May 23, 2023 Smashing Newsletter: Issue #406
This newsletter issue was sent out to 212,786 subscribers on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
When it comes to CSS and web development, we are getting ready to dive deep into frontend and tooling, with a few lovely events coming up in the next few months!
- Smashing Meets AI (free, June 20, online), a friendly get-together to discuss the challenges of AI, along with designing and building with it.
- SmashingConf Freiburg 🇩🇪 (in-person + online, Sep 4–6) with adventures into design systems, accessibility, CSS, JS and web performance.
- SmashingConf Antwerp 🇧🇪 (Oct 9–11), on design systems, usability, product design and complex UI challenges.
Also, in today’s Smashing Podcast, we’re talking about Web Platform Baseline. What is it, and how can it help determine your browser support policy? On this note, a huge Thank You to all the passionate and kind people working day and night on CSS, and wonderful people like yourselves sharing what you’ve learned and spreading the word!
— Vitaly (@vitalyf)
1. The State Of CSS In 2023
Remember endless discussions about how long it would take for shiny new CSS features to be adopted in all modern browsers? Well, these times are now in the past. Today, CSS is nothing short of magical, but keeping track of everything that’s now available in CSS isn’t an easy task.
In What’s New in CSS and UI, Una Kravets, Bramus and Adam Argyle highlight some of the important updates that came to the platform recently. Container queries and
:has selector are already here, just like cascade layers and wide-gamut color spaces. It’s exciting that style queries should land soon across browsers (already in Chrome), allowing us to query custom properties of a parent container to decide on styles of child elements.
Imagine that you’d like one component to look different on a dark background vs. light background of a parent? With style queries, we could solve this problem in no time — and keep all styles within the same single component, with no extra classes needed! A great update, with everything you might need to know, put together in one single place. Handy! (vf)
2. High-Definition Colors
Color-wise, we are living in exciting times. With high-definition colors with LCH, okLCH, LAB, and okLAB that give us access to 50% more colors available in modern browsers, the times of RGB/HSL might be over soon. To get you familiar with the new color spaces, Vitaly wrote a quick overview of what you need to know.
Both OKLCH and OKLAB are based on human perception and can specify any color the human eye can see. While OKLAB works best for rich gradients, OKLCH is a fantastic fit for color palettes in design systems. OKLCH/OKLAB colors are fully supported in Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. Figma doesn’t support them yet. (cm)
4. How To Favicon In 2023
With more than 20 static PNG files necessary just to display a tiny website logo, creating a set of favicons can quickly turn into quite a messy undertaking. So how can we make the process more straightforward? Andrey Sitnik came up with a smart solution.
Andrey’s approach gets by with only five icons and one JSON file to fit most modern needs. In his blog post “How to Favicon in 2023,” he summarized how he got there, the compromises he had to make, and a step-by-step tutorial on how to build a favicon set. If you don’t want to dive too deep into the details but are looking for code snippets to get you up and running quickly, Andrey has got you covered, too. (cm)
5. Upcoming Workshops And Conferences
That’s right! We run online workshops on frontend and design, be it accessibility, performance, or design patterns. In fact, we have a couple of workshops coming up soon, and we thought that, you know, you might want to join in as well.
As always, here’s a quick overview:
- The Power of Storytelling UX
with Chiara Aliotta. May 30 – June 14
- Deep Dive On Accessibility Testing Dev
with Manuel Matuzović. June 12–26
- Figma Workflow Masterclass UX
with Christine Vallaure. June 15–23
- The React Performance Masterclass Dev
with Ivan Akulov. June 29 – July 13
- Data Visualization Masterclass Dev
with Amelia Wattenberger. July 4–18
- Smart Interface Design Patterns Video Course UX
9h-video + Live UX Training with Vitaly Friedman
- Jump to all workshops →
6. Fixing Common SVG Fails
Browser DevTools are your best friend when you need to find potential issues with inline SVGs or opportunities to optimize them. But what to do if you can’t see your SVG at all? To help you troubleshoot improperly rendered SVGs, Mariana Beldi summarized six common SVG fails — and how to fix them.
From improperly configured
viewBox values and missing
height to missing IDs and unexpectedly clipped SVGs, Mariana’s guide explores red flags to watch out for. A fantastic resource that saves you not only time but also a lot of frustration. (cm)
7. Inclusivity By Default
Websites often neglect people who rely on accessibility tools or don’t use a common web browser to navigate a site effortlessly with their eyes and hands. However, as Rohan Kumar points out, “many niches add up to a large population.” To help front-end developers and web content authors create inclusive experiences that don’t leave anyone out, Rohan wrote a comprehensive reference guide with best practices for crafting inclusive textual websites.
The guide applies to minimal websites that focus primarily on text and covers everything from security and privacy to optimal loading, images, color, interaction, layout, and much more. With 23,000 words, it is quite a read, but one that is well worth it. If you’re short on time, be sure to read at least the introduction and the conclusion to get a better idea of inclusivity by default and how it isn’t nearly as daunting as it might sound.
Carrie Fisher’s free Learn Accessibility course on web.dev is also a great resource to help you create more accessible experiences. Created for both beginners and advanced devs, the course consists of 19 lessons and covers everything from what digital accessibility is to evaluating patterns and components and performing assistive technology testing. (cm)
8. The State Of Web Components
Web Components are already very powerful, and their potential is still evolving. Since the first version shipped to all major browsers in 2020 and enabled developers to create reusable custom elements, the number of features has nearly doubled. If you want to dive deeper into what Web Components are capable of today and what to expect from them in the future, Rob Eisenberg wrote a great overview.
In his post “2023 State of Web Components,” Rob highlights notable real-life examples of what has been built with Web Components and explores the various shipped, in-progress, and planned Web Component-related standards. For a complete overview, he breaks the features down into Composition & Scope, Platform Interop, Rendering & Peformance, Styling, Package & Distribution, and API Paradigms. (cm)
That’s All, Folks!
Thank you so much for reading and for your support in helping us keep the web dev and design community strong with our newsletter. See you next time!
This newsletter issue was written and edited by Cosima Mielke (cm), Vitaly Friedman (vf) and Iris Lješnjanin (il).
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- Design Systems
- Web Typography
- State Of The Web 2023
- UX and Interface Design
- Front-End Tooling
- CSS in 2023
- Useful Figma Plugins and Tools
- Web Performance
- Useful UX Templates
- Web Accessibility
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