A List Apart


The Articles

Issue № 434

  • Frameworks

    by Ethan Marcotte · · 8 Comments

    As we’ve adopted responsive design—componentizing our interfaces, establishing breakpoints, and thinking content-out instead of canvas-in—we’ve learned that there’s more to it than just changing our techniques. We have to change the way we talk about (and act on) the principles of good responsive design. In this excerpt from Chapter 5 of his new book, Responsive Design: Patterns & Principles, Ethan Marcotte explores the philosophical and practical frameworks that can guide our responsive work.

  • Rolling Out Responsive

    by Karen McGrane · · 3 Comments

    Every organization is different, with their own internal processes, stakeholder needs, and customer expectations—meaning that there's no one right way to approach a responsive redesign project. What’s right is what’s right for your company, as Karen McGrane explains in her new book, Going Responsive. This excerpt looks at the pros and cons to different responsive project approaches—from beta release to big reveal and everything in between—so you can figure out the best fit for your team.

Issue № 433

  • Mixing Color for the Web with Sass

    by Justin McDowell · · 7 Comments

    We use color to influence mood, create an environment, and tell a story. 125 years ago, impressionist painter Claude Monet changed the way we think about color by describing light’s role in it. His observations have largely been lost on design for the web—but a preprocessor like Sass offers us unprecedented power to mix tints and shades that will imbue our palettes with more nuance.

Issue № 432

  • From Pages to Patterns: An Exercise for Everyone

    by Charlotte Jackson · · 12 Comments

    When people think in terms of pages, it might seem natural for component design and page design to occur in tandem. But this can undermine a team’s ability to name components and build a shared vocabulary. With colleagues at Clearleft, Charlotte Jackson developed an exercise to help everyone adopt pattern thinking. She takes us through the process step by step, encouraging us to get away from our screens and focus first on thinking, language, and approach.

  • How We Hold Our Gadgets

    by Josh Clark · · 23 Comments

    Touch adds a new dimension to our designs, and asks us to think not only about the canvas of the screen, but also about how users interact physically with the screen itself. We need to consider the ergonomic needs of holding a smartphone, tablet, or hybrid device—switching hands, swapping grips, and pointing, clicking, and typing. In this excerpt from Chapter 1 of Designing for Touch, Josh Clark examines the role of thumbs in driving our device interactions, no matter the size of the screen.

Issue № 431

  • Object-Oriented UX

    by Sophia Voychehovski · · 40 Comments

    We know big, monolithic webpages won’t meet the needs of responsive sites and endless screens. But we’re often still quilting together design patterns and content modules, rather than truly thinking in systems. Sophia Voychehovski shows us how defining the objects our users interact with, and the relationships between them, opens doors to more interconnected—and successful—user experiences.

  • Choosing a CMS Your Organization Will Love

    by Artas Bartas · · 15 Comments

    That never-ending search for the perfect CMS—maybe we’re using the wrong criteria. Too frequently, we approach CMS selection with cost or functionality as our bottom line, leading to solutions that look good, but struggle to adapt to the internal workflow. But finding a tool that matches organizational requirements means shifting focus. Artas Bartas presents three ways of approaching the CMS selection process with your team’s needs and processes top of mind.

Issue № 430

  • Reclaiming Social: Content Strategy for Social Media

    by Ida Jackson, Ida Aalen · · 5 Comments

    When we talk about content, we mean all the content: words, pictures, videos, the whole shebang. And—surprise, surprise—that includes social media. Too often neglected or left to the mercy of Klout, social media accounts need the same care, strategic planning, and governance as the rest of your digital properties. Ida Aalen and Ida Jackson explain how content strategy is just the tool to dust off your accounts, regain control, and start producing better social media content today.

  • Using Responsive Images (Now)

    by Chen Hui Jing · · 26 Comments

    The rise of responsive web design sent designers and developers scrambling to figure out how best to deliver responsive images across a range of device widths. Thanks in large part to efforts by the Responsive Issues Community Group (RICG), we can now serve images of varying quality depending on the user’s viewport rather than on some convoluted server-side setup. Chen Hui Jing introduces us to the new image selection types and shows us how we can make them work for us.

Issue № 429

  • Managing Your Content Management System

    by Rory Douglas · · 19 Comments

    Because every site has unique needs, no two content management systems should ever be alike. When implementing and customizing a new CMS, writes Rory Douglas, give your users only as much freedom as they need—but not enough to mess things up. They’ll love you for it.

  • Privacy is UX

    by Alex Schmidt · · 8 Comments

    Alex Schmidt argues that in a world full of security breaches, snooping, and third-party data aggregators, you should know where your users’ data goes. In this article, she explains why it’s time we make privacy part of our product design process—and helps us figure out how to build it into our requirements and skillsets.

Issue № 428

  • Designing Safer Web Animation For Motion Sensitivity

    by Val Head · · 13 Comments

    For millions of people with vertigo and inner ear problems, large-scale web animations can trigger nausea, migraines, and dizziness. To make websites accessible for everyone, we don’t need to eliminate animation; we need to apply it more thoughtfully. Val Head walks us through some of the challenges posed by vestibular disorders and provides guidelines for designing with motion sensitivity in mind.

  • Hello, My Name is <Error>

    by Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron · · 26 Comments

    Registering for school, paying bills, updating government documents—we conduct a significant part of our daily lives through web forms. So when simply typing in your name breaks a form, well, user experience, we have a problem. As our population continues to diversify, we need designs that accommodate a broader range of naming conventions. Aimee Gonzalez shows how cultural assumptions affect what we build on the web—and how fostering awareness and refining our processes can start to change that.

Issue № 427

  • Thinking Responsively: A Framework for Future Learning

    by Paul Robert Lloyd · · 3 Comments

    Responsive web design changed everything about how we think and work on the web—and five years on, we’re still exploring the best ways to approach our practice. If we want a web that is truly universal, we must consider our users, our medium, and our teams in new, adaptable ways. Looking at where we’ve come from and where we’re going, Paul Robert Lloyd proposes a philosophical framework for our work on the responsive web.

  • Multimodal Perception: When Multitasking Works

    by Graham Herrli ·

    Don’t believe everything you hear these days about multitasking—it’s not necessarily bad. In fact, humans have a knack for perception that engages multiple senses. Graham Herrli unpacks the theories around multimodal communication and suggests that we can sometimes make things easier to understand by making them more complex to perceive.

Issue № 426

  • The Language of Modular Design

    by Alla Kholmatova · · 19 Comments

    Goodbye, pages; hello, systems! When we break things down into atomic units, design elements become more scalable and replaceable, easier to test, and quicker to assemble. Alla Kholmatova emphasizes that a shared vocabulary should be the jumping-off point for teams who want to adopt a modular design approach. Let’s start with language, not interfaces.

  • Sharing Our Work: Testing and Feedback in Design

    by Jessica Harllee · · 4 Comments

    Showing your in-progress designs can be scary, but there’s no better way to keep your product in line with your users’ needs. Research and testing aren’t just boxes to be checked off; they’re methodologies to be integrated into the entire design process—and the more, and the more diverse, the merrier. Jessica Harllee explains how Etsy shares their work with users every step of the way—and the benefits (and surprises) that follow.

Issue № 425

  • 2015 Summer Reading Issue

    by ALA Staff · · 6 Comments

    The dog days are upon us—but instead of giving up in the summer swelter, take heart! We’ve got an extra-special reading list of bright, insightful brainfood. ALA’s third annual summer reader explores what's been on the web industry’s mind lately, from accessibility to performance, from CSS techniques to web type, from mentorship to more collaborative approaches. It’s a list as cool and fancy as a watermelon-basil popsicle. Yeah, that does sound good, doesn’t it? Kick back, chill out, and get to reading.

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