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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.

  • 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. Senogo 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 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. Tim Baxter
  20. Dan Benjamin
  21. Scott Berkun
  22. David Berlow
  23. Tobias Bernard
  24. Mark Bernstein
  25. Carrie Bickner
  26. Kate Bingaman-Burt
  27. Mark Birbeck
  28. Alex Bischoff
  29. Niklas Bivald
  30. Margot Bloomstein
  31. Jason Blumer
  32. Nate Bolt
  33. Jina Bolton
  34. Scott Boms
  35. Bert Bos
  36. Maurizio Boscarol
  37. Mark Boulton
  38. Cennydd Bowles
  39. Douglas Bowman
  40. Wayne Bremser
  41. Harry Brignull
  42. Ryan Brill
  43. Mike Brittain
  44. Mandy Brown
  45. Tim Brown
  46. Sunni Brown
  47. Tiffany B. Brown
  48. Marlene Bruce
  49. Laura Brunow Miner
  50. Carlos Bueno
  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 Celik
  65. Steve Champeon
  66. Caio Chassot
  67. Hui Jing Chen
  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 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. Brandon Gregory
  158. Matt Griffin
  159. Patrick Griffiths
  160. Andrew Grimes
  161. John M. Grohol
  162. Tobias Günther
  163. Aaron Gustafson
  164. Andy Hagans
  165. Young Hahn
  166. Erika Hall
  167. Kristina Halvorson
  168. Naz Hamid
  169. Jessica Harllee
  170. Cyd Harrell
  171. Matthew Haughey
  172. Stephen Hay
  173. Steph Hay
  174. Julia Hayden
  175. Dominique Hazaël-Massieux
  176. Val Head
  177. Christian Heilmann
  178. Hal Helms
  179. Ben Henick
  180. Alan Herrell
  181. Graham Herrli
  182. Lisa Herrod
  183. Whitney Hess
  184. Perry Hewitt
  185. Jenny Lam / Hillel Cooperman
  186. Andrew Hinton
  187. Tingan Ho
  188. Craig Hockenberry
  189. Robert Hoekman Jr.
  190. Andrew Hoffman
  191. Kevin M. Hoffman
  192. Lara Hogan
  193. Emma Jane Hogbin Westby
  194. Anthony Holdener
  195. Ryan Holsten
  196. Molly E. Holzschlag
  197. Sara Horton
  198. Ross Howard
  199. Greg Hoy
  200. Belinda Hulin
  201. Bill Humphries
  202. Lachlan Hunt
  203. Mark Huot
  204. Ryan Irelan
  205. Makiko Itoh
  206. Ida Jackson
  207. Charlotte Jackson
  208. Denise Jacobs
  209. Bob Jacobson
  210. Troy Janisch
  211. Scott Jehl
  212. Neil Jenkins
  213. Leslie Jensen-Inman
  214. L. Michelle Johnson
  215. Andrew Johnson
  216. Bronwyn Jones
  217. Glenn Jones
  218. Colleen Jones
  219. Natalie Jost
  220. Jonathan Kahn
  221. Laura Kalbag
  222. Chris Kaminski
  223. Harvey Kane
  224. Avinash Kaushik
  225. Jeremy Keith
  226. Scott Kellum
  227. Sally Kerrigan
  228. Alla Kholmatova
  229. Kate Kiefer Lee
  230. Crawford Kilian
  231. Andrew Kirkpatrick
  232. Greg Kise
  233. Erin Kissane
  234. Martin Kliehm
  235. Breandán Knowlton
  236. Thierry Koblentz
  237. Peter-Paul Koch
  238. Cameron Koczon
  239. Michelle Kondou
  240. Mattias Konradsson
  241. Jordan Koschei
  242. Nishant Kothary
  243. Jason Kottke
  244. Katie Kovalcin
  245. Scott Kramer
  246. Una Kravets
  247. Michael Krisher
  248. Eric Krock
  249. Andrew Kuhar
  250. Olivier Lacan
  251. Keith LaFerriere
  252. wk lang
  253. Wren Lanier
  254. Simon St. Laurent
  255. Art Lawry
  256. Kristofer Layon
  257. Tina Lee
  258. Sharon Lee
  259. Antoine Lefeuvre
  260. Jeff Lembeck
  261. Inayaili León, de
  262. Debra Levin Gelman
  263. Matthew Levine
  264. Donna Lichaw
  265. Håkon Wium Lie
  266. Colin Lieberman
  267. Dave Linabury
  268. Margit Link-Rodrigue
  269. Caren Litherland
  270. Mark Llobrera
  271. Ian Lloyd
  272. Paul Lloyd
  273. Sue Lockwood
  274. Michael Lopp
  275. Rachel Lovinger
  276. Michael Lovitt
  277. Daniel Ludwin
  278. Jenn Lukas
  279. Erin Lynch
  280. Patrick Lynch
  281. Kelsey Lynn Lundberg
  282. Chris MacGregor
  283. Jeffrey MacIntyre
  284. Dougal MacPherson
  285. Søren Madsen
  286. Dennis A. Mahoney
  287. Dan Mall
  288. Rosie Manning
  289. Ethan Marcotte
  290. Matty Mariansky
  291. Mat Marquis
  292. Samuel Marshall
  293. Lisa Maria Martin
  294. John Martz
  295. Mehdi Maujood
  296. Cassie McDaniel
  297. Justin McDowell
  298. Gerry McGovern
  299. Karen McGrane
  300. Randall Snare and Elizabeth McGuane
  301. Nellie McKesson
  302. Drew McLellan
  303. Mica McPheeters
  304. Pete McVicar
  305. Timothy Meaney
  306. Garann Means
  307. Shawn Medero
  308. Tim Meehan
  309. Aaron Mentele
  310. Erika Meyer
  311. Eric Meyer
  312. Justin Mezzell
  313. Bojan Mihelac
  314. Robert Miller
  315. Robin (roblimo) Miller
  316. David F. Miller
  317. Chris Mills
  318. Wilson Miner
  319. Craig Mod
  320. Cameron Moll
  321. Mike Monteiro
  322. Peter Morville
  323. Trenton Moss
  324. Alice Mottola
  325. Lee Moyer
  326. Lyle Mullican
  327. Rebecca Murphey
  328. Brendan Murray
  329. Timothy Murtaugh
  330. Rachel Nabors
  331. Sarah B. Nelson
  332. Mark Newhouse
  333. Jorunn D. Newth
  334. Paul Novitski
  335. Matthew O'Neill
  336. George Oates
  337. Brandon Oelling
  338. Brandon Olejniczak
  339. George Olsen
  340. Ross Olson
  341. Mark Otto
  342. Nick Padmore
  343. Sarah Parmenter
  344. Rick Pastoor
  345. Dana Pavlichko
  346. Alan Pearce
  347. Jason Pearce
  348. Shane Pearlman
  349. Ross Penman
  350. Nathan Peretic
  351. Yesenia Perez-Cruz
  352. Dorian Peters
  353. Veronica Picciafuoco
  354. Mike Pick
  355. Jack Pickard
  356. Heydon Pickering
  357. Andy Polaine
  358. Christophe Porteneuve
  359. Joshua Porter
  360. Eric Portis
  361. Kevin Potts
  362. Derek Powazek
  363. Shelley Powers
  364. Till Quack
  365. Whitney Quesenbery
  366. Peter Quinsey
  367. Jim Ramsey
  368. Aza Raskin
  369. Jim Ray
  370. Our Gentle Readers
  371. Aaron Rester
  372. Sam Richard
  373. Stephanie Rieger
  374. Nick Rigby
  375. Matt Riggott
  376. Daniel Ritzenthaler
  377. Christopher Robbins
  378. Stuart Robertson
  379. Susan Robertson
  380. Rich Robinson
  381. D. Keith Robinson
  382. Jason Rodriguez
  383. Marco Rogers
  384. Mike Rohde
  385. Pepi Ronalds
  386. Stewart Rosenberger
  387. Lou Rosenfeld
  388. Chris Ross-Gill
  389. Dave Rupert
  390. Andy Rutledge
  391. Richard Rutter
  392. Joseph Ryan
  393. Gian Sampson-Wild
  394. Jason Santa Maria
  395. Cédric Savarese
  396. Sbritt
  397. Alex Schmidt
  398. Christopher Schmitt
  399. Adam Schumacher
  400. Erin Scime
  401. Paul Sciortino
  402. Thomas Scott
  403. Ryan Seddon
  404. Tomer Sharon
  405. Al Shaw
  406. Dave Shea
  407. Peter K Sheerin
  408. Robbie Shepherd
  409. Eric Shepherd
  410. Sophie Shepherd
  411. Nick Sherman
  412. David Sherwin
  413. Jeremiah Shoaf
  414. Daniel Short
  415. Orr Shtuhl
  416. Kim Siever
  417. Amber Simmons
  418. Michael Slater
  419. David Sleight
  420. Kristin Smaby
  421. Jonathan Smiley
  422. Paul Smith
  423. Tim Smith
  424. Jonathan Snook
  425. Eric Sol
  426. Sara Soueidan
  427. Paul Sowden
  428. ALA Staff
  429. Ruth Stalker-Firth
  430. Russ Starke
  431. Alan Stearns
  432. Hallvord R.M. Steen
  433. Joe Di Stefano
  434. Bob Stein
  435. Krista Stevens
  436. Walter Stevenson
  437. Noah Stokes
  438. Elliot Stokes
  439. Greg Storey
  440. Brian Suda
  441. Rob Swan
  442. Allen Tan
  443. Tyler Tate
  444. Olivier Thereaux
  445. Drew Thomas
  446. Emmanuel King Turner
  447. Dan Turner
  448. Russ Unger
  449. Nick Usborne
  450. Santiago Valdarrama
  451. Marc van den Dobbelsteen
  452. Rian van der Merwe
  453. Bobby van der Sluis
  454. Roel Van Gils
  455. Jeffrey Veen
  456. David Verba
  457. Lea Verou
  458. Corey Vilhauer
  459. Sergio Villarreal
  460. Casper Voogt
  461. Sophia Voychehovski
  462. The W3C
  463. The W3C QA Group
  464. Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  465.   waferbaby
  466. Aarron Walter
  467. Denice Warren
  468. Samantha Warren
  469. Dan Webb
  470. Eileen Webb
  471. Rose Weisburd
  472. Yoav Weiss
  473. Lisa Welchman
  474. Mike West
  475. Brian Williams
  476. Christina Wodtke
  477. Carolyn Wood
  478. Jeremy Wright
  479. Tim Wright
  480. Luke Wroblewski
  481. Mark Wyner
  482. Victor Yocco
  483. Indi Young
  484. Nicholas Zakas
  485. Jack Zeal
  486. Jeffrey Zeldman
  487. Ping Zhu