and one-handed use.

Two Methods of Holding a Touchscreen Phone with One Hand

(Large preview)

Let’s take a look at the evolution of Spotify’s interface to get a perspective of the problem:

Thumb Zone for Mobile Hamburger Menu UI

Spotify’s Old Navigation — Hamburger Menu. (Large preview)

Spotify used the Hamburger Menu at the top-left which concealed these features and set the users on a treasure hunt of sorts. With the advent of bigger screens, however, another design challenge was added to the list — reachability.

Thumb Zone for Mobile Hamburger Menu UI

Spotify — A certain level of difficulty and discomfort was experienced as users tried to communicate with the app. (Large preview)

This compelled Spotify’s team to pull down the Hamburger Menu in 2016 and lay its core features — Home, Browse, Search, Radio, and Library — at the bottom that resulted in an increase of 9% clicks in general and 30% on menu items.

Use Established UX Patterns For Common App Usage Scenarios To Make One-Handed Usage Easy

Why reinvent the wheel? When you can use proven UX patterns that work. Many designers have already focused on one-handed usage as their designing principle.

We have gone through hundreds of apps and thousands of patterns to find the best patterns one-handed usage in mind. So let’s look at what works, what problems are solved, and what benefits you will get out of these.

We divide the most common user behaviors and UX patterns in six categories:

Navigation UX Patternse.g. menu bars, tab bars, and, gestures for easily moving between the most important sections of the app;
Designing For ActionsCreating, editing, posting, adding, removing, and other actions users take to utilize the core functionality of the app;
Shopping, Transactional And Checkout Flow Design Patterns
Searching, Sorting, And Filtering Patterns for when users want to quickly find or browse content;
Input And Interaction PatternsSliders, pickers, selectors, dropdowns, form fills, zooming, scrolling that make up the building blocks of any app;
Miscellaneous PatternsMedia playback, photo capture, photo editing, and map navigational patterns.

1. Designing App Navigation Keeping ‘One-Handed Usage’ In Mind

What Is It?

The foundation of a great app is a good navigation design. Good navigation helps users discover the features faster and find what’s important to them.

70% of users discover features of the app using navigation links compared to search or other ways. Navigation bars, menus, gestures, links, tabs, etc are the most common navigation UX patterns.

A good navigation design should have all the important sections right upfront and easily accessible.


Common UX patterns like Apple’s tab bar and Google’s swipeable menu have limitations. You can put only a limited number of features in the tab bar and to access all of the swipeable menu items is not easy.

Users shouldn’t have to struggle to reach an important part of the app by stretching to the top of the screen. That’s just bad usability. Specifically, if the users are on-the-go and are using the app in a short burst.


Facebook and many other apps solve this challenge by putting items in a tab icon called More or Menu from where users can access more features and sections of the app. This, however, is not ideal for reachability and one-handed use.

Use the flyout menu instead of a full-page menu for reachability and fitting in more than 5 items.
Expanded tab bar for when you have more content.
Personalized tab bar for power users to quickly access what they like.
Use gestures to imbibe ease-of-access in users’ habits.
Getting back and closing a page should be easy as well.
Quickly jumping to a section of the page with smart UX patterns

Facebook, for instance, conceals numerous features in a Hamburger Menu that declutters the main screen. Although this inclusion has a cleaner and more organized appeal, users suffer from one-handed reachability.

1.1 What makes the Hamburger Menu a REAL Problem?

Use Flyout Menu Instead Of A Full-Page Menu For Reachability

Thankfully, we have a way to resolve this challenge —

Full-page menus can be replaced with flyout menus, which like the name suggests ‘fly-out’ from the bottom. This allows for easier access to the options even with one hand.

1.2 Mobile UX Patterns for Flyout Menu Designs (Video Credit: Joox)

Expand The Tab Bar For When You Have More Content

Human Interface Guidelines recommend having no more than 5 features in the bottom navigation bar. This makes it tricky for app builders to present additional core functionalities at the forefront.

This is where the ‘More’ option (3 dots) comes in handy. Located at the bottom bar, it can conceal other functionalities and reveal them with a click.

1.3 Designing Bottom Navigation Bar with Expandable More Options.

Personalized Tab Bar For Power Users To Quickly Access What They Like

Every user is different and a feature that is important for one user may not be that important for the other. To make the most of your app, you can allow users to customize their tab bars with frequently used functionalities.

1.4 Personalized Bottom Tab Bar for Quick Feature-Accessibility.

Gestures Are Easy To Imbibe In Users’ Habits For Quick Navigation

Popularised by Tinder, Gesture-based navigation is a great technique to facilitate single-handed usage. Gestures if smartly used can help expand navigation for one-handed use.

1.5 Gesture-based Navigation to Access App Features.

From Designing “Getting To” To “Getting Back” Using Gestures And Accessibility

Navigation isn’t only about getting to a screen or section of the app. It is important to design for — going back to where the user came from, closing a screen, or jumping to a section on a page! Let’s look at how apps use gestures and UX patterns to do those things easily.

1.6 Using Gestures to Navigate Through Multiple Screens (Video Credit: Zenly)

Patterns For Quickly Jumping To Different Sections Of The App

Apps with many categories, subcategories, and sections such as books, wiki, restaurant menus, products may need more organization to ensure users don’t struggle with finding content.

These can be organized in a hierarchy and using UX patterns to increase accessibility and ease of use.

1.7 Floating Tab Bars and Gestures to Jump Between Sections.

2. One-Handed Patterns For Core Actions Like — Creating, Editing, Posting, Adding, Deleting And Others

What Is It?

Users spend about 50% of their mobile phone time in self-expression, social interaction, online shopping, managing finances, health and productivity, and planning upcoming events. These action-driven UX patterns include things like creating social posts, editing documents, editing, a few others.


When designing action-driven apps, we have to ensure they don’t take the backseat. Like, having a post or creating a button at the top instead of right next to your thumb.


There are three things to keep in mind when designing the user experience of these core actions.

Core actions should grab users’ attention by the prominent placement of the icon or button. Don’t put them at the top right corner of the app where they can get buried. It should be easily reachable without needing to use second hand or overreaching.
On top of that, users should be able to finish the entire creation and addition task flow with one hand. This includes things like canceling the task, typing with keyboard opening up, moving to the next step and so on.
Designing for complex editing tasks with multi-level edit menus and controls.
With reachability as a goal, you can make sharing and sending things easy and simple too.

The Button Or Icon For The Core Task Of The App Should Draw Users In

Apps’ core tasks center around things like capturing images, creating a post, adding files, sharing, etc. It becomes necessary to have users focus on these first and make it — reachable and discoverable.

For instance, Snapchat hides everything and only incentivizes users to capture photos and videos. Also, the ‘Send’ button immediately asks users to share their stories with others.

2.1 Making Core Tasks Easily Reachable with Gestures, Flyout Menus, and Floating Tab Bars.

Breaking Up Complex Editing Tasks With Menus And Controls Designed Specifically For Mobile

For many users, mobile phones are the most used computing devices. There is a generation of users who get real work done on their mobile phones. For example, document editing is no longer a computer-only affair since a host of mobile apps offer the service.

Microsoft Word and WPS Office offer a host of editing tools and multi-level menus within thumb’s reach. These intuitive menu systems are smart and powerful allowing users to do complex operations and multiple choices.

2.2 Placing Editing Tools on the Bottom Half of the Screen for Quicker Modifications.

With Reachability As A Goal, You Can Make Sharing And Sending Things Easy And Simple Too

What amplifies our experience with our favorite music these days is the super-quick shareability options for social media, often just a click away.

You can employ a share extension that slides up from the bottom and allows users to directly type messages.

2.3 UX Patterns for Single-handed Sharing of Photos, Videos, Music, and More.

Divide Creating Or Adding Tasks Into Multiple Steps

Creating boards, favorites, and wish lists can be a drag, especially when they are placed at the top extremes. Let’s look at the patterns that handle multi-step data inputs.

Flipboard and Airbnb keep everything at the bottom and within the reach of the thumb. From typing to selecting the next steps or canceling the action is very simple.

2.4 Placing ‘Create’ and ‘Add’ Icons within the Reach of the Thumb for Smooth One-handed Usage.

3. Designing Faster Checkout And Transactional Experiences For When You Are On-The-Go

What Is It?

According to Kaspersky Cybersecurity Index, 50% of eCommerce sales happen on mobile phones. Add to that commercial transaction like booking a ride, flight, hotel room, movie tickets, and concert tickets and you realize how important designing mobile checkout experience is. A report by Baymard Institute suggested that 23% of shoppers who abandon their cart abandon it because of the complicated checkout process. This is specifically true for mobile shoppers for whom checkout is a multi-step process where inputting data is not as easy.


The checkout process requires many inputs and careful attention from users.

Designing a one-handed checkout experience would mean users can complete the transaction with minimal thumb movement and fewer steps.
This is especially very important for users who are on the move or need to do the transaction immediately.


To design a one-handed checkout experience we have to minimize the information required from the users.

When choosing product variations like size, color, time/date and others, they should be easily accessible and discoverable.
We can use applications like Google and Apple wallet or autofill from things like Keychain, 1password, and LastPass to fill the information like names, credit cards, addresses, One-time-passwords.
We also must emphasize the simple and minimal thumb movements from the users.

Adding Items To Carts And Choosing Product Preferences At Thumb’s Reach

The logistics of shopping online can be simplified within three steps — adding items to carts, picking product variations, and completing the payment process.

As designers, it becomes essential for us to not only make these selections noticeable but also to place them within the reach of a thumb.

One way to achieve this goal is to display product variations in a tray that slides up when the user chooses an item.

Another way is to allow users to scroll through the page and quickly select variations of a product while the option to ‘Place the Order’ or ‘Buy’ stays static at the bottom.

3.1 Smooth Payment Checkout Flow With Options to Add Items and Choose Product Variations.

3.1 Adding Items to Cart for e-Commerce on On-Demand Delivery Apps. Video Credits: Shopping Choose | WE+AR TRBL | Tasty Hamburger App

Using e-Wallets And Password Managers For Swift Payment

The Payment Methods Report 2019 suggests that over 71% of online transactions are carried out via e-Wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, Fitbit, Samsung Pay, YandexMoney, and others. These wallets are not only deemed to be faster but are also much safer and easier to access.

The checkout process can be made more efficient and straightforward. What’s more, you can also add a swipe-to-pay option for higher conversions.

3.2 UX Patterns for Payment Checkouts for e-Commerce Mobile Apps.

3.2 UX Patterns for Payment Checkouts for e-Commerce Mobile Apps. (Video Credits: SPACED Challenge (Travel + VR) | Checkout Promocode | Gamification Checkout)

4. Searching, Filtering, And Sorting Content With Reachability As The Main Goal

What Is It?

Without the right UX, finding just the right products or items can be a tedious challenge for the user. Searching, filtering, and sorting tools determine how easy or difficult it is for the user to browse the site’s product and item catalog.

Filters are a great tool to narrow down high volumes of content and to find the most relevant results.

In theory, they are different: sorting organizes the content according to a certain parameter, filtering removes it from view.

During Baymard’s Product Listings & Filtering study, it was observed that sites with an average product list usability saw abandonment rates of 67–90%. What’s more, there was about 17–33% abandonments from users trying to find the exact same types of product from e-Commerce sites with a slightly tweaked toolset. This resulted in approximately 4X increase in leads.


Searching on mobile should be easily accessible. For example, Youtube, Amazon Prime, Slack, Google Maps make it difficult for users to reach the search menu by having them reach the top right corner.
Organizing the information hierarchy of filters as there are too many parameters and categories so that users can find what they are looking for quickly.
Manage multi-level information in UI especially when there are many categories and each category has many items.
Changing UI based on different states like “Filter is applied” and what “Filters are applied”.
All this should be accomplished by users in the reach of users’ thumb.


Use gestures or easily accessible buttons for search. When users go to the search screen give suggestions as well as open the text box immediately.
Speak the language of the users and keep users intent in mind when organizing filters. Keep the filters/sorting button near the reach of users. Also, make accessing and closing the filters menu with one hand.
To solve information complexity use either a two-step filtering control or side by side filtering control.
Apply filters immediately. Make filters interactive based on actions users take. Allow users to choose multiple options. Change filter categories to match applied filters.
Show recommendations, recently used or most frequently used information first.

For many apps, Search is one of the top 5 features used. But many app designers make reaching the search icon difficult. See the comparison below for Apple Maps vs Google Maps and Netflix vs Youtube.

UX Search Patterns for Apple Maps and Google Maps

Comparing Search Bar Reachability – Apple Maps vs Google Maps. (Large preview)

UX Search Patterns for Netflix and YouTube

Comparing Search Bar Reachability – Netflix vs YouTube. (Large preview)

Some apps use the search screen as a content discovery screen. They recommend users what they’d like, what they searched before, what’s trending and so on.

4.1 Creating a Search Page for Users to Discover Content. (Large preview)

Remove Friction And Impending Steps From Searching And Filtering

To make things really quick for users, we can make it so that when they tap on the search icon on the tab bar the keyboard immediately pops up so that users can start typing their queries immediately. See the examples of Netflix and SpotHero.

Many apps like Amazon or Google Drive use the search bar prominently at the top of the home page. In such cases, we can use gestures (swipe down) like the Inshorts app to immediately start typing instead of having to reach the top and tap on the search bar.

4.2 Searching and Filtering Made Thumb-friendly.

Double-Tap On The Search Icon To Pull Up The Keyboard

If you want to use your search page to show information to users then you can also use double-tap to pull up the keyboard like Microsoft News, Spotify, and Reddit Apollo.

4.3 Accessing Keyboard Made Easy with a Double-tap on ‘Search’ Icon.

Thumb Reachable Filter Menu Should Let Users Find Information Faster

Online shopping, booking, on-demand and other apps alike can contain a laundry list of items for users to choose from.

The biggest consideration for designing a filtering menu for small devices is the information hierarchy. Let’s look at these examples to understand how filtering and sorting can be designed when options are aplenty. These show how you can handle information complexity without letting one-handed usage suffer.

Also, filters should be responsive and reactive to users’ choices and indicate when filters are applied.

To make this process more responsive, search results can be filtered in the background simultaneously as users select the choices.

4.4 Sorting and Filtering Items on e-Commerce and On-Demand Delivery Mobile Apps.

4.4 Sorting and Filtering Items on e-Commerce and On-Demand Delivery Mobile Apps. Video Credit: Filters | Car Sharing with Friends.

5. User Input Controls Such As Forms, Pickers, Selectors, Dropdowns, Sliders That Make Up The Building Blocks Of An App

What Is It?

With smaller screens comes smaller real estate. Fundamental user interactions have to be reimagined in order to increase the productivity of mobile users.

Things like filling up forms, typing up the password, choosing date/time, making a selection, popovers had to translate well to touch interface without abandoning the metaphors of PCs.


Inputting data on mobile devices is tedious, especially when there are a number of data fields to be filled.

Translating user interactions to smaller devices is not easy. The biggest challenges are:

Speed of user input should be very fast with minimal movement of users’ thumb.
Information should be gathered in a minimal number of steps.
The input control design should have an easily understood interface and metaphor.
The experience should be delightful and consistent.
Users must know their location and information must not be lost.

When done correctly, adding inputs in trackers, calendars, and others alike could become a short task.


Any user action like filling up forms or making choices should be closer to the bottom. The flow of actions and choices should be consistent without any jarring UI changes.
Information needed to move ahead should be in thumb’s reach.
Data input options including notifications should be clear and near to the bottom.
Bigger forms can be divided into multi-step and multi-screen forms. This multi-screen approach should have going forward and going back very easily.

Fixing Filling Up Forms Starting With Sign-Up Forms

We all hate filling up sign up forms. They are time-consuming and ask for unnecessary information.

Filling up forms can be less laborious by turning a lengthy form into multiple screens. Using things like auto-fill, thumb reachable buttons for next and previous steps, continuous keyboard presence, and no scrolling makes this approach faster and easier.

5.1 Best Practices for Multi-Screen Onboarding Flows (Video Credit: Zenly & AirBnB)

Get Quick Input From Users With Minimal Thumb Movement

Positioning the user-input controls towards the bottom of the screen allows for quicker data entry and prompt call-to-action responses.

Use pickers, dropdowns, scrollers, and sliders to supply information to users.

5.2 One-handed User Input Controls for Accurate Form Filling (Video Credit: Periscope)

Smart Mobile Patterns For User Input Controls

Let’s look at some more patterns that make getting input from users easier.

5.3 One-handed User Input Controls for Mobile App Forms (Video Credit: Peach | Zova Workout & Fitness | Square Order)

6. Miscellaneous Patterns For Media Playback, Photo Capture, Photo Editing, And Map Navigation Patterns

With over 2 million apps on Google Store and 1.83 million apps on the App Store, it has become imperative for designers to make their apps stand out. One way to do this is to make common functions fun and smooth for users, and this final section is a round-up of miscellaneous user interactions.

6.1 Forget Pinching; These Apps Lets Users Zoom In and Out with One Thumb.

6.1 Whether it’s Selecting Emojis, Sending Images, or Listening to Audio Clips, Gestures Can Add Ease such App Interactions.

6.1 Whether it’s Selecting Emojis, Sending Images, or Listening to Audio Clips, Gestures Can Add Ease such App Interactions (Video Credit: Composer Concept | Gamification + Checkout)


Although reachability is a big part of it designing for one-handed usage, it is not just about ensuring everything close to users’ reach. Apps that have good one-handed use also save the time of users, remove friction, take out unnecessary steps, and most importantly focus on quickening the “distracted short burst usage” of apps.

We looked at many patterns that designers can use to solve different UX challenges. For more, you can check these websites to find patterns that help you design for one-handed use.

Smashing Editorial
(cc, yk, il)

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