OR 

Owning the Role of the Front-End Developer

When I started working as a web developer in 2009, I spent most of my time crafting HTML/CSS layouts from design comps. My work was the final step of a linear process in which designers, clients, and other stakeholders made virtually all of the decisions. Whether I was working for an agency or as a freelancer, there was no room for a developer‘s input on client work other than when we were called to answer specific technical questions. Mos

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Meeting Design

A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 2 (‘The Design Constraint of All Meetings‘) of Meeting Design: For Managers, Makers, and Everyone by Kevin Hoffman, available now from Two Waves.Jane is a ‘do it right, or I‘ll do it myself ‘ kind of person. She leads marketing, customer service, and information technology teams for a small airline that operates between islands of the Carib

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Going Offline

A note from the editors: We‘re excited to share Chapter 1 of Going Offline by Jeremy Keith, available this month from A Book Apart.Businesses are built on the web. Without the web, Twitter couldn‘t exist. Facebook couldn‘t exist. And not just businesses-Wikipedia couldn‘t exist. Your favorite blog couldn‘t exist without the web. The web doesn‘t favor any one kind of use. It‘s been deliberately designed to

favicon of http://alistapart.com

So You Want to Write an Article?

So you want to write an article. Maybe you‘ve got a great way of organizing your CSS, or you‘re a designer who has a method of communicating really well with developers, or you have some insight into how to best use a new technology. Whatever the topic, you have insights, you‘ve read the basics of finding your voice, and you‘re ready to write and submit your first article for a major publication. Here‘s the thing: mo

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Planning for Everything

A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 7 (‘Reflecting‘) of Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals by Peter Morville, available now from Semantic Studios.Once upon a time, there was a happy family. Every night at dinner, mom, dad, and two girls who still believed in Santa played a game. The rules are simple. Tell three stories about your day, two true, one false, and see who can de

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Priority Guides: A Content-First Alternative to Wireframes

No matter your role, if you‘ve ever been involved in a digital design project, chances are you‘re familiar with wireframes. After all, they‘re among the most popular and widely used tools when designing websites, apps, dashboards, and other digital user interfaces. But they do have their problems, and wireframes are so integrated into the accepted way of working that many don‘t consider those drawbacks. That‘s a sha

favicon of http://alistapart.com

The Slow Death of Internet Explorer and the Future of Progressive Enhancement

My first full-time developer job was at a small company. We didn‘t have BrowserStack, so we cobbled together a makeshift device lab. Viewing a site I‘d been making on a busted first-generation iPad with an outdated version of Safari, I saw a distorted, failed mess. It brought home to me a quote from Douglas Crockford, who once deemed the web ‘the most hostile software engineering environment imaginable.‘ The ‘works

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Design Like a Teacher

In 2014, the clinic where I served as head of communications and digital strategy switched to a new online patient portal, a change that was mandated by the electronic health record (EHR) system we used. The company that provides the EHR system held several meetings for the COO and me to learn the new tool and provided materials to give to patients to help them register for and use the new portal. As the sole person at my clinic working on any a

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Discovery on a Budget: Part II

Welcome to the second installment of the ‘Discovery on a Budget‘ series, in which we explore how to conduct effective discovery research when there is no existing data to comb through, no stakeholders to interview, and no slush fund to draw upon. In part 1 of this series, we discussed how it is helpful to articulate what you know (and what you assume) in the form of a problem hypothesis. We also covered strategies for conducting one o

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Conversational Design

A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Erika Hall‘s new book, Conversational Design, available now from A Book Apart.Texting is how we talk now. We talk by tapping tiny messages on touchscreens-we message using SMS via mobile data networks, or through apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp..article-layout .main-content > figure.quote:first-child figcaption { margin-top: 1rem; } In 2015, the Pew

favicon of http://alistapart.com

The Illusion of Control in Web Design

We all want to build robust and engaging web experiences. We scrutinize every detail of an interaction. We spend hours getting the animation swing just right. We refactor our JavaScript to shave tiny fractions of a second off load times. We control absolutely everything we can, but the harsh reality is that we control less than we think. Last week, two events reminded us, yet again, of how right Douglas Crockford was when he declared the web &ls

favicon of http://alistapart.com

We‘re Looking for People Who Love to Write

Here at A List Apart, we‘re looking for new authors, and that means you. What should you write about? Glad you asked! You should write about topics that keep you up at night, passions that make you the first to show up in the office each morning, ideas that matter to our community and about which you have a story to tell or an insight to share. We‘re not looking for case studies about your company or thousand-foot overviews of topi

favicon of http://alistapart.com

My Accessibility Journey: What I‘ve Learned So Far

Last year I gave a talk about CSS and accessibility at the stahlstadt.js meetup in Linz, Austria. Afterward, an attendee asked why I was interested in accessibility: Did I or someone in my life have a disability? I‘m used to answering this question-to which the answer is no-because I get it all the time. A lot of people seem to assume that a personal connection is the only reason someone would care about accessibility. This is a problem.

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Designing for Research

If you‘ve spent enough time developing for the web, this piece of feedback has landed in your inbox since time immemorial: ‘This photo looks blurry. Can we replace it with a better version?‘ Every time this feedback reaches me, I‘m inclined to question it: ‘What about the photo looks bad to you, and can you tell me why?‘ That‘s a somewhat unfair question to counter with. The complaint is rooted in a su

favicon of http://alistapart.com

CSS: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition

A note from the editors: We‘re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 19 (‘Filters, Blending, Clipping, and Masking‘) of CSS: The Definitive Guide, 4th Edition by Eric Meyer and Estelle Weyl, available now from O‘Reilly.In addition to filtering, CSS offers the ability to determine how elements are composited together. Take, for example, two elements that partially overlap due to positioning. We‘re used to the one i

favicon of http://alistapart.com

A DIY Web Accessibility Blueprint

The summer of 2017 marked a monumental victory for the millions of Americans living with a disability. On June 13th, a Southern District of Florida Judge ruled that Winn-Dixie‘s inaccessible website violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This case marks the first trial under the ADA, which was passed into law in 1990. Despite spending more than 7 million to revamp its website in 2016, Winn-Dixie neglected to include des

favicon of http://alistapart.com

The King vs. Pawn Game of UI Design

If you want to improve your UI design skills, have you tried looking at chess? I know it sounds contrived, but hear me out. I‘m going to take a concept from chess and use it to build a toolkit of UI design strategies. By the end, we‘ll have covered color, typography, lighting and shadows, and more. But it all starts with rooks and pawns. I want you to think back to the first time you ever played chess (if you‘ve never played c

favicon of http://alistapart.com

We Write CSS Like We Did in the 90s, and Yes, It‘s Silly

As web developers, we marvel at technology. We enjoy the many tools that help with our work: multipurpose editors, frameworks, libraries, polyfills and shims, content management systems, preprocessors, build and deployment tools, development consoles, production monitors-the list goes on. Our delight in these tools is so strong that no one questions whether a small website actually requires any of them. Tool obesity is the new WYSIWYG-the web de

favicon of http://alistapart.com

Working with External User Researchers: Part II

In the first installment of the Working with External User Researchers series, we explored the reasons why you might hire a user researcher on contract and helpful things to consider in choosing one. This time, we talk about getting the actual work done. You‘ve hired a user researcher for your project. Congrats! On paper, this person (or team of people) has everything you need and more. You might think the hardest part of your project is c

favicon of http://alistapart.com