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Issue № 342

Designers, seize the day! Transcend mobile platform differences, harness the power of an open-source front-end toolkit, and band together to change the world.

A Pixel Identity Crisis

by Scott Kellum · 45 Comments

The pixel has long been the atomic particle of screen based design: a knowable, concrete unit of measurement. But layouts based on the hardware pixel are fast becoming an endangered species. Even the introduction of a new, W3C standard reference pixel, although it promises stability in the long-term, can't help us navigate the current chaos. Consider the two "standard" pixel definitions and 500 "standard" viewports your user's Android device may support. To create designs that transcend platform differences, the promise of the web and standards, you must normalize pixels across devices. Scott Kellum shows how math and media queries can keep you sane and help you design consistently across platforms.

Building Twitter Bootstrap

by Mark Otto · 21 Comments

Bootstrap is an open-source front-end toolkit created to help designers and developers quickly and efficiently build great stuff online. Its goal is to provide a refined, well-documented, and extensive library of flexible design components created with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for others to build and innovate on. Today, it has grown to include dozens of components and has become the most popular project on GitHub, with more than 13,000 watchers and 2,000 forks. Mark Otto, the co-creator of Bootstrap, sheds light on how and why Bootstrap was made, the processes used to create it, and how it has grown as a design system.

An Important Time for Design

by Cameron Koczon · 22 Comments

Design is on a roll. Client services are experiencing a major uptick in demand, seasoned design professionals are abandoning client work in favor of entrepreneurship, and designer-co-founded startups such as Kickstarter and Airbnb are taking center stage. It's becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that design has a massive role to play in the evolution of the web and the next generation of web products. The result, says Cameron Koczon, is that designers have now been given a blank check, one that lets web designers band together as a community to change the way design is perceived; change the way products are built; and quite possibly change the world.

More from A List Apart

Columnists

Rian van der Merwe on A View from a Different Valley

The Distance to Here

The people who determine product strategy move through a world of analysts, media, division leads, shareholders, stakeholders, monetization, and marketability. They seldom get a chance to come back to the corner where users and designers mingle. Rian van der Merwe suspects that increasing the communication distance between the decision makers and the product’s builders and users leads to a loss of perspective—and the results are products with marketable features that no one really needs.

From the Blog

On Our Radar: Faux-Naïve

On our radar these days: Google rebrands. A web animation expert refuses to speak at your conference if it doesn’t have a code of conduct. Preload hints can help you load your web fonts faster. A new site launches that hopes to bridge the gender gap in communication design. Your weekend reading awaits!

On Our Radar: Pretty Advanced Machine Learning

Between bots and blogging, newsrooms are getting into Slack in some very cool ways (take some inspiration and apply for a Knight-Mozilla Fellowship!). Plus more recommended reading: revisiting Cameron’s World; the joy of generalists; the finer points of faving; and one really excellent gif of cats.