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Topic: State of the Web

Can standards help us cope with varying screen sizes, pixel densities, input types, and more? Universal design in real life: if our sites are supposed to be accessible to anyone, why aren't our conferences and events? Publication standards. Responsive images and web standards. For a future-friendly web. What ate the periodical? The vendor prefix predicament. Conversation is the new attention.

  • Meaningful CSS: Style Like You Mean It

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    Our markup too often remains a snarl of divs, our CSS a chaos of classes. Tim Baxter urges us to move beyond that. We can use real objects now instead of abstract representations. We can write CSS to support our markup instead of the other way around, and both can be more semantic and meaningful. The browser support is there; the standards are in place. Only habit is stopping us.

  • Back to the Future in 2016

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    Practicing kickflips. Standing still. Drawing. Learning JavaScript (finally). Messing around with Arduino. Reading and writing books. Jumping into CSS Grid Layout. Sunbathing with cats. We asked some of our smartest friends in the web design and development communities what new focuses they planned to bring to their lives and work in 2016. Their answers fell into four categories—design, insight, tools, and work—but one idea cropped up over and over: sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward.

  • 2015 Summer Reading Issue

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    The dog days are upon us—but instead of giving up in the summer swelter, take heart! We’ve got an extra-special reading list of bright, insightful brainfood. ALA’s third annual summer reader explores what's been on the web industry’s mind lately, from accessibility to performance, from CSS techniques to web type, from mentorship to more collaborative approaches. It’s a list as cool and fancy as a watermelon-basil popsicle. Yeah, that does sound good, doesn’t it? Kick back, chill out, and get to reading.

  • Container Queries: Once More Unto the Breach

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    Media queries have been the go-to tool in building responsive sites, allowing us to resize and recombine modules to suit multiple contexts, layouts, and viewports. But relying on fixed viewport sizes can quickly twist stylesheets into Gordian knots. We still need a future-friendly way to manage responsive CSS. Mat Marquis explores the problem and the progress toward the solution—and issues a rallying call.

  • No Good Can Come of Bad Code

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    More than a decade after we won the battle for web standards, too much code is still crap. Dr. Web is back to answer your career and industry questions. This time out, the good doctor considers what you can do when your boss is satisfied with third-party code that would make Stalin yak.

  • Instant Web

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    For some, Facebook’s Instant Articles is a sign that the traditional web stack is incapable of giving users a first-class reading experience. But the sluggish performance of the web isn’t due to an inherent flaw in the technology. That particular problem originates between the seat and the keyboard, where builders make choices that bloat their sites. For Mark Llobrera, Instant Articles is a sign that we need to prioritize performance like we actually mean it.

  • SHOUTERS, Inc.

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    Sometimes, to make change happen, there has to be shouting. Other times, the shouting has to stop to allow change to happen. Right now we need to be talking—and listening—to each other, in our industry as well as in society. So why is it so hard to get these conversations going? Well, there’s the genuine guilt and anger that makes this super uncomfortable. On top of that, could it be we often lose our nerve at the prospect of feeding the indignation of the ALL-CAPS side of the internet? WAKE UP PEOPLE!

  • Standardization and the Open Web

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    How do web standards become, well, standard? Although they’re often formalized through official standards-making organizations, they can also emerge through popular practice among the developer community. If both sides don’t work together, we risk delaying implementation, stifling creativity, and losing ground to politics and paralysis. Jory Burson sheds light on the historical underpinnings of web standardization processes—and what that means for the future of the open web.

  • The Ways We’ve Changed—and Stayed the Same

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    A perusal of the article titles in the seasonal magazine 24 ways shows how the things we’ve needed to learn and keep up with have changed since 2005. Amid all this change, one thing that remains evergreen is the generosity of web people in sharing their knowledge.

  • Cultivating the Next Generation of Web Professionals

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    One of the most meaningful and lasting ways we can impact the future of the web is through the values and attitudes we instill in the next generation of web workers. Through informal mentoring, classroom outreach, internships, and more, we can offer support and opportunities to those new to digital professions. Georgy Cohen suggests practical ways to connect with students and welcome them wholeheartedly into the web community.

  • The Doctor Is In

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    Where should new web designers go to get started? Find out in this first edition of Ask Dr. Web, where A List Apart’s founder and publisher, Jeffrey Zeldman, answers your questions about web design.

  • Our Enclosed Space

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    We tend to forget that the boots-on-the ground web generalists who do great work for small businesses can’t spare the time to implement an entire suite of best practices when they’re trying to solve one sticky problem on a tight deadline.

  • People Skills for Web Workers

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    The web touches everything an organization does—marketing to customer service, product development to branding, internal communications to recruitment. This is the era of cross-platform digital services, fast networks, and mobile devices. Sounds like the ideal time to be a person who makes websites. So why do we feel frustrated so often? Why do we experience burnout or depression? What makes it difficult to do work that has meaning, that satisfies us? Two words: people skills. Frequent ALA author Jonathan Kahn explains why they matter, and how improving our people skills will give us tools to facilitate collaboration, creating opportunities to improve our work, our organizations, and maybe even our world.

  • Sustainable Web Design

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    Do you know your website’s carbon footprint? Or how to lower it? Emissions standards have been set for the automotive, construction, and telecommunications industries, yet the internet’s carbon footprint is growing out of control: a whopping 830 million tons of CO2 annually—larger than that of the entire aviation industry. At least 40 percent of that falls partially under the responsibility of people who make websites. It’s time for web designers to do our part. James Christie explains how to slim our obese websites and simultaneously attack our industry’s carbon footprint, using methods that conveniently dovetail with good business practice and future-friendly design.

  • The Web Runs on Electricity and We’re Running Out

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    It’s a humbling thought, but as web professionals, nothing we create actually exists when the power goes out. As we increase the number of devices in our world, planning for a connected web of things in hopes that the poor will be liberated, education will be free, and our fridges will tell us we’re out of lettuce, we fail to acknowledge that we scarcely have enough fossil fuels to maintain the current state for long. Web designers need to be part of the solution—and the situation is more hopeful than you may think. Dorian Peters shows how we can exercise the surprising power that lies in seemingly small designerly decisions to help our industry not only survive, but create positive impact worldwide.

  • Summer Reading Issue

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    Presenting the second annual ALA Summer Reading Issue—a deep pool of editor’s picks from the recent archives of A List Apart, sprinkled with some of our favorite outside links. This summer’s picks are arranged in clusters that echo the design process, and like all good summer reading, they travel light. (This issue is also available as a Readlist, suitable for reading on Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Readmill, or other ebook reader.) Dive in!

  • W3C in the Wild

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    W3C really wants to hear from web designers and developers. We want our specs to be useful to you and to keep up with real-world issues. We've set about to broaden our community and to find new feedback channels that work better for busy web professionals. If you're reading this, you're part of the community we want to talk with more.

  • The Future is Unevenly Superdistributed

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    Tools that give users ever more control over formatting, timeshifting, and sharing will continue to proliferate. This steady growth runs directly counter to the simple, one-to-many broadcast model enjoyed by many publishers in the past.

  • A List Apart 5.0

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    A design that departs from our past and a platform on which to build the future. Welcome to the relaunch of A List Apart, for people who make websites.

  • What We Learned in 2012

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    A new A List Apart means a new design, new features, and renewed excitement about the future. But before plowing full-steam into tomorrow-land, we asked some of our friendly authors and readers to share lessons they learned last year, and how those lessons can help all of us work smarter in 2013.