SMACSS

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SMACSS

Over the past few weeks I’ve been putting the basics of a responsive HTML framework together. I’ve been thinking a lot about an object-oriented, modular approach and SMACSS, a short, free-on-the-web book by Jonathan Snook, has been a major influence on my thinking.

If you want your HTML and CSS to be cleaner, simpler and more scalable and reusable I’d definitely suggest you give it a read.

dConstruct Optimisation

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dConstruct Optimisation

Jeremy Keith details some of the optimisation techniques used in the creation of the dConstruct 2012 conference website. The fuzzy jpeg trick is particularly cool, as is adding images directly into the stylesheet as Base64-encoded data.

The general message is timely too. The old problems of bandwidth are new again, thanks to mobile and mobile-mediated browsing. And  solving them is your responsibility if you want to be considered a professional web designer/developer.

My last day at Equator

Nearly 4 and a half years ago, I arrived at the Equator offices with a huge sense of stepping into the unknown. I’d been a professional web developer for three years before that day, working in a relatively low-pressure environment on in-house projects, as the only web developer in an office of health researchers, teaching myself Web Standards-based front-end development in the process. But I’d decided I need a step up and I wanted to see if I could work in an agency setting, with the attendant pressures. I wanted a challenge, but I was very uncertain if I was up to it.

It turns out the greatest challenge and the greatest reward I’ve had at Equator is learning all the stuff beyond HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Planning and scoping projects, reviewing and breaking down designs, communicating with others, managing a heavy workload. All the things that you can only learn by doing, and by doing within a group of experts. So much of what I do now is entirely due to the generosity and passion of my colleagues who were always willing to explain and share. I wonder if I’d known how little I was prepared for it, whether I would have stepped through the door in the first place. But I did and it turned out pretty well.

But, the time has come for me to take that step again, and find a new challenge to work on. So today is my last day at Equator Towers. I’m not moving far, but I’ll miss being part of this team enormously.

All the best for the future, guys. Can’t wait to see the things you’ll make and the successes you’ll have. And I’m looking forward to shooting the development breeze over a pint in the pub for a long time to come.

Planting the seed for a responsive future

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Planting the seed for a responsive future

Brad Frost notes a potential lemonade-making opportunity in creating a separate mobile site. What you are doing is engaging in a (hopefully) mobile-first, stripped-down and content-focused design an development effort that can form the seed of a more complete adaptive web solution in the future.

There are still legitimate reasons for going down the separate mobile route when it comes to delivering web services. Not getting ideological about it helps in spotting the potential for combining what are simply different tools and toolkits to produce something that can remain useful and sustainable as your needs change with time.

Most web design agencies suck

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Most web design agencies suck

90% of everything is rubbish, and, as Andy Budd spells out in no uncertain terms, that includes web design agencies. If you find this uncomfortably familiar, do yourself a favour and do something about it. Life’s too short for mediocre bollocks.

Give it five minutes

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Give it five minutes

A great and simple piece of advice from Jason Fried about reacting to new ideas. Give them five minutes in your head before making a judgement.

Speaking from experience, those five minutes can often turn an initial negative reaction into something better. Sometimes your mind will be changed. Sometimes you’re first instinct will be reinforced, but you’ll have thought it through. Most often, though, some insight or better idea will emerge and things will be better as a result.

Responsive navigation patterns

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Responsive navigation patterns

A nice overview of the different approaches you can take when tackling navigation menus in responsive layouts.

Personally, I like the toggle approach, as long as it’s built in progressive way. A semantic heading for the menu list, hidden in the larger layouts, provides a nice hook upon which to hang the toggle button functionality.