A List Apart



Susan Robertson

Susan Robertson is a front end developer working with Fictive Kin who focuses on CSS, style guides, responsive, and accessibility. In the past, she has worked with clients such as FiftyThree, Imprint, Cloud Four, and worked for Editorially, The Nerdery, and Cambia Health. When not actually writing code, she 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

  • 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

    Issue 403 · 

    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

    Issue 393 · 

    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. Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek
  2. Senongo Akpem
  3. Lea Alcantara
  4. Dean Allen
  5. John Allsopp
  6. Pär Almqvist
  7. Joe Alterio
  8. Brian Alvey
  9. Stephen P. Anderson
  10. Rachel Andrew
  11. Jake Archibald
  12. Chris Armstrong
  13. Lance Arthur
  14. Faruk Ateş
  15. Peter Balogh
  16. Johanna Bates
  17. Dan Benjamin
  18. Scott Berkun
  19. David Berlow
  20. Mark Bernstein
  21. Carrie Bickner
  22. Kate Bingaman-Burt
  23. Mark Birbeck
  24. Alex Bischoff
  25. Niklas Bivald
  26. Margot Bloomstein
  27. Jason Blumer
  28. Nate Bolt
  29. Jina Bolton
  30. Scott Boms
  31. Bert Bos
  32. Maurizio Boscarol
  33. Mark Boulton
  34. Cennydd Bowles
  35. Douglas Bowman
  36. Wayne Bremser
  37. Harry Brignull
  38. Ryan Brill
  39. Mike Brittain
  40. Mandy Brown
  41. Tim Brown
  42. Sunni Brown
  43. Tiffany B. Brown
  44. Marlene Bruce
  45. Laura Brunow Miner
  46. Carlos Bueno
  47. Jory Burson
  48. Paul Burton
  49. Jim Byrne
  50. Marcos Caceres
  51. Jeffery Callender
  52. Lachlan Cannon
  53. Michael Cardenas
  54. Norm Carr
  55. Ryan Carson
  56. Lawrence Carvalho
  57. Meghan Casey
  58. Elizabeth Castro
  59. Dan Cederholm
  60. Tantek Çelik
  61. Steve Champeon
  62. Caio Chassot
  63. Chen Hui Jing
  64. Jack Cheng
  65. Kevin Cheng
  66. Dana Chisnell
  67. James Christie
  68. Joe Clark
  69. Chris Clark
  70. Andrew Clarke
  71. Josh Cleland
  72. Curt Cloninger
  73. Geri Coady
  74. Scott Jason Cohen
  75. Michael Cohen
  76. Georgy Cohen
  77. Anthony Colangelo
  78. Brad Colbow
  79. Simon Collison
  80. Angela Colter
  81. Marie Connelly
  82. Craig Cook
  83. Patrick Cooney
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  85. Stacey Cordoni
  86. Kevin Cornell
  87. Amanda Costello
  88. Jim Coudal
  89. Nick Cox
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  91. Jeff Croft
  92. Shaun Crowley
  93. Nathan Curtis
  94. Liz Danzico
  95. Anil Dash
  96. Justin Dauer
  97. Glenn Davis
  98. Anna Debenham
  99. David Demaree
  100. Shane Diffily
  101. Geoff DiMasi
  102. Nick Disabato
  103. Hannah Donovan
  104. Nandini Doreswamy
  105. Seth Duffey
  106. Colin Eagan
  107. Jeff Eaton
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  110. James Ellis
  111. Jessica Enders
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  113. Elika Etemad
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  115. Garin Evans
  116. Christopher Fahey
  117. Todd Fahrner
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  126. Richard Fink
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  271. Dennis A. Mahoney
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  274. Ethan Marcotte
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  276. Samuel Marshall
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  278. John Martz
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  281. Karen McGrane
  282. Elizabeth McGuane / Randall Snare
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  293. Eric Meyer
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  296. Robert Miller
  297. Robin (roblimo) Miller
  298. David F. Miller
  299. Chris Mills
  300. Wilson Miner
  301. Craig Mod
  302. Cameron Moll
  303. Mike Monteiro
  304. Peter Morville
  305. Trenton Moss
  306. Alice Mottola
  307. Lee Moyer
  308. Lyle Mullican
  309. Rebecca Murphey
  310. Tim Murtaugh
  311. Rachel Nabors
  312. Sarah B. Nelson
  313. Mark Newhouse
  314. Jorunn D. Newth
  315. Paul Novitski
  316. Matthew O'Neill
  317. George Oates
  318. Brandon Oelling
  319. Brandon Olejniczak
  320. George Olsen
  321. Ross Olson
  322. Mark Otto
  323. Nick Padmore
  324. Rick Pastoor
  325. Alan Pearce
  326. Jason Pearce
  327. Shane Pearlman
  328. Ross Penman
  329. Nathan Peretic
  330. Yesenia Perez-Cruz
  331. Dorian Peters
  332. Veronica Picciafuoco
  333. Mike Pick
  334. Jack Pickard
  335. Heydon Pickering
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  338. Joshua Porter
  339. Eric Portis
  340. Kevin Potts
  341. Derek Powazek
  342. Shelley Powers
  343. Till Quack
  344. Whitney Quesenbery
  345. Peter Quinsey
  346. Jim Ramsey
  347. Aza Raskin
  348. Jim Ray
  349. Our Gentle Readers
  350. Aaron Rester
  351. Sam Richard
  352. Stephanie Rieger
  353. Nick Rigby
  354. Matt Riggott
  355. Daniel Ritzenthaler
  356. Christopher Robbins
  357. Stuart Robertson
  358. Susan Robertson
  359. Rich Robinson
  360. D. Keith Robinson
  361. Jason Rodriguez
  362. Mike Rohde
  363. Pepi Ronalds
  364. Stewart Rosenberger
  365. Lou Rosenfeld
  366. Chris Ross-Gill
  367. Dave Rupert
  368. Andy Rutledge
  369. Richard Rutter
  370. Joseph Ryan
  371. Gian Sampson-Wild
  372. Jason Santa Maria
  373. Cédric Savarese
  374. sbritt
  375. Christopher Schmitt
  376. Adam Schumacher
  377. Erin Scime
  378. Paul Sciortino
  379. Thomas Scott
  380. Ryan Seddon
  381. Al Shaw
  382. Dave Shea
  383. Peter K Sheerin
  384. Robbie Shepherd
  385. Eric Shepherd
  386. Sophie Shepherd
  387. Nick Sherman
  388. David Sherwin
  389. Daniel Short
  390. Kim Siever
  391. Amber Simmons
  392. Michael Slater
  393. David Sleight
  394. Kristin Smaby
  395. Jonathan Smiley
  396. Paul Smith
  397. Tim Smith
  398. Jonathan Snook
  399. Eric Sol
  400. Sara Soueidan
  401. Paul Sowden
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  403. Ruth Stalker-Firth
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  409. Krista Stevens
  410. Walter Stevenson
  411. Noah Stokes
  412. Elliot Stokes
  413. Greg Storey
  414. Brian Suda
  415. Rob Swan
  416. Allen Tan
  417. Tyler Tate
  418. Olivier Thereaux
  419. Drew Thomas
  420. Emmanuel King Turner
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  422. Nick Usborne
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  425. Rian van der Merwe
  426. Bobby van der Sluis
  427. Roel Van Gils
  428. Jeffrey Veen
  429. David Verba
  430. Lea Verou
  431. Corey Vilhauer
  432. Sergio Villarreal
  433. Casper Voogt
  434. The W3C
  435. The W3C QA Group
  436. Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  437. waferbaby
  438. Aarron Walter
  439. Denice Warren
  440. Samantha Warren
  441. Dan Webb
  442. Eileen Webb
  443. Rose Weisburd
  444. Yoav Weiss
  445. Lisa Welchman
  446. Mike West
  447. Brian Williams
  448. Christina Wodtke
  449. Carolyn--Wood
  450. Jeremy Wright
  451. Tim Wright
  452. Luke Wroblewski
  453. Mark Wyner
  454. Victor Yocco
  455. Indi Young
  456. Nicholas C. Zakas
  457. Jack Zeal
  458. Jeffrey Zeldman
  459. Ping Zhu