An interesting idea from Chris: instead of linearising content on smaller screens, what if you could interweave it instead? Theoretically, CSS regions makes it possible, regardless of source order.
Archive: March 23rd, 2012
The Long Now blog is featuring the bet between myself and Matt on URL longevity. Just being mentioned on that site gives me a warm glow.
Scott has created a one-stop-shop for documenting browser bugs in mobile devices. Feel free to add to it.
An in-depth look at where Google is going wrong.
Anger is an energy, especially when it’s coming from Tom …and for once, it’s not about the Semantic Web.
Seriously though, this is a great piece of writing. This is what blogs are for.
A handy performance testing tool from Pingdom, similar to Google’s offering.
Existential ennui delivered through interface copy.
Sharing pattern libraries
I’ve been huffduffing talks from this year’s South by Southwest, revisiting some of the ones I saw and catching up with some of the ones I missed.
There are some really design and development resources in there that I didn’t get to see in person:
- Samantha’s talk on Faster Design Decisions with Style Tiles,
- Josh’s talk on Tapworthy Touchscreen Design, and
- Scott’s talk on Why Mobile Apps Must Die.
It was excellent.
You can have a look through the slides.
He talks about different approaches to creating maintainable CSS for large-scale projects. He touches on naming conventions for classes, something that Nicolas Gallagher wrote about recently. And while he makes reference to SASS and Compass, Andy makes the compelling point that’s what more interesting than powerful tools is the arrival of powerful approaches like SMACSS and OOCSS.
Over and over again, Andy makes the point that we must think in terms of creating design systems, not simply styling individual pages—something that Paul has also spoken about. One of the most powerful tools for making that change in thinking is in the creation of style guides for the web and Paul has even created blog dedicated to the BBC’s style guide.
Andy referenced the BBC GEL style guide in his talk but pointed out that because it’s published as a PDF rather than markup, it isn’t as powerful as it could be—there’s inevitably a loss of signal when the patterns are translated into HTML and CSS. Someone from the BBC was in the audience, and in the Q and A portion, acknowledged that that was a really good point.
After the talk I got chatting with Lincoln Mongillo who worked on the recent responsive redesign of Starbucks.com. He mentioned that they created a markup and CSS style guide for the project. “You know what would be really cool?” I said. “If you published it!”
In my experience, creating a pattern library for any project is immensely valuable, whether you’re working in a team of two or a team of two hundred. I’ve found they work well as the next step after Style Tiles: a way of translating the visual vocabulary of a site into markup and CSS without getting bogged down in the specifics of page structure or layout (very handy for a Content First approach). The modularity of a pattern library enforces a healthy separation of concerns.
Breaking interfaces down into patterns has been immensely helpful in learning and re-evaluating the best possible code to implement them.
But Pears isn’t about how I code these patterns—it’s a tool for creating your own.
I love that. These style guides and pattern libraries aren’t being published in an attempt to provide ready-made solutions—every project should have its own distinct pattern library. Instead, these pattern libraries are being published in a spirit of openness and sharing …a way of saying “Hey, this is what worked for us in these particular circumstances.”
For that, I am very grateful.
Yet another great post from Brad:
Whenever I think of the concept of “One Web” and providing universal access to information on the web, I tend to break it down into something much simpler: give people what they ask for.