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