You know, we use ad-blockers as well.
We gotta keep those servers running though. Did you know that we publish
useful books and run
friendly conferences — crafted for pros like yourself?
E.g. our upcoming SmashingConf New York, dedicated to smart front-end
techniques and design patterns.
Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, webinars and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.
You know how it works: you spend hours trying to find a workaround for a problem that you have encountered, just to realize that it doesn't quite work in, you know, that browser. Finding little techniques and tricks to help you get to results faster can immensely improve your productivity, so you don't have to waste time on solutions that will never see the light of day.
I love finding those little useful front-end goodies that make our lives easier. Since technologies emerge and evolve permanently, keeping track on what's going on is often difficult, especially since specifications change and so does the browser support. For a replacement talk at SmashingConfOxford last week, I've decided to collect some of the useful techniques from various articles, conversations and my workshops in a slide deck — and since it proved to be useful for many front-end developers I've spoken to after the talk, I'm very privileged to share it with the entire community as well.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. In attempts to fight back against the growing adoption of ad-blockers, many publishers and ad-dependent websites adopt all kinds of techniques from introducing "light" paywalls to limiting access to the site to fully blocking ad-blocker users from accessing the content altogether.
It seems a bit ironic that a website would send away potential customers that are taking measures to actually access the site faster, and read the content published on the site without annoying distractions. Don’t get me wrong: publishers need to earn money, and in most cases advertising is still the most efficient way of doing this. We know it better than anybody: with our smart tech-savvy audience, the ad-blocker usage has grown from 12% in 2012 to 55% today (as of March 2016). That’s a huge growth, and it’s a tendency that hurts us massively.
In many projects, responsive images aren’t a technical issue but a strategic concern. Delivering different images to different screens is technically possible with srcset and sizes and <picture> element and Picturefill (or a similar) polyfill; but all of those variants of images have to be created, adjusted and baked into the logic of the existing CMS. And that's not easy.
On top of that, responsive images markuphas to be generated and added into HTML as well, and if a new image variant comes into play at some point (e.g. a file format like WebP or a large landscape/portrait variant), the markup has to be updated. The amount of extra work required often causes trouble — so if you have a perfect product shot, you need to either manually create variants for mobile and portrait and landscape and larger views, or build plugins and extensions to somehow automate the process.
Nothing is perfect on the web. We can't make sure that our websites always work as intended, but we can try our best to design resilient and flexible websites that aren't that easy to break — both in terms of interface design and security. Yet neither resilience nor flexibility are usually reflected in our deliverables and mock-ups.
In practice, mock-ups usually represent a perfect experience in a perfect context with perfect data which doesn't really exist. A good example for it are “optimal" usernames which are perfectly short, fit on a single line on mobile and wrap nicely, or perfect photography that allows for perfectly legible text overlays. It's not realistic. We need to work with dynamic content in our prototypes, with both average and extremes being represented.
Some books deserve a spot at your desk. The brand new Hardboiled Web Design by Andrew Clarke is one of them. In its 5th anniversary edition, Andy explains how you can use HTML/CSS efficiently in responsive design — and how to reduce wasted time in the process with developers, designers and clients. No fluff, no theory — just insights into his own experiences with clients such as ISO and WWF.
If you get a printed copy (free worldwide shipping), you'll get the eBook for free — available in PDF, ePUB, Amazon Kindle. All printed copies will ship from Dec 8th. Softcover, 441 pages. Jump to the table of contents. Proudly published by yours truly Smashing Magazine.
Exactly 9 years ago we published the very first article on this very website. Many things changed since then, but one thing remained the same: our obsession for publishing valuable, practical quality content. We proudly stand behind our work — the books, the eBooks, the conferences; our craft is ours, but our work serves the community and belongs to everybody.
As a team, we are happy and privileged to do what we truly love, and we know that this wouldn't be possible without your kind and generous support. So thanks for sticking around. Now, a birthday calls for a birthday party, so we've prepared a little something for you to celebrate the day: a free chapter on responsive design patterns (PDF), a Mystery Riddle, a new free eBook and a birthday special: if you grab the hardcover of the Smashing Book 5 today, you'll get five Smashing eBooks as a gift for your kind support.
Relaunching a large-scale website is always quite an undertaking, especially if the task involves a huge political entity with content accumulated over a dozen years. In this article, we look behind the scenes of the responsive redesign of Kremlin.ru, Russia’s most prominent government website.
We had an opportunity to talk with Artyom Geller, one of the creative minds responsible for the design and UX of the project. We talked about the design process, the challenges and constraints, creative front-end solutions, as well as unusual budgets and stakeholders. —Ed.
Every now and then we see discussions proclaiming a profound change in the way we design and build websites. Be it progressive enhancement, the role of CSS or, most recently, web design itself being dead. All these articles raise valid points, but I'd argue that they often lack objectivity and balance, preferring one side of the argument over another one.
These discussions are great for testing the boundaries of what we think is (or is not) possible, and they challenge how we approach our craft, but they don't help us as a community to evolve together. They divide us into groups and sometimes even isolate us in small camps. Chris Coyier has published a fantastic post recently covering the debate on the role of CSS in light of growing popularity of React.js, extensively and objectively. That's the quality discussions we need, and that's what keeps us evolving as a growing and maturing community.
Smart “responsive” workflows, effective responsive design/UX patterns and powerful front-end techniques — if you need a good book on smart responsive design, our brand new Smashing Book 5 is just what you need. Neatly packed in a gorgeous hardcover, it covers time-saving, practical techniques for crafting fast, maintainable and scalable responsive websites. 584 (!) pages. Hardcover/eBook. Pre-order the book and save 15% today.
Responsive design is a default these days, but we are all still figuring out just the right process and techniques to better craft responsive websites. That’s why we created a new book — to gather practical techniques and strategies from people who have learned how to get things done right, in actual projects with actual real-world challenges.