Of all the buzzwords in tech, perhaps none has been deployed with as much philosophical conviction as “frictionless.” Over the past decade or so, eliminating “friction” — the name given to any quality that makes a product more difficult or time-consuming to use — has become an obsession of the tech industry, accepted as gospel by many of the world’s largest companies.
Losing [browser] engines is like losing languages. People may wish that everyone spoke the same language, they may claim it leads to easier understanding, but what people fail to consider is that this leads to losing all the culture and way of thought that that language produced. If you are a Web developer smiling and happy that Microsoft might be adopting Chrome, and this will make your work easier because it will be one less browser to test, don’t be! You’re trading convenience for diversity.
While certainly not prescriptive, Brad Frost gives a few compelling reasons for building UI code in a dedicated workshop environment instead of authoring directly inside of an application environment.
Working in a dedicated workshop environment provides a clear separation between the UI design system and the specific application(s) it serves. This helps everyone think of the UI as its own entity that can power multiple applications. Creating UI code within a specific application codebase couples the UI and application code, making it harder to pull apart if and when the need comes to send that UI code to other properties.
For those of you that have looked at performance testing you will be aware of the TTFB, or Time To First Byte. While that's important to know how quick the browser gets anything at all from your server, it doesn't tell us what on the server is affecting that number.
There’s very little browser optimisations can do to improve a page that is simply slow to build on the server. That cost is incurred between the browser making the request for the file and receiving the response.
I recently asked a friend who happens to be blind if he’d share some sites that were built really well – sites that were beautifully accessible. You know what he said? “I don’t use the web. Everything is broken.”
Everything is broken. And it’s broken because we broke it.
In all honesty I'm one of those website owners that really doesn't need website analytics. So I've removed Google Analytics from my website.
I think if I ever consider using analytics again, I'll take a look at Fathom:
It will track users on a website, the key actions they are taking, and give you a non-nerdy breakdown of their journey. It’ll do so with user-centric rights and privacy, and without selling, sharing or giving away the data you collect.
Una says: "CSS grid is AMAZING! However, if you need to support users of IE11 and below, or Edge 15 and below, grid won't really work as you expect (more info here). This site is a solution for you so you can start to progressively enhance without fear!"
A blast from the past I know. Written 17 years ago in fact! John Allsopp's article still has wonderful reminders and nuggets for us today.
The web’s greatest strength, I believe, is often seen as a limitation, as a defect. It is the nature of the web to be flexible, and it should be our role as designers and developers to embrace this flexibility, and produce pages which, by being flexible, are accessible to all.
I really appreciate this post from Mandy Michael. It touches on some things that Brad Frost talked about in his post about full-stack developers.
What I am very concerned about is that many still don’t see value in being skilled in CSS & HTML. This attitude is something I just don’t understand. All of us working together provide value in our industry. HTML & CSS are very important pieces of this puzzle, and I (perhaps naively) thought we had evolved to a point where we were starting to appreciate the challenges each of us face in our different areas of expertise. I guess I was wrong because this attitude is still clearly still prevalent.
If only every journalist with Souad Mekhennet’s culture-straddling perspective and access would write an incisive book like this. It will haunt you, because the truth on the page is vaster than anything we’re usually offered.
Sometimes you want to know what Autoprefixer generates before setting up your Grunt / Gulp / NPM config task. That, or the site you’re working on doesn’t use a front-end task builder and you need to know which prefixes to manually add to your SCSS/CSS.
Designing for humans is tough. We design for millions, but every interaction between our work and a user is personal, and we aren’t taught to take care with those interactions. I created this course because I want everything we design to meet the real needs and wants of real people.
Silicon Valley’s biggest failing is not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry.
I've used and loved (still do) Sublime Text for years – but have recently really been enjoying Visual Studio Code. It's a text editor at heart but has some lovely lean IDE functionality as well. Thinking of making a switch to it completely.
Richard Rutter writes about variable fonts. So many variations from a single file!
In October 2016, version 1.8 of OpenType was released, and with it an extensive new technology: OpenType Font Variations. More commonly known as variable fonts, the technology enables a single font file to behave like multiple fonts. This is done by defining variations within the font, which are interpolated along one or more axes. Two of these axes might be width and weight, but the type designer can define many others too.
Several years from now, I want to be able to look back on this time the same way people look at other natural disasters. Without that terrible earthquake, we would have never improved our building codes. Without that terrible flood, we would have never built those levees. Without that terrible hurricane, we would have never rebuilt this amazing city. Without that terrible disease, we would have never developed antibodies against it.
It doesn’t require giving any credit to the disaster. The disaster will always be a complete fucking disaster. But it does involve using the disaster as an opportunity to take a hard look at what got us here and rededicate our energy towards things that will get us out.