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