Articles by
Chris Coyier

Founder, writer, designer, spam-deleter, email personality

A Pretty Good SVG Icon System

I've long advocated SVG icon systems. Still do. To name a few benefits: vector-based icons look great in a high pixel density world, SVG offers lots of design control, and they are predictable and performant.

I've also often advocated for a SVG icon system that is based on <symbol></symbol>s (an "SVG sprite") and the <use></use> element for placing them. I've changed my mind a little. I don't think that is a bad way to go, really, but there is certainly a simpler (and perhaps a little better) way to go.

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Connect: behind the front-end experience

Some fantastic behind-the-scenes stuff about Stripe's design work by Benjamin De Cock. Absolutely everything is clever and using very modern techniques.

Plus one I'd never seen before:

Connect's landing page uses the new Intersection Observer API which provides a much more robust and performant way to detect the visibility of an element ... The observeScroll helper simplifies our detection behavior (i.e. when an element is fully visible, the callback is triggered once) without executing anything on the main thread.

Oh No! Our Stylesheet Only Grows and Grows and Grows! (The Append-Only Stylesheet Problem)

This is a real worry these days. I've heard it from lots of lots of developers. The years tick by on their projects, and all they ever seem to do is add to their CSS, never remove. It's not just a feeling, I've talked with companies before that track hard data on this. Over five years of tracking the size of their stylesheet, and all it's ever done is tick upwards in size.

This could be considered problematic for several reasons:

  1. Files getting bigger is worse for performance
  2. The developers are afraid of the CSS

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The $1,000 Podcasting Setup

I figure between (as I write) the 267 episodes of ShopTalk, 134 episodes of CodePen Radio, 154 video screencasts (and many hundreds more as part of the different series), and all my guest podcast apperances, I'm edging on 1,000 things I've voice-recorded for public consumption.

98% of that was with the Rode Podcaster, the same exact microphone I documented using in 2008. I figured it was about time for an upgrade, as I plan to continue podcasting and screencasting for another 10 years! I know audio quality is a big deal. I don't quite consider myself an audiophile, but I know I prefer listening to podcasts with good audio quality, and I'd like to make sure what I produce is as good of quality as is practical for me right now.

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Free Guide to Using cPanel & WordPress​

Managed WordPress hosting is a great choice if you need a hosting solution that's optimized for WordPress. But it's only for WordPress.

What if you need more?

What if you need email hosting? What if you need to run other software alongside WordPress? What if you need more control than what managed WordPress hosting allows, but without the complexity of a VPS?

There's an easy solution: host everything in one place, and manage it all with the powerful cPanel dashboard.

You'll learn how in this free guide to cPanel & WordPress.

A Little Example of Data Massaging

I'm not sure if "data massaging" is a real thing, but that's how I think of what I'm about to describe.

Dave and I were thinking about a bit of a redesign for ShopTalk Show. Fresh coat of paint kinda thing. Always nice to do that from time to time. But we wanted to start from the inside out this time. It didn't sound very appealing to design around the data that we had. We wanted to work with cleaner data. We needed to massage the data that we had, so that it would open up more design possibilities.

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CSS-Tricks Chronicle XXXI

All the latest happenings! As I like to do, I round up a bunch of things that have happened in the past few months around here on this site, over at CodePen and ShopTalk, and other sites where I got to be a guest or was involved somehow. There has been some big releases, some redesigns, and a bunch of guest podcasts.

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An intro to web components with otters

Monica Dinculescu on web components and why we might care:

... before web components came around, you had to wait on all browsers to agree on a new element (like, a date picker). And even after they agreed on a new element, it took them yeaaaaars to implement it... With web components, web developers get to write such elements, so that you don't have to wait for 10 years before all browsers agree that they should implement a date picker.

I struggle with trying to figure out if web components (with Polymer or not) are really "the future" or not. People definitely haven't adopted them with the same ferocious appetite as New JavaScript, which also tackles componentization. But they are a web standard with growing native support, so... probably?

I'm probably wrong in conflating the two, though. Even the React Docs say:

React and Web Components are built to solve different problems. Web Components provide strong encapsulation for reusable components, while React provides a declarative library that keeps the DOM in sync with your data. The two goals are complementary.

How to improve your site’s UX

Let's face it, it's tough to be a web designer today. You have to stand up in front of the class and let people pick apart the thing you spent 10 hours on the night before.

But what if you can really support your designs by actual data and feedback, directly from your users and visitors, ultimately improving the overall experience.

By combining both Analytics and Feedback tools, Hotjar gives you the 'big picture' of how to improve your site's user experience and performance. The Analytics tools allow you to measure and observe user behavior (what users do) while the Feedback tools allow you to hear what your users have to say (Voice of User), all in one central interface.

Try it for free today.

Aspect Ratio Boxes

I had a little situation the other day where I needed to make one of those aspect-ratio friendly boxes. This isn't particularly new stuff. I think the original credit goes as far back as 2009 and Thierry Koblentz's Intrinsic Ratios and maintained popularity even for other kinds of content with articles like Uncle Dave's Ol' Padded Box.

Let's go on a little journey through this concept, as there is plenty to talk about.

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