Web Design Articles

This section of Impressive Webs features articles covering front-end technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Some of these posts are opinion pieces and others are more research-based discussions of standards and best practices, with occasional roundups.

Skills for Front-End Developers

Don't use the N WordAs a front-end developer, I’m constantly trying to learn new skills and technologies and adding to what I already know. Front-end developer job postings, however, vary from posting to posting so the list of different languages, libraries, and technologies that could theoretically fall under the category of front-end developer skills is quite large.

Here’s a list (that I’ll continue to update) containing a wide variety of skills and technologies that I think all front-end developers should be working on learning, at least to some extent. I certainly don’t know all of these, nor do I expect anyone else to.

The list is not necessarily in any particular order, but I tried to keep the more rudimentary stuff at or near the top. Also, many of the items overlap others, so there’s a lot of cross-over within the list. And of course the list has lots of potential for improvements (more on that below).

Are Web Development Search Results Being Manipulated?

Are Web Development Search Results Being Manipulated?I’m not entirely sure what to think of this situation, but it seems to be yet another strong piece of evidence that the people behind W3schools don’t have our best interests in mind.

I’m currently in the process of revamping my CSS3 Click Chart app and I was doing my usual cursory searches for simple JavaScript methods that I often forget the syntax for. Notice what I stumbled across, as shown in the re-enactment below.

The Importance of Website Performance (Sources)

The Importance of Website PerformanceLately in some of my writing projects I’ve had to hunt down sources to demonstrate the importance of web page speed. Usually a quick Google search will pull up some pretty good ones, and I have a few others on file that I can refer to.

I thought I would put together a roundup of some of the ones I’ve been able to find. Web development bloggers, who are constantly promoting the importance of web page speed, should have these types of authoritative sources at their fingertips.

So consider this post the collective evidence for the importance of page speed. Posts are listed from oldest to newest.

Introducing “CSS Basics”

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CSS BasicsOver the last couple of weeks I’ve introduced a new link in the main navigation on this site. It’s a new section called CSS Basics.

I’ve wanted to publish info on really basic CSS stuff, because I think web design should be taught at many levels and beginners should especially be informed of the right way to do things.

Is HTML5 Good for SEO?

Is HTML5 Good for SEO?This is a question that has been answered in a number of different places. Unfortunately, the answers in some instances have not been good ones. In fact, they’ve either been way too optimistic and/or presumptuous — or else just downright wrong.

Also, when we use the term “HTML5″, what exactly are we referring to? HTML5 covers a number of different features and technologies, some of which have nothing to do with SEO. So, generally speaking, when people ask this question, they’re usually referring to HTML5′s new semantic elements. So, I’ll primarily focus on those here.

Cross-Browser CSS Development Workflow

Cross-Browser CSS Development WorkflowMost good developers by now accept the fact that pixel-perfect cross-browser CSS is not only unnecessary, but also totally impossible.

Of course, when we speak of the challenge of “cross-browser” CSS, we’re really saying “How can I make this work in Internet Explorer versions 6-8?” — because those are really the most problematic browsers.

Although I’ve written before about cross-browser CSS, and I still stand by just about every word in that article, I thought I’d reiterate my feelings on this subject by providing what I feel is the best workflow for getting your CSS to be as efficient, hack-free, and maintainable as possible while providing as similar an experience in all supported browsers.

One Thing I Don’t Like About Drop-Down Menus

One Thing I Don't Like About Drop-Down MenusI don’t mind drop-down menus. They give designers and information architects options for using screen space wisely. But I think many sites do themselves a disfavour by using them in an inconsistent manner.

The popular travel site Carnival Cruise Lines is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I love the design of their site. For a travel website, it’s very good; it’s clean, and professionally designed. But I have one small problem with their drop-down menus.

Rolled Out a New Design

New DesignI got ambitious this past weekend and slapped together a new design for this site. Nothing too drastic, just a basic re-skinning with some layout tweaks.

I’m not going to write a book here to describe it, but I did incorporate some interesting new things that I will probably write about in future articles.

Limitations on Styling Visited Links

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Limitations on Styling Visited LinksYou might remember about a year or so ago, there was some discussion about the potential privacy issues caused by the CSS :visited pseudo-class. In a nutshell, it was discovered that this pseudo-class along with some scripting, could be used by websites to “sniff” your web browsing history.

You can read more about the problem and subsequent solution here and here.

It seems now that most of the latest versions of all browsers have taken measures to combat this issue. Fortunately, you can still style text links using the :visited pseudo-class. This is a good thing, and I hope we always have that ability. Visited links are a staple of the web, and they should remain.