Tracy Osborn

is an outdoorsy designer, developer, author, and entreprenerd living in Toronto, Ontario.


Recent Writing

  • Hello Web Design is here!

    My third book on beginner web design fundamentals and shortcuts, Hello Web Design, was released today! You can buy it in three formats: Videos, paperback, or as an eBook.

  • Overview and lessons learned from running my third Kickstarter campaign

    My Kickstarter campaign for my third book, Hello Web Design, wrapped up about a month ago, raising $22,362. Not bad! This is my third Kickstarter (previously: Hello Web App, Hello Web App: Intermediate Concepts) and over the last few years, ...

  • On conference proposal rejections

    In 2016, I spoke at 17 conferences across the US, Canada, and Europe. It was the first year I’ve had any sort of success with conference proposals — a combination of a few language-agnostic talks that I could submit to ...

  • Design for non-designers (part 3)

    Part 1 of this design series dealt with the visual design, and Part 2 delved into user experience, content, and testing. Here, we’re going to jump into a bit about theory and reassurances that will help you become a better ...

  • Design for non-designers (part 2)

    Part 1 of this article series focused on the visual (since that’s usually what folks are looking for help with when it comes to design), but it’s important to remember that usability trumps beauty. The most gorgeous website in the ...

  • Learning design vs. becoming a designer

    One of the criticism's of the Hello Web Design book is whether teaching folks how to design will take away work from professional designers. As a "real" designer (degree in Art & Design from Cal Poly SLO, and building websites ...

  • Design for non-designers (part 1)

    Even if you’re not a designer, I’d bet that at some point in your career you’ll need to do something visual, whether it’s making a landing page for your project, designing a form, creating your personal website, or making slides. ...

  • Fundraising and taking pre-orders for my new book, Hello Web Design!

    For the last year, I've been traveling around the world giving my Design for Non-Designers talk. After working on Hello Web App, which teaches web app development to non-programmers, I wanted to start teaching design basics to non-designers. My talk ...

  • On hiring a virtual assistant (something I should have done years ago)

    I spent six years working on my business before hiring a virtual assistant and now I couldn't imagine life without her. Here's what I've learned.

  • 2016 reviewed

    Wow, what a year, right? I had a fairly good year. I thought a bit about not doing this post (mainly because I am still depressed over the state of the world right now) but I'm guessing getting into writing ...

  • Two companies that I appreciate

    Two recent experiences with two companies lately made me realize that I often forget something more important — that I should write about my positive experiences. It's so easy to complain about the negative but harder to realize and appreciate ...

  • Five tips for improving your technical writing and documentation.

    If you’re working on the web, at some point you’re going to need to write — even if you’re a designer, a developer, a programmer, a not-writer. For example, almost everyone needs to write technical documentation (such as your README, ...

  • Five tips for improving your technical writing and documentation

    Get more users and fewer support requests by leveling up your writing and technical documentation.

  • Calculating your Stripe monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

    I love Stripe (the customer payment solution I advocate using in Hello Web App: Intermediate Concepts), but I wish the Stripe's dashboard came with a bit more information about the state of your project and revenue.

  • How to set up a contact form with Django

    In this walkthrough, we're going to build something relatively easy: a simple contact form where your users can enter their name, email address, and message, and your website will email you the message (with the user's email as the reply-to.)

  • Economics of self-publishing a book via Kickstarter: Hello Web App's story

    About a year ago, I ran a Kickstarter for Hello Web App — and now that the book has officially launched, I thought it would be useful to run down how much money the Kickstarter raised and where it went! ...

  • Setting up Django's password change functionality

    In the original Hello Web App book, I walk you through the process of setting up your registration and login pages so user's can join and log into your new app. We also set up the password reset views on ...

  • Case study: Hello Web App

    In 2011, I taught myself how to code Python and Django to launch my startup, WeddingLovely. I got something working, but over the years of working with Python and Django, I became more and more frustrated about how programming in ...

  • Case study: WeddingLovely

    I'm moving to Toronto and looking for a job (!) and thought I'd deep dive into my two main projects to showcase my work. WeddingLovely is an online wedding vendor marketplace and wedding planning application, started in January 2011 by ...

  • Moving to Toronto + looking for new opportunities

    After six (!) years of working full-time on WeddingLovely in California, my husband and I are moving to Toronto and I'm exploring the possibilities of working on something new. I've been so lucky to work for myself for so long. ...

  • My 2015 reviewed

    Funny how you can sit down on December 31st and feel like you did nothing the whole year... and yet it was the busiest one yet.

  • How I run a bootstrapped marketplace with eleven different properties and 5,000 vendors — by myself.

    I launched WeddingLovely, my startup, nearly five years ago. WeddingLovely, in a nutshell, is a free online wedding planning guide and wedding vendor marketplace. My goal is to walk couples through their wedding planning in a simple and sane way, ...

  • I self-published a learn-to-code book and made nearly $5,000 in pre-orders

    On May 4th, my book Hello Web App was released. Since then, hundreds of people used it to learn how to build web apps using Python and Django. Today I share a breakdown of all my sales numbers across all ...

  • I self-published a learn-to-code book and made nearly $5,000 in pre-orders

    On May 4th, my book Hello Web App was released. Since then, hundreds of people used it to learn how to build web apps using Python and Django. Today I share a breakdown of all my sales numbers across all ...

  • What I wish I did differently: self-promotion

    A little different than self-deprecation (downplaying achievements), I'm also terrible at self-promotion (even mentioning what I'm doing and excited about.) I'm running into that now with Hello Web App, the book I'm working on (woo, self promotion!) Ideally, I would ...

  • What I wish I did differently: self-deprecation

    The focus of this post is a little funny since these last few posts have been quite an exercise in self-deprecation and not being positive — going over my perceived failures and things I wish I could change. In hindsight, ...

  • What I wish I did differently: networking

    I launched my startup a little over four years ago, and as always, when looking back, it’s easy to pick out my mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20. But it’s also valuable to make note of places that I wish I did ...

  • What I wish I did differently: blogging

    Some of the biggest wins in my life have been tied to blogging and writing down my experiences. For a long time, I known as the “Hacker News wedding person” after my articles about trying to find a cofounder and ...

  • Hello Web App's Kickstarter campaign: How I did it, what I regret.

    I recently released Hello Web App, my book teaching web app development with Python and Django aimed at designers and non-programmers. The year-long journey kicked off with a Kickstarter campaign in April 2014. The campaign went super successfully (as you ...

  • Creative storytelling: The most dangerous thing I've ever done

    I wrote about my experience hiking the John Muir Trail solo last summer (200+ miles) and getting myself into the most dangerous situation I've ever been in.

  • The most dangerous thing I’ve ever done.

    I lay ramrod straight as hail pelted the thin fabric of my ultralight tent, then jumped as a lightning bolt struck somewhere nearby. I didn’t know whether or not I was safe. As I was surrounded by metal poles, in ...

  • I'm a designer who learned Django and launched her first webapp in 6 weeks

    Hi — I'm Tracy. I'm a designer and front-end developer. After being turned down by Y Combinator, I decided to launch a simple webapp to get myself on the path of development.

  • Building beautiful business cards

    Cards from Moo.com are a great place to start to get nicely printed cards on thick, professional stock. You can order them with your information printed, but blank cards are a great jumping off point to create interesting and handmade ...

  • Keeping inspired at the right times

    Age old problem: When I am at work, and admittedly immersing myself in design blogs, top CSS sites, and other creative resources to keep the data part of my job interesting, I get inspired. I get really inspired. Heart rate ...

  • Speaking at Silicon Valley Geek Dinner

    Hey, it's my very first speaking engagement! Sadly, I'm not talking about anything REALLY awesome; I'll be expanding a bit on multivariate testing, the stuff I do at work and how it has worked for the sites I manage. I ...

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

  • 12/5/17

    Code Europe

    Krakow, Poland