Archive: March, 2013

Modular CSS with media queries and Sass

Louis Lazaris offers a fairly novel approach for trying to write more modular, SMACSS like CSS code with media queries. Louis pushes for a lot of small, repetitive media queries that can be paired visually close to the original non-media declaration. I see what he’s after, though I still think in the end I favor the more traditional move to keep all the media queries shoved at the bottom. The article is still worth a read and may click with your workflow better than mine.


A great central repository for alternatives to Google Reader. It’s a smart concept: people vote on Twitter for their favorites and the list is generated accordingly, with the most popular options listed at the top. So far I’ve been heavily testing Feedly, with planned later forays into Newsblur and maybe Bloglovin.

Improving UX through front-end performance

Engineer Lara Swanson writes an excellent article for A List Apart on how overall UX design can be greatly improved with some performance optimization. It’s true some of her suggestions should be obvious (e.g. sprites, cutting down on HTTP requests), but there’s still real insight here. It’s an especially important read for designers: I’ve seen way too many beautiful designs that have way too many requests and inefficiently load imagery.

The opposite of fail: the story of FTL

Polygon’s Tracey Lien:

[FTL creator] Davis says that in most video games, the player is always the pilot, never the commander, whereas in science fiction like Star Trek or Firefly, the fiction focuses on the commander. “It seemed strange that when people want to bring that world to life, they put you in the pilot’s shoes. We thought it would be fun to put players in the commander’s shoes for once.”

Davis and Ma wrote up a long list of one-paragraph game pitches to prototype. They would be small, manageable games that two people could complete on their own. The game they chose to go with would have to be finished within a year, because that was all they had budgeted for. Among the pitches inspired by board games, roguelikes and all the genres that excited them was a 2D, top-down management game called FTL.

A fun little indie game and a great success story.

Leaning into longform

This is one of the best articles regarding web optimization for long form reading I’ve read in a while. Lots of great tips: don’t break page flow between articles, test how the typography looks on multiple devices and much more.

Introducing a new article design

It’s very exciting to see The New York Times redesign their (now pretty dated) web design. Looking at this official blog post I’m tentatively encouraged; it’s got a much cleaner implementation along with that very hot ‘off canvas’ side navigation. Overall, it seems far more content focused and responsive friendly.

The gradient chart

Designer Cennydd Bowles poses a really interesting and shrewd method to determine whether when drafting up a game plan for a web site, if it makes sense to go with a responsive or separate mobile and desktop design route. A key takeaway is both responsive web design and a separate mobile site approach can’t be labeled as the exclusive best choice for all web platforms. Instead you have to step back and ask what your site’s feature set is along with the focus of your different audiences and how they overlap.

We use Trello

The development agency Monterail wrote a cool post recently talking about how great Trello and a Kanban methodology works for project management. I’m not a PM at my current day job, but I’ve found for both my work and personal workflow that Trello is pretty awesome. My usage is so simplistic it’s pretty hard to argue that in my case it’s only a step or two above glorified to-do list, but for me the big difference is the visuals. I can easily see if I’m getting slammed with priorities or what’s left at a glance; I’m never losing context and sight of the big picture.

Using Flexbox: mixing old and new for the best browser support

Chris Coyier is a genius when it comes to CSS, yet this article I think illustrates some of the limitations for Flexbox when it comes to modern web design, at least for sites with a broad audience. Flexbox is an awesome property, but it clearly requires a lot of vendor specific CSS for coverage, and the lack of IE 9 or lower support isn’t great.

Sony didn’t actually show us the PS4’s casing…so what?

Ars Technica‘s Kyle Orland:

The actual PS4 casing, whatever it looks like, isn’t really going to be that important to the way you actually experience the console. Like every console that’s come before it, the PlayStation 4 is going to be a box that sits in your entertainment center. You’ll interact with it directly for maybe five seconds while you put in a disc and turn the system on (even less if you download games and use the power button on the controller). After that, you’ll be ignoring the casing for hours as you stare at the images on the TV screen—you know, the kind of images that Sony actually made the focus of its announcement last week.

There’s been many ‘why we should have/shouldn’t have seen the box’ arguments, but Kyle’s resonates the most with my viewpoint. Compared to so many other factors – price, game selection, UI, to name a few – the look of the box is pretty unimportant.