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
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  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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  115. Garin Evans
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  277. Samuel Marshall
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  279. John Martz
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  282. Karen McGrane
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  294. Eric Meyer
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  298. Robin (roblimo) Miller
  299. David F. Miller
  300. Chris Mills
  301. Wilson Miner
  302. Craig Mod
  303. Cameron Moll
  304. Mike Monteiro
  305. Peter Morville
  306. Trenton Moss
  307. Alice Mottola
  308. Lee Moyer
  309. Lyle Mullican
  310. Rebecca Murphey
  311. Tim Murtaugh
  312. Rachel Nabors
  313. Sarah B. Nelson
  314. Mark Newhouse
  315. Jorunn D. Newth
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  317. Matthew O'Neill
  318. George Oates
  319. Brandon Oelling
  320. Brandon Olejniczak
  321. George Olsen
  322. Ross Olson
  323. Mark Otto
  324. Nick Padmore
  325. Rick Pastoor
  326. Alan Pearce
  327. Jason Pearce
  328. Shane Pearlman
  329. Ross Penman
  330. Nathan Peretic
  331. Yesenia Perez-Cruz
  332. Dorian Peters
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  334. Mike Pick
  335. Jack Pickard
  336. Heydon Pickering
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  339. Joshua Porter
  340. Eric Portis
  341. Kevin Potts
  342. Derek Powazek
  343. Shelley Powers
  344. Till Quack
  345. Whitney Quesenbery
  346. Peter Quinsey
  347. Jim Ramsey
  348. Aza Raskin
  349. Jim Ray
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  351. Aaron Rester
  352. Sam Richard
  353. Stephanie Rieger
  354. Nick Rigby
  355. Matt Riggott
  356. Daniel Ritzenthaler
  357. Christopher Robbins
  358. Stuart Robertson
  359. Susan Robertson
  360. Rich Robinson
  361. D. Keith Robinson
  362. Jason Rodriguez
  363. Mike Rohde
  364. Pepi Ronalds
  365. Stewart Rosenberger
  366. Lou Rosenfeld
  367. Chris Ross-Gill
  368. Dave Rupert
  369. Andy Rutledge
  370. Richard Rutter
  371. Joseph Ryan
  372. Gian Sampson-Wild
  373. Jason Santa Maria
  374. Cédric Savarese
  375. sbritt
  376. Christopher Schmitt
  377. Adam Schumacher
  378. Erin Scime
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  380. Thomas Scott
  381. Ryan Seddon
  382. Al Shaw
  383. Dave Shea
  384. Peter K Sheerin
  385. Robbie Shepherd
  386. Eric Shepherd
  387. Sophie Shepherd
  388. Nick Sherman
  389. David Sherwin
  390. Daniel Short
  391. Kim Siever
  392. Amber Simmons
  393. Michael Slater
  394. David Sleight
  395. Kristin Smaby
  396. Jonathan Smiley
  397. Paul Smith
  398. Tim Smith
  399. Jonathan Snook
  400. Eric Sol
  401. Sara Soueidan
  402. Paul Sowden
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  404. Ruth Stalker-Firth
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  410. Krista Stevens
  411. Walter Stevenson
  412. Noah Stokes
  413. Elliot Stokes
  414. Greg Storey
  415. Brian Suda
  416. Rob Swan
  417. Allen Tan
  418. Tyler Tate
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  420. Drew Thomas
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  422. Russ Unger
  423. Nick Usborne
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  426. Rian van der Merwe
  427. Bobby van der Sluis
  428. Roel Van Gils
  429. Jeffrey Veen
  430. David Verba
  431. Lea Verou
  432. Corey Vilhauer
  433. Sergio Villarreal
  434. Casper Voogt
  435. The W3C
  436. The W3C QA Group
  437. Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  438. waferbaby
  439. Aarron Walter
  440. Denice Warren
  441. Samantha Warren
  442. Dan Webb
  443. Eileen Webb
  444. Rose Weisburd
  445. Yoav Weiss
  446. Lisa Welchman
  447. Mike West
  448. Brian Williams
  449. Christina Wodtke
  450. Carolyn--Wood
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  452. Tim Wright
  453. Luke Wroblewski
  454. Mark Wyner
  455. Victor Yocco
  456. Indi Young
  457. Nicholas C. Zakas
  458. Jack Zeal
  459. Jeffrey Zeldman
  460. Ping Zhu