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Issue № 412

  • A Vision for Our Sass

    by Felicity Evans · · 16 Comments

    Sass is a powerful tool in helping us wrangle complex stylesheets. Yet it has its headaches—including troublesome nesting of CSS selectors, code duplication, and tight coupling—that result in messy outputted CSS. Universal standards aren’t a viable answer, as the Sass spec continues to quickly change and grow. Felicity Evans holds that the problem isn’t Sass itself, but the way we use it. In this article, she champions a set of tenets that offers guidelines on how to work with Sass and evaluate new features and techniques.

  • Live Font Interpolation on the Web

    by Andrew Johnson · · 4 Comments

    We all want to design great typographic experiences—while serving users on a huge array of devices. But today’s type is inflexible and doesn’t scale. We can solve this problem by making webfonts more systemized and context-aware, and live web font interpolation—the modification of a font’s design in the browser—can help us get there. Andrew Johnson points the way.

Issue № 411

  • The Core Model: Designing Inside Out for Better Results

    by Ida Aalen · · 27 Comments

    We’ve all fallen into territorial arguments about what content belongs on a site’s homepage. It’s the most important part of your website, after all—or is it? Ida Aalen shows us how to circumvent these turf wars with the Core Model approach, starting with a workshop to get everyone on the same page about what really counts as important—to your users. By identifying the core elements of your website as a team, you’ll make those smaller decisions about page design and content placement a lot faster, and without getting political about it.

  • From Empathy to Advocacy

    by Lyle Mullican · · 3 Comments

    As designers, we’ve devoted considerable attention to the concept of empathy. But how do we ensure that empathy for our users translates into actionable steps that then guide our design decisions and behaviors? Lyle Mullican explores how we can go beyond listening to our users, and start advocating on their behalf.

Issue № 410

  • Tweaking the Moral UI

    by Christina Wodtke · · 133 Comments

    Even at the most welcoming and trusting of conferences, a code of conduct is a necessity. Codes of conduct let people know that organizers are willing to protect participants and solve problems—a way of improving the user experience for our whole community. Here, Christina Wodtke attests to the inclusive power of codes of conduct—and what we need to do to see them adopted across the industry.

  • Conference Proposals that Don’t Suck

    by Russ Unger · · 3 Comments

    Conference proposals seem simple enough: throw your thoughts into a text form on a website, keep them within the suggested word limit, and hit send with high hopes of winning over organizers. But there’s much more to a successful conference proposal than meets the eye, and Russ Unger is here to walk through the steps involved with getting your germ of an idea into a polished state that will impress any committee.

Issue № 409

  • Planning for Performance

    by Scott Jehl · · 11 Comments

    We should build websites that are not merely responsive, but sustainable, globally accessible, and, well, responsible, as Scott Jehl suggests in his new book, Responsible Responsive Design. Our approaches to responsive websites need to consider ever-changing devices, limited networks, and unexpected contexts. In this excerpt from Chapter 3, Scott discusses page load times and the responsible delivery of code.

Issue № 408

  • UX for the Enterprise

    by Jordan Koschei · · 22 Comments

    Enterprise UX often involves navigating cumbersome processes, ancient technology, and clients skeptical of design’s value. Yet Fortune 500 companies are often the ones most in need of well-designed internal tools. Jordan Koschei takes us through common problems lurking in global organizations—and how we can improve people’s lives by giving internal tools the same attention as consumer interfaces.

  • Cultivating the Next Generation of Web Professionals

    by Georgy Cohen · · 5 Comments

    One of the most meaningful and lasting ways we can impact the future of the web is through the values and attitudes we instill in the next generation of web workers. Through informal mentoring, classroom outreach, internships, and more, we can offer support and opportunities to those new to digital professions. Georgy Cohen suggests practical ways to connect with students and welcome them wholeheartedly into the web community.

Issue № 407

  • The $PATH to Enlightenment

    by Olivier Lacan · · 22 Comments

    Web designers and developers are often scared of using the command line, but we don’t need to be. It’s actually a simple—and useful—set of tools that can speed up your work and improve your life. One of the most important concepts in the command line is $PATH. Olivier Lacan explains why—and how to get comfortable following the Path in your work.

  • Responsive Images in Practice

    by Eric Portis · · 61 Comments

    When we design responsively, our content elegantly and efficiently flows into any device. All of our content, that is, except images. For years, we’ve catered to users with the highest-resolution screens by sending giant images to everyone. No longer. Eric Portis takes us through the new picture element and other attributes to let us mark up multiple, alternate sources. Find out how to use responsive images now: send the best image for each context, cut down on page weight, and speed up performance.

Issue № 406

  • Axiomatic CSS and Lobotomized Owls

    by Heydon Pickering · · 64 Comments

    Managing flow content can get unwieldy—too many class selectors can become a specificity headache, nested styling can get redundant, and content editors don’t always understand the presentational markup. Heydon Pickering offers an unexpected option for handling cascading styles more efficiently: a variation on the universal selector.

  • The Specialized Web: Working with Subject-Matter Experts

    by Amanda Costello · · 9 Comments

    Content strategists often rely on the specialized knowledge of subject-matter experts (SMEs) to get the job done. But that job isn’t always straightforward; it’s complicated by different perspectives, communication styles, and project goals. Amanda Costello shows us how people skills—and the right mindset—can lead to better collaboration with SMEs and a smoother process from start to finish.

Issue № 405

  • Training the CMS

    by Eileen Webb · · 36 Comments

    Launching a site powered by lovingly crafted content models is a joy. But what happens in the weeks that follow, as authors start entering new content into the CMS? If you want to keep your well-structured content intact and on strategy, a training PDF won’t cut it. Let Eileen Webb show you what will: getting editorial guidelines where your authors need them most—in the CMS itself.

  • Collaborative User Testing: Less Bias, Better Research

    by Alla Kholmatova · · 8 Comments

    We all want user research that provides reliable guidance for our teams. But bias is tricky—it’s often introduced unknowingly. How can we be sure that the results of guerrilla user research sessions are as impartial as possible? Alla Kholmatova has the answer: getting more collaborative in how we plan, lead, evaluate, and analyze our user research.

Issue № 404

  • Before You Hire Designers

    by Mike Monteiro · · 17 Comments

    If you’re thinking of working with a designer for your next web project and aren’t sure where to begin, Mike Monteiro has you covered. His new book, You’re My Favorite Client, walks you through the entire process of finding, hiring, and working with a designer from a manager’s perspective. In this excerpt from Chapter 2, Mike lays out the first steps for figuring out just what kind of designer you need in the first place—and how you’ll find the right candidates for the job.

Issue № 403

  • Client Education and Post-Launch Success

    by Drew Thomas · · 16 Comments

    Our jobs don’t end when we flip the switch at launch. It’s our responsibility, in fact, to follow through and make sure the tools we build are used to their fullest potential—by taking the time to educate and train our clients. Drew Thomas demonstrates how teaching our clients to understand, wield, and embrace their new websites and digital strategies makes good business sense for everyone involved.

  • CSS Audits: Taking Stock of Your Code

    by Susan Robertson · · 11 Comments

    A CSS audit helps to organize code and eliminate repetition for speedier sites. Susan Robertson shows us how to sleuth out potential trouble spots, along with offering tips on tools, documentation, and ways to keep our codebases lean well into the future.

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Laura Kalbag on Freelance Design

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Businesses aren't all faceless juggernauts. Some are just one or two people. Yet when we interact with them through reviews or social media, we fall into the notion that there's no real individual in the other side whose feelings can be hurt. Laura Kalbag asks us to be sure to criticize the work and not the person.

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Recent Blog posts

Thoughtful Modularity

What can we learn from the Mars rover about building the web? Anthony Colangelo describes NASA's new modular approach to mission planning, and suggests a similar strategy for our work on the web. The details of our work may change, but building with thoughtful modularity can help us reap the benefits of the future.

Pinpointing Expectations

In my work as a front-end developer, I’ve come to realize that expectations, and how you handle them, are one of the most integral parts of a project. Expectations are tricky things, especially because we don’t talk about them very much.

The Core Model: Links and Resources

My recent article on the core model was an attempt to sum up two things that I could go on about forever. The Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) redesign project started in January 2012, and we’re still working together. The core model was created by Are Halland in 2006, and we’re still working on that too! In other words, there is a lot more to say both about that project and the model.

Getting Started with Gulp

While building JavaScript related projects (whether server side via Node.js or front-end libraries), a build tool to help easily maintain and automate many of the processes—including testing, concatenating files, minification, compiling templates, as well as many other options—can be incredibly useful.

Driving Phantom from Grunt

For this example, we're going to build a Grunt task that takes a screen shot of the pages we're building (similar to Wraith, but far less advanced). There are multiple parts to make this work, so let's break it down. First, we will write a PhantomJS script that renders each page. Second, we make a NodeJS function that calls this script. Finally, we make a GruntJS task that calls that Node function. Fun!