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Article Archives

Interview

Kevin Dees interviewed me. We talked about all kinds of front-endy stuff, this site, and other fun stuff. (video) …

72 comments

Using Fonts for Icons…

...is a good idea, I'm telling you.

I've created this page to attempt to convince you. It shows examples and lists six reasons why it's a good idea and three common arguments against them (some of which I refute).

Don't need convincing? Here's big roundup of them

49 comments

Sharing

I just added "The Big Three" sharing buttons to articles on this site: Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook. I've shared my thoughts on sharing buttons like this in the past. I essentially decided that I didn't like them for this site. So before anybody skewers me for hypocrisy, I thought I'd go back through my old thoughts and refute myself.…

Vendor Prefixes, yadda yadda yadda, strong opinions

Henri Sivonen:

I think vendor prefixes are hurting the Web. They are hurting Web authors. They are hurting users of browsers. They are hurting competition in the Web browser space.

I'm tempted to raise my fist in disagreement, but you know what, I'm not an oracle. I can't know the future nor know how the world would have turned out if we never used vendor prefixes.

Here's a guess though: if we were to go back in time and influence …

8 comments

Five Questions with Tab Atkins

Tab Atkins (Twitter) is a member of the CSS working group and contributor to several other working groups in the W3C. He works for Google on the Google Chrome Team. Browsers and specs are the bones and blood of our industry so that makes Tab, uhm, a orthopedic surgeon, or something. I ask Tab about all that stuff, and more, below.…

113 comments

Yes/No Ipsum!

I've heard a number of people make statements lately like: "If you're using Lorem Ipsum text, just stop it." Or similar. That argument, expanded, goes something like this. Design exists to serve content. Lorem ipsum is fake content. If you're already designing, and you are using fake content, you are not serving the content and thus not doing your job as a designer correctly. …

The Future, Glassy?

Bret Victor:

Now, take out your favorite Magical And Revolutionary Technology Device. Use it for a bit.

What did you feel? Did it feel glassy? Did it have no connection whatsoever with the task you were performing?…

CSS3 Secrets

I bet there is a couple things in this slide deck from Lea Verou that you didn't know about CSS3.…

LiveReload

Mac users, this is really worth checking out. As you work on local projects, you have your HTML and CSS open in your text editor of choice, and the web page open in a browser. With LiveReload, as soon as you save files the changes appear in the browser (with CSS, it doesn't even need to reload the page). It also works with all the popular preprocessors and instantly compiles as you save. Might just change the way you work. …

jQuery 1.7 Released

You'll probably start seeing .on() and .off() on tutorial sites so just a heads up, that's new syntax for event binding in jQuery (although all the old methods still work too).…

25 comments

Columns and the Greatest Common Divisor

I was recently putting together some CSS for columns. There was a few pre-determined widths that the columns needed to accommodate. For whatever reason (maybe because every grid framework in the world is this way) my mind went right to trying to find a common building block size. All columns are either the size of one building block or a multiple of a building block with gutter widths added. …

34 comments

Five Questions with Lea Verou

Lea is a front end web developer from Greece. You have likely heard of her, as ever since she started blogging in English (read more about that below), she's had quite a boom in popularity. Or perhaps you've seen some of her work. She's created a number of one-page sites that either show off amazing things CSS can do or help you with a difficult/tedious task.

I asked Lea some questions about critical reaction to her work, the community in …

74 comments

A Call for ::nth-everything

We already have ::first-letter and ::first-line which are useful. Why not expand those out into a full set of selectors that follow the same pattern of the ::nth-child family? I attempt to make the case here.
86 comments

Centering in the Unknown

When it comes to centering things in web design, the more information you have about the element being centered and its parent element, the easier it is. So what if you don't know anything? It's still kinda doable.…

45 comments

Lots of Ipsum

There is just too many awesome Lorem Ipsum (placeholder) text generators going around lately not to round them up. …

19 comments

Results of Group Design Project on Rating Three Candy Bars

Last week I proposed a little design challenge: design a small part of an interface which allowed a user to rate three candy bars in order of how much they liked them. Quite a few folks took a stab at it. I'd like to round up what I feel were the best entries for discussion and then pick the "winners"…

HTML5 for Web Designers Website

The content of HTML5 for Web Designers, the first A Book Apart book by Jeremy Keith, is online. Under the hood, the title bar at the top of the page is actually the <title> element, unhidden and styled up. …

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What We Don’t Know

There is an awful lot we don't know about a user visiting our website. For example, almost everything. And we know less and less every day as the web gets bigger and its users more diverse. Let's accommodate those unknowns.
72 comments

Abbr’s for Web Nerd Acronyms

I'm really lazy about using <abbr></abbr> tags for acronyms. Most people who read a techy blog like this probably understand them, but surely there are some visitors who don't where a simple tooltip explanation would be beneficial. Maybe with this easy copy-and-paste resource to reference I'll actually start doing it. This is an education blog, after all.…

CSS Shaders

A bunch of crazy awesome affects you can apply via CSS through the filter property: blur, drop-shadow, gamma, grayscale, hue-rotate, invert, opacity, saturate, sepia, and sharpen. Adobe has been doing some great stuff with CSS lately. Their last amazing demo isn't just a demo anymore, it will be implemented in IE 10. Let's hope these make it into the spec and implemented as well.…

Dart

It's a new language the runs in the browser and servers. A lot of it is over my head, but I always celebrate new thinking especially when it has a bunch of smart people behind it. The obvious point is that, if it's a direct competitor to JavaScript, that JavaScript has far more browser support. I'm sure that fact isn't lost on the team.

Wasn't this the last Google-originated language? Did that go anywhere?…

62 comments

New Poll: Ideal Page Weight

What do you think is reasonable page size to try and stay under for a modern web design?
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New Poll: The Case of the Giant Background Image

Let's say you've designed a web page and it makes use of a full page background image. You really like the way the site looks with this background image. It looks amazing. But the image is 350k. You've decided that, while you know this is heavy, it's worth it.

But then you start thinking about mobile. …

17 comments

Making SublimeVideo Fluid Width

SublimeVideo is a nice HTML5 video polyfill service, but it hasn't allow for fluid width video. Until now.
38 comments

Writing Better HTML & CSS (Slides from FOWA London)

I'm just back from London where I spoke at the Future of Web Apps. My talk was titled, rather generically, Writing Better HTML & CSS. Slides pale in comparison to real talks, but I still like posting them in case there are some small useful bits: …

43 comments

Building a Starburst with CSS

If there's one thing I love most about what I do it's building out the challenges that a designer throws my way. There's almost always a way to reproduce a design in code, and I love figuring out how to get as close to the original design as possible with CSS.…

35 comments

Semantic Animation

Animations are inherently visual. But can we give a similar experience to everyone by getting a bit more semantic?

Amazon Silk

Listen to the engineers behind Amazon's new "Silk" web browser talk about how it uses the cloud to take the load off mobile devices.

Sounds like it does all the asset-requesting for you from the cloud, optimizes it, then sends you down one file that gets rendered into a website. Sounds clever to me, as long as it's secure as hell.

Rumor has it: WebKit based.…

Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS

Jonathan Snook has released an "evolving guide to CSS architecture for sites small and large." My favorite is the "Depth of Applicability" section:

Each rule set that we add to our style sheet creates an ever increasing connection between the CSS and the HTML.

Then goes on to advocate what I would call more gentle CSS selectors that provide more future freedom. …

27 comments

Better Linkable Tabs

Linking to specific tabs is often done with hash links. I think doing it with a URL parameter can accomplish the same goal without some of the problems that hash links can cause.

In Praise of the Forums

Jane Wells of Automattic lays out four reasons why someone may not use forums for a question they have. Then she disputes all four of them while sharing an example of where a forum post get a lot more done than just answers one dude's question.

The bigger the internet gets, the more valuable it is to make Q&A and customer support public.…

Sencha Looks at IE 10

Michael Mullany:

...the IE10 HTML5 experience is one of the best we’ve seen on any platform to date.

I've heard from a number of folks that IE 10 will be the most advanced browser to date (support the most standards and new features). We'll see if this stays true when it actually ships.

Notable: transitions, transforms (2D and 3D), animations, shadows, gradients, flexbox and SVG filters. …

28 comments

Radio Buttons with 2-Way Exclusivity

Let's say you were tasked with creating a UI in which users can rate three candy bars from their most to least favorite. A grid of radio buttons isn't a terrible way to go about this.…

124 comments

New Poll: What’s Your Favorite Page Title Separator?

Just for silly kicks, let's keep on with the page title polls, this time with perhaps the most trivial of all choices. The poll is embedded on the site in the sidebar. Let everyone know what your favorite page title separator is. The en-dash? The vertical pipe? THE DOUBLE COLON‽…

10 comments

Poll Results: Favorite Page Title Structure

This was an interesting poll because there is no clear consensus on "the best way" for sites to handle page titles. It varies quite a bit even among similar websites. …

Watch Ryan Singer Think Through a Design Problem

High quality video training marketplace PeepCode has a series of screencasts called Play by Play where they record masters of their trade doing their thing.

In this one, we get to watch a user experience designer think through a design problem. This is the rarest of all design tutorials. I think it's because it feels weird both teaching and being taught this stuff directly, but watching people work it out themselves is instructional as heck.…

94 comments

Fancy Scrolling Sites

In the last year or so, there's been enough sites that do fancy things when you scroll down that it's kind of a trend. I thought I'd blog it, you know, for the sake of history. …

57 comments

Nine Image Expander

I was asked by artist Zoran Pekoviċ if the effect on the homepage on their site, which is currently done with Flash, could be done with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. …

CSSOff Kickoff on Oct. 20th!

The PSD for the CSSOff is going to drop on October 20, 2011. You'll have exactly 2 weeks (until November 3) to code up and submit your final conversion. Follow the title link to the official page where you can check out the amazing prizes, read up on the rules, and sign up to compete.…

60 comments

Yay! CSS-Tricks Shirts!

I know what you were just thinking. You were thinking, man, I love CSS-Tricks so much but nothing in my wardrobe helps me publicly display that. Right‽ …

FitVids.js

Super lightweight jQuery plugin to make all videos fluid width, while maintaining their original aspect ratio. Explanation, video, and discussion on Dave's site.…