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Susan Robertson

Susan Robertson is a freelance front-end developer who focuses on CSS, style guides, responsive design, and accessibility. Clients include FiftyThree, Imprint, Cloud Four, and others. When not writing code, Susan can be found writing about a wide variety of topics on her own site, as well as contributing to A List Apart and The Pastry Box. When not staring at a screen, she reads comics and novels, cooks lots of yummy food, and enjoys her Portland neighborhood.

Contributions by Susan Robertson

  • Writing CSS on Growing Teams

    A clear process—based on communication, code reviews, and documentation—will help your team write strong, modular CSS together.

  • Writing to Think

    It's true, writing about your work can be tough. Putting your thoughts out there for everyone to see—and comment on—can be intimidating. But, as Susan Robertson shows, it's a great way to clarify your thinking on tough problems, and can lead to new opportunities in the process.

  • Stop Cringing and Embrace the Unknown

    We all have those moments when we're asked to do something new and we cringe. It's tempting to just stick with what we know, but pushing through those moments of uncertainty is how we learn.

  • Building to Learn

    Whether you're just getting started on the web, or trying to pick up a new framework, Susan Robertson has a radical idea: build something that interests you. Sure, there are courses and tutorials out there to walk you through it, but a project you're actually excited about will help you solidify those skills and make them easier to recall when you need them most.

  • Developing Empathy

    Everyone talks a lot about empathy, but distilling that theory-driven talk into practices for our day-to-day work can seem daunting. Susan Robertson shows how she's been able to practice empathy for users as a developer.

  • Practicing Empathy With Teams

    We talk a lot about having empathy for our users, but what about having empathy for each other? Susan Robertson describes how, as a developer, she practices empathy with her teammates.

  • Sass Talk

    Sass. Less. Compass. Grunt. Gulp. If you’re overwhelmed by tools like preprocessors and taskrunners—not to mention all the complex setup advice out there—you might be wondering: can we even write vanilla CSS anymore? In this event from Wednesday, May 6, 2015, we asked a panel of developers to share their stories, strategies, and case studies.

  • Accepting Our Lack of Control

    Accepting the “ebb and flow of things” is as challenging today as it was 15 years ago. Susan Robertson explores what it means to accept our lack of control on the web and shares how she acknowledges this in her work—from the CSS she writes, to the conversations she has with team members.

  • Don’t Forget About Contrast

    That old monitor you've got lying around? Time to put it to work. Susan Robertson reminds us of how important it is to test our designs on older screens and ensure the things we build work well for everyone.

  • Style Guide Generator Roundup

    Ready to use a style guide generator for your next project? Susan Robertson did the research and shares a number of options to try out, depending on your workflow. If you haven't created a style guide before, hopefully one of these tools will make generating your first one just a bit easier.

  • 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.

  • Learning to be Accessible

    I’m trying to be learn more about accessibility these days. Thinking about it more, reading about it some, and generally being aware as I write code what I should and shouldn't do in that arena.

  • Overwhelmed by Code

    There is a constant pressure to learn new things and keep up with all the latest ideas: new frameworks, new platforms, new ideas of how to write code, they just keep coming out. In addition, the ebb and flow of what is desired from a front-end developer keeps changing. It used to be that knowing CSS and HTML was enough, then jQuery came along, then responsive techniques, then Node.js and then Angular, Ember, etc., etc., etc. That list, right there, it tires me out.

  • Learning to Be Flexible

    As a freelancer, I work in a lot of different code repos. Almost every team I work with has different ideas of how code should be organized, maintained, and structured. Now, I’m not here to start a battle about tabs versus spaces or alphabetical order of CSS properties versus organizing in terms of concerns (positioning styles, then element layout styles, then whatever else), because I’m honestly not attached to any one system anymore.

  • Routines Aren’t the Enemy

    I recently read Greg Smith’s piece on Bocoup's blog about how they think about time tracking, including all the fascinating data about how your brain works to solve problems. It interested me a lot, since I've been thinking about not just how I track projects, but also how I structure my day as a freelancer.

  • Getting Started With CSS Audits

    This week I wrote about conducting CSS audits to organize your code, keeping it clean and performant—resulting in faster sites that are easier to maintain. Now that you understand the hows and whys of auditing, let’s take a look at some more resources that will help you maintain your CSS architecture. Here are some I’ve recently discovered and find helpful.

  • CSS Audits: Taking Stock of Your Code

    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.

  • Creating Style Guides

    A style guide, also referred to as a pattern library, is a living document that details the front-end code for all the elements and modules of a website or application. It also documents the site’s visual language, from header styles to color palettes. In short, a proper style guide is a one-stop guide that the entire team can reference when considering site changes and iterations. Susan Robertson shows us how to build and maintain a style guide that helps everyone from product owners and producers to designers and developers keep an ever-changing site on brand and on target.

Browse Authors

  1. Ida Aalen
  2. Senongo Akpem
  3. Amin Al Hazwani
  4. Lea Alcantara
  5. Dean Allen
  6. John Allsopp
  7. Pär Almqvist
  8. Joe Alterio
  9. Brian Alvey
  10. Stephen P. Anderson
  11. Rachel Andrew
  12. Jake Archibald
  13. Chris Armstrong
  14. Lance Arthur
  15. Faruk Ateş
  16. Peter Balogh
  17. Artas Bartas
  18. Johanna Bates
  19. Dan Benjamin
  20. Scott Berkun
  21. David Berlow
  22. Tobias Bernard
  23. Mark Bernstein
  24. Carrie Bickner
  25. Kate Bingaman-Burt
  26. Mark Birbeck
  27. Alex Bischoff
  28. Niklas Bivald
  29. Margot Bloomstein
  30. Jason Blumer
  31. Nate Bolt
  32. Jina Bolton
  33. Scott Boms
  34. Bert Bos
  35. Maurizio Boscarol
  36. Mark Boulton
  37. Cennydd Bowles
  38. Douglas Bowman
  39. Wayne Bremser
  40. Harry Brignull
  41. Ryan Brill
  42. Mike Brittain
  43. Mandy Brown
  44. Tim Brown
  45. Sunni Brown
  46. Tiffany B. Brown
  47. Marlene Bruce
  48. Laura Brunow Miner
  49. Carlos Bueno
  50. Heather Burns
  51. Jory Burson
  52. Paul Burton
  53. Jim Byrne
  54. Marcos Caceres
  55. Jeffery Callender
  56. Lachlan Cannon
  57. Michael Cardenas
  58. Norm Carr
  59. Ryan Carson
  60. Lawrence Carvalho
  61. Meghan Casey
  62. Elizabeth Castro
  63. Dan Cederholm
  64. Tantek Çelik
  65. Steve Champeon
  66. Caio Chassot
  67. Chen Hui Jing
  68. Jack Cheng
  69. Kevin Cheng
  70. Dana Chisnell
  71. James Christie
  72. Joe Clark
  73. Chris Clark
  74. Josh Clark
  75. Andrew Clarke
  76. Josh Cleland
  77. Curt Cloninger
  78. Geri Coady
  79. Scott Jason Cohen
  80. Michael Cohen
  81. Georgy Cohen
  82. Anthony Colangelo
  83. Brad Colbow
  84. Simon Collison
  85. Angela Colter
  86. Marie Connelly
  87. Craig Cook
  88. Patrick Cooney
  89. Joscelin Cooper
  90. Stacey Cordoni
  91. Kevin Cornell
  92. Amanda Costello
  93. Jim Coudal
  94. Abby Covert
  95. Nick Cox
  96. Chris Coyier
  97. Brian Crescimanno
  98. Jeff Croft
  99. Shaun Crowley
  100. Nathan Curtis
  101. Liz Danzico
  102. Anil Dash
  103. Justin Dauer
  104. Glenn Davis
  105. Anna Debenham
  106. David Demaree
  107. Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek
  108. Shane Diffily
  109. Geoff DiMasi
  110. Nick Disabato
  111. Hannah Donovan
  112. Nandini Doreswamy
  113. Rory Douglas
  114. Seth Duffey
  115. Colin Eagan
  116. Jeff Eaton
  117. James Edwards
  118. J. David Eisenberg
  119. James Ellis
  120. Jessica Enders
  121. Bjørn Enki
  122. Elika Etemad
  123. Felicity Evans
  124. Garin Evans
  125. Christopher Fahey
  126. Todd Fahrner
  127. Dug Falby
  128. Derek Featherstone
  129. Scott Fennell
  130. Andrew Fernandez
  131. John Ferrara
  132. Daniel Ferro
  133. Alex Feyerke
  134. Nick Finck
  135. Richard Fink
  136. Detlev Fischer
  137. Jonathan Follett
  138. Shoshannah L. Forbes
  139. Nathan Ford
  140. Clinton Forry
  141. Dean Frickey
  142. Daniel M. Frommelt
  143. Brad Frost
  144. Lyza Danger Gardner
  145. Steven Garrity
  146. Peter Gasston
  147. Anne Gibson
  148. John Gladding
  149. Porter Glendinning
  150. Kevin Goldman
  151. Brian Goldman
  152. Devan Goldstein
  153. Aimee Gonzalez-Cameron
  154. Jeff Gothelf
  155. R. Stephen Gracey
  156. Adam Greenfield
  157. Matt Griffin
  158. Patrick Griffiths
  159. Andrew Grimes
  160. John M. Grohol
  161. Tobias Günther
  162. Aaron Gustafson
  163. Andy Hagans
  164. Young Hahn
  165. Erika Hall
  166. Kristina Halvorson
  167. Naz Hamid
  168. Jessica Harllee
  169. Cyd Harrell
  170. Matthew Haughey
  171. Stephen Hay
  172. Steph Hay
  173. Julia Hayden
  174. Dominique Hazaël-Massieux
  175. Val Head
  176. Christian Heilmann
  177. Hal Helms
  178. Ben Henick
  179. Alan Herrell
  180. Graham Herrli
  181. Lisa Herrod
  182. Whitney Hess
  183. Perry Hewitt
  184. Jenny Lam / Hillel Cooperman
  185. Andrew Hinton
  186. Tingan Ho
  187. Craig Hockenberry
  188. Robert Hoekman Jr.
  189. Andrew Hoffman
  190. Kevin M. Hoffman
  191. Lara Hogan
  192. Emma Jane Hogbin Westby
  193. Anthony Holdener
  194. Ryan Holsten
  195. Molly E. Holzschlag
  196. Sarah Horton
  197. Ross Howard
  198. Greg Hoy
  199. Belinda Hulin
  200. Bill Humphries
  201. Lachlan Hunt
  202. Mark Huot
  203. Ryan Irelan
  204. Makiko Itoh
  205. Ida Jackson
  206. Charlotte Jackson
  207. Denise Jacobs
  208. Bob Jacobson
  209. Troy Janisch
  210. Scott Jehl
  211. Neil Jenkins
  212. Leslie Jensen-Inman
  213. L. Michelle Johnson
  214. Andrew Johnson
  215. Bronwyn Jones
  216. Glenn Jones
  217. Colleen Jones
  218. Natalie Jost
  219. Jonathan Kahn
  220. Laura Kalbag
  221. Chris Kaminski
  222. Harvey Kane
  223. Avinash Kaushik
  224. Jeremy Keith
  225. Scott Kellum
  226. Sally Kerrigan
  227. Alla Kholmatova
  228. Kate Kiefer Lee
  229. Crawford Kilian
  230. Andrew Kirkpatrick
  231. Greg Kise
  232. Erin Kissane
  233. Martin Kliehm
  234. Breandán Knowlton
  235. Thierry Koblentz
  236. Peter-Paul Koch
  237. Cameron Koczon
  238. Michelle Kondou
  239. Mattias Konradsson
  240. Jordan Koschei
  241. Nishant Kothary
  242. Jason Kottke
  243. Katie Kovalcin
  244. Scott Kramer
  245. Una Kravets
  246. Michael Krisher
  247. Eric Krock
  248. Andrew Kuhar
  249. Olivier Lacan
  250. Keith LaFerriere
  251. wk lang
  252. Wren Lanier
  253. Simon St. Laurent
  254. Art Lawry
  255. Kristofer Layon
  256. Sharon Lee
  257. Tina Lee
  258. Antoine Lefeuvre
  259. Jeff Lembeck
  260. Inayaili de Leon
  261. Debra Levin Gelman
  262. Matthew Levine
  263. Håkon Wium Lie
  264. Colin Lieberman
  265. Dave Linabury
  266. Margit Link-Rodrigue
  267. Caren Litherland
  268. Mark Llobrera
  269. Ian Lloyd
  270. Paul Robert Lloyd
  271. Sue Lockwood
  272. Michael Lopp
  273. Rachel Lovinger
  274. Michael Lovitt
  275. Daniel Ludwin
  276. Jenn Lukas
  277. Erin Lynch
  278. Patrick Lynch
  279. Kelsey Lynn Lundberg
  280. Chris MacGregor
  281. Jeffrey MacIntyre
  282. Dougal MacPherson
  283. Søren Madsen
  284. Dennis A. Mahoney
  285. Dan Mall
  286. Rosie Manning
  287. Ethan Marcotte
  288. Mat Marquis
  289. Samuel Marshall
  290. Lisa Maria Martin
  291. John Martz
  292. Cassie McDaniel
  293. Justin McDowell
  294. Gerry McGovern
  295. Karen McGrane
  296. Elizabeth McGuane / Randall Snare
  297. Nellie McKesson
  298. Drew McLellan
  299. Mica McPheeters
  300. Pete McVicar
  301. Timothy Meaney
  302. Garann Means
  303. Shawn Medero
  304. Tim Meehan
  305. Aaron Mentele
  306. Erika Meyer
  307. Eric Meyer
  308. Justin Mezzell
  309. Bojan Mihelac
  310. Robert Miller
  311. Robin (roblimo) Miller
  312. David F. Miller
  313. Chris Mills
  314. Wilson Miner
  315. Craig Mod
  316. Cameron Moll
  317. Mike Monteiro
  318. Peter Morville
  319. Trenton Moss
  320. Alice Mottola
  321. Lee Moyer
  322. Lyle Mullican
  323. Rebecca Murphey
  324. Tim Murtaugh
  325. Rachel Nabors
  326. Sarah B. Nelson
  327. Mark Newhouse
  328. Jorunn D. Newth
  329. Paul Novitski
  330. Matthew O'Neill
  331. George Oates
  332. Brandon Oelling
  333. Brandon Olejniczak
  334. George Olsen
  335. Ross Olson
  336. Mark Otto
  337. Nick Padmore
  338. Sarah Parmenter
  339. Rick Pastoor
  340. Dana Pavlichko
  341. Alan Pearce
  342. Jason Pearce
  343. Shane Pearlman
  344. Ross Penman
  345. Nathan Peretic
  346. Yesenia Perez-Cruz
  347. Dorian Peters
  348. Veronica Picciafuoco
  349. Mike Pick
  350. Jack Pickard
  351. Heydon Pickering
  352. Andy Polaine
  353. Christophe Porteneuve
  354. Joshua Porter
  355. Eric Portis
  356. Kevin Potts
  357. Derek Powazek
  358. Shelley Powers
  359. Till Quack
  360. Whitney Quesenbery
  361. Peter Quinsey
  362. Jim Ramsey
  363. Aza Raskin
  364. Jim Ray
  365. Our Gentle Readers
  366. Aaron Rester
  367. Sam Richard
  368. Stephanie Rieger
  369. Nick Rigby
  370. Matt Riggott
  371. Daniel Ritzenthaler
  372. Christopher Robbins
  373. Stuart Robertson
  374. Susan Robertson
  375. Rich Robinson
  376. D. Keith Robinson
  377. Jason Rodriguez
  378. Marco Rogers
  379. Mike Rohde
  380. Pepi Ronalds
  381. Stewart Rosenberger
  382. Lou Rosenfeld
  383. Chris Ross-Gill
  384. Dave Rupert
  385. Andy Rutledge
  386. Richard Rutter
  387. Joseph Ryan
  388. Gian Sampson-Wild
  389. Jason Santa Maria
  390. Cédric Savarese
  391. sbritt
  392. Alex Schmidt
  393. Christopher Schmitt
  394. Adam Schumacher
  395. Erin Scime
  396. Paul Sciortino
  397. Thomas Scott
  398. Ryan Seddon
  399. Al Shaw
  400. Dave Shea
  401. Peter K Sheerin
  402. Robbie Shepherd
  403. Eric Shepherd
  404. Sophie Shepherd
  405. Nick Sherman
  406. David Sherwin
  407. Daniel Short
  408. Kim Siever
  409. Amber Simmons
  410. Michael Slater
  411. David Sleight
  412. Kristin Smaby
  413. Jonathan Smiley
  414. Paul Smith
  415. Tim Smith
  416. Jonathan Snook
  417. Eric Sol
  418. Sara Soueidan
  419. Paul Sowden
  420. ALA Staff
  421. Ruth Stalker-Firth
  422. Russ Starke
  423. Alan Stearns
  424. Hallvord R.M. Steen
  425. Joe Di Stefano
  426. Bob Stein
  427. Krista Stevens
  428. Walter Stevenson
  429. Noah Stokes
  430. Elliot Stokes
  431. Greg Storey
  432. Brian Suda
  433. Rob Swan
  434. Allen Tan
  435. Tyler Tate
  436. Olivier Thereaux
  437. Drew Thomas
  438. Emmanuel King Turner
  439. Dan Turner
  440. Russ Unger
  441. Nick Usborne
  442. Santiago Valdarrama
  443. Marc van den Dobbelsteen
  444. Rian van der Merwe
  445. Bobby van der Sluis
  446. Roel Van Gils
  447. Jeffrey Veen
  448. David Verba
  449. Lea Verou
  450. Corey Vilhauer
  451. Sergio Villarreal
  452. Casper Voogt
  453. Sophia Voychehovski
  454. The W3C
  455. The W3C QA Group
  456. Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  457. waferbaby
  458. Aarron Walter
  459. Denice Warren
  460. Samantha Warren
  461. Dan Webb
  462. Eileen Webb
  463. Rose Weisburd
  464. Yoav Weiss
  465. Lisa Welchman
  466. Mike West
  467. Brian Williams
  468. Christina Wodtke
  469. Carolyn--Wood
  470. Jeremy Wright
  471. Tim Wright
  472. Luke Wroblewski
  473. Mark Wyner
  474. Victor Yocco
  475. Indi Young
  476. Nicholas C. Zakas
  477. Jack Zeal
  478. Jeffrey Zeldman
  479. Ping Zhu