Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. When he is not writing, he’s most probably running front-end & UX …
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We proudly craft affordable, practical books for pros like yourself who want to improve skills and make a difference. No fluff, no theory — just actionable insights applicable to your work right away. Here’s a quick overview of the last ones:
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.
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With a reputation for being a reference book that “spends more time open on the desk than closed in the bookcase”, Hardboiled Web Design: Fifth Anniversary Edition features a wealth of updated front-end techniques, strategies and attitude overhauls that anyone working on the web can benefit from.
Across 441 pages with plenty of code samples, Andy sets out the “hardboiled” ethos, stripping markup to the bone, making it more flexible and scalable. You’ll also get insights into Andy’s workflow and learn how to establish a design atmosphere and develop a design style guide, create type proofs, use brand personality interviews and reduce wasted time in the process.
You’ll also learn how to avoid predictable generic layouts and embrace creativity within a responsive mindset and how to establish a better “responsive” process with clients. If you want to explore a workflow that will not hold you back, freeing your potential for crafting rich and expressive responsive websites today, this book is your new constant companion. Ah, and did we say that it’s gorgeous, too? Get the book today.
Summary • In Getting Hardboiled, you’ll learn what it means to be hardboiled. You’ll discover why it’s important to constantly re-evaluate concepts such as progressive enhancement and graceful degradation, and you’ll find out the cold, hard truth about how standards are really developed. You’ll find out how to create the atmosphere of a design independent of responsive layouts and how to demonstrate those designs to our bosses and clients. Above all else, you’ll learn that responsive web design is an opportunity to make fabulous creative work, an opportunity that you should grab with both mitts.
Summary • You’ll discover what it means to be hardboiled for you, your designs and your workflow. Think again about what we can do instead of what we couldn’t. Embrace the possible, instead of complaining about limitations.
Summary • You’ll discover why it’s important to constantly re-evaluate concepts such as progressive enhancement and graceful degradation. Learn about the basics of how a page should work in first place, not necessarily how a design should look. Get away from limiting your creativity to the capabilities of a lowest common denominator browser.
Summary • You’ll find out the cold, hard truth about how standards are really developed. Learn about ten CSS modules that are most relevant to the work we do, its vendor-specific prefixes, and how to manage them with your favorite tools effectively.
Summary • You’ll learn that responsive web design is an opportunity to make fabulous creative work, an opportunity that you should grab with both mitts. Embrace that not all browsers should render websites in the same way and focus on providing the most appropriate experience for the capabilities of a browser or device. All that without anyone being left unable to access content or features.
Summary • You’ll learn about designing atoms and elements and how web design style guides help you presenting designs in a more effective way. Learn how to present the atmosphere of a design while designing components separate from layout with Style Guides.
Summary • You’ll find out how to design a great atmosphere by starting with typographic elements, how to select the right typeface, weight, line-height, and more. Learn how to use type proofs for presentation, how to balance them the right way and how to make them legible and readable on many different screens. Last but not least, you'll dig into color accessibility and add decorative aspects that help give a design its personality.
Summary • In Hardboiled HTML, you’ll learn about the latest semantic elements. You’ll also discover microformats2 — an evolution of those simple patterns for giving your markup added structure — and investigate WAI-ARIA roles. All of these will reduce your reliance on presentational elements and attributes.
Summary • You’ll learn how to use HTML’s semantic elements alongside the BEM naming system. You'll repeat the widely supported contemporary HTML5 standards such section, article, aside, header, footer, and nav. You’ll learn how to make your markup faster, more responsive and, of course, hardboiled.
Summary • Because your SEO ranking matters, you’ll discover the updated microformats2 — simple markup patterns for making your data machine-readable and therefore search engine friendly.
Summary • While microformats2 are dedicated to make you website machine-readable, WAI-ARIA roles have different but complementary goals. You'll learn how to make your web content easier to use by people who use assistive technologies such as navigation menus, sliders, progress meters, properties that define dynamically updated sections of a page, ways to enable keyboard navigation and roles to describe the structure of a page, including headings, regions, and tables (grids).
Summary • In Hardboiled CSS, you’ll learn about Flexbox, web fonts for better type and typography, how to layer colour with RGBa and how to use opacity. You’ll discover how use multiple background images and how to make borders rounded and full of images. You’ll wind up knowing how to replace many images with CSS gradients to make your designs lighter and more responsive. All the while you’ll be making your design look fabulous across responsive breakpoints and that’s where we’ll start, with CSS media queries.
Summary • In this chapter, you’ll dive deep into CSS Media Queries. By organizing it into six groups of elements that consider site-wide page styles, typography, form elements, tables, and images, you'll learn how to style small screens first and how to choose breakpoints that are based on content rather than devices.
Summary • You’ll investigate new Flexible Box layouts and how to visually reorder content without laying a hand on your markup, how to overcome common frustrations such as equal height backgrounds on unequal height columns, and more.
Summary • Much of the web content we consume every day consists of the written word. Learn about the different web font formats and how to implement them properly, with fallback fonts and website performance in mind. You'll learn how to specify the web fonts to low-resolution and high-resolution display, and how to test them on different resolution screens.
Summary • With your hardboiled HTML all set and your smaller screen styling in place, you’ll now give your design an extra level of fidelity and interaction that makes the most of the space available on larger screens. You’ll redevelop our vertical list into a grid of eight magazine covers that reveal their descriptions when we press on them. You'll do this by applying relative positioning but without any horizontal or vertical offsets.
Summary • CSS borders can be exciting because they include properties that open up a wealth of creative opportunities. You'll investigate new design possibilites with properties such as border-radius (that our clients love so much) and border-image for using images inside those borders.
Summary • Since we’re also able use multiple background images and to change their origin point and size, there's a vast variety new creative opportunities. You'll get started by making a design using multiple background images. Background properties give us precise control over the size of our background images and how they’re rendered behind our elements.
Summary • Flat design aesthetic has become the norm. Almost every site you see these days include large, flat areas of colour, often laid out across horizontal bands, almost always the full width of our screens, with flat or outlined buttons, and icon graphics that are also flat. You'll learn how to move on from the mediocrity this flat aesthetic epitomises and you'll see web design that’s rich and full of life. Whether you like linear gradients, radial, repeating or with multiple background images — you’ll need to know how to handle them.
Summary • In More Hardboiled CSS, you’ll learn about the background blends and CSS filters, how to translate, scale, rotate and skew elements using CSS transforms in two and three dimensions. You’ll find out how to make state changes smoother with a host of CSS transitions, and finish off by discovering how to add columns to your layout without a extra division in sight.
Summary • The rapidly increasing pace of change is a good thing for designers and developers, businesses and brands, and the internet in general. New technologies like CSS filters and background blends are not only being introduced faster, but they’re being implemented in browsers and turned into standards faster, too. Now’s not a time to kick back — it’s a time to use these exciting new tools to make creative work with depth and subtlety, work that’s hardboiled.
Summary • CSS layouts can sometimes be a little strait-laced. You'll learn how two-dimensional and three-dimensional transforms can help your designs break out of the box.
Summary • In web pages and applications, changes in state can have a huge impact on how it feels to use an interface. Make a change too fast and an interaction can feel unnatural. Make it too slow, even by a few milliseconds, and an interface will feel sluggish. You'll learn how to make state changes smoother with a host of CSS transitions.
Summary • You might be surprised how unimaginative most website layouts are today, particularly since the responsive web design came up. But there's so much to learn from print design that should inspire your work on the web. The different ways that magazine designers use columns of text to make their publications individual are an enormous inspiration. In this chapter, we'll learn how to use CSS multicolumn layout and how to use it for today’s responsive designs.
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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.
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Neatly packaged in a gorgeous hardcover, the book features practical front-end techniques and patterns from well-respected designers and developers. The book isn’t concerned with trends or short-lived workarounds — it should stand the test of time and as such, it’s focused on actual techniques used today in real-life projects. The techniques that you could apply to your websites today, too.
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Book 5: Real-Life Responsive Web Design is our brand new, upcoming book with smart front-end techniques and design patterns derived from real-life responsive projects. With 13 chapters on responsive workflow, SVG, Flexbox, Web fonts, responsive images, responsive email, content strategy, debugging, performance and offline experience, this is just the book you need to master all the tricky facets and hurdles of responsive design.
Once again, the book is going to be quite thick, and obviously both hardcover or digital editions (eBook in PDF, ePUB and Kindle) will be available. So if you want to get your hands on the book, you better don’t wait too long. We know it — you’ll love the book as much as we do. Free worldwide shipping.
We invited respected designers and developers who know a thing or two about responsive websites. The chapters have also been reviewed by active members of the community such as Jake Archibald, Dmitry Baranovsky—just to name a few.
As designers and developers, we solve problems for a living. Yet, these problems are often quite tricky and complex, and the context of these problems requires us to be creative and flexible in our workflows. With responsive design, we are prompted to create scalable design systems that work well in unpredictable environments. To do that, we need to be pragmatic and find solutions that work well within given constraints. That’s why we created this book: to find techniques that have actually worked in real-life projects with real-world challenges.
Keywords • design systems • scalability • bulletproof solutions • front-end techniques • real-world challenges
Summary • In practice, responsive projects usually require more time, more skills, more testing and hence more flexibility in budgets. Addings changes late delays projects immensely, and process involving designers, developers and clients is usually tiring to say the least.In this chapter, Daniel shares insights into his responsive design workflow from projects such as TechCrunch, Entertainment Weekly and Radio Liberty, with techniques and strategies that help him get things done well, within budget and on time (most of the time), while achieving the highest level of fidelity in shortest amount of time.
Keywords • responsive workflow • element collage • style tiles • tools • deliverables • performance budget • interface inventory • sketching • planning • manifestos • hypothesis • atomic design • designing in the browser • Photoshop
Summary • So, how do we deal with complex tables when building responsive websites? What about advanced interface components? Dashboards? What about the behaviour of web forms, navigation, mega-drop down menus, filters? Can we utilize vertical media queries and portrait/landscape orientation change? In this chapter, Vitaly will provide an overview of clever practical techniques for improving UX of responsive sites, with innovative approaches to designing "responsive modules" such as mega-drop downs, tables, calendars, accordions, maps, sliders, responsive PDF and responsive iconography — and a dash of anti-patterns to avoid as well.
Keywords • design patterns • navigation • smart front-end techniques • priority+ pattern • improved off-canvas • lazy loading • autocomplete • filters • responsive PDF • portrait/landscape mode • sliders • country selector • responsive iconography.
Summary • Content created by one department is never updated by the next. Services get renamed in the navigation, but are still referenced by the old name in the body text. Important information is buried in the murky depths of flowery prose.Sounds familiar? Many issues in responsive projects aren't related to technology, but to content: it's either ill-formatted or priorities get lost across screen resolutions. Let's fix it. In this chapter, Eileen shows how structured content can help refocus on what matters, and how we as designers can use the structure intelligently to provide users with information that they need, when they need it.
Keywords • structured content • content consistency • content models • structural audit • editorial content • content types • content relationships • data-driven gaps • feature-driven gaps • authors and editors • CMS • content maintenance
Summary • This chapter has hands down on everything you need to know in order to start designing and building flexible components and visual assets with SVG. Sara will take you on a journey through SVG syntax, SVG accessibility, SVG viewport and viewBox, creating and exporting SVGs, embedding SVGs, building SVG sprites, creating SVG icon systems, using SVG Data URIs, optimizing SVG for performance, SVG conditional processing, clever SVG tricks and techniques and making SVG cross-browser responsive with CSS. Yep, everything you need to know about SVG, as promised.
Keywords • SVG • syntax • accessibility • viewport • viewBox • exporting • embedding • sprites • icon systems • data URIs • performance • smart SVG techniques • responsive iconography • cross-browser fallbacks
Summary • In fact, Flexbox solves a lot of CSS shortcomings and makes building responsive layouts much easier than with floats or positioning. It gives you more control over the things you care about in a responsive layout (such as order, alignment, and proportional sizes of your boxes) and lets the browser figure out the rest; the math-y stuff that computers are good at, like the exact dimensions that are needed on the boxes to perfectly fill the available space.Zoe shares insights from her work at Booking.com, showing practical Flexbox-based techniques which make responsive sites much easier to build and maintain — even without media queries.
Keywords • syntax variants • flex container • orientation • wrapping • sizing boxes • flex property • forms with Flexbox • advanced alignment • magical margins • reordering boxes • order property • Flexbox as progressive enhancement
Summary • By default, web fonts block rendering, hiding content from the user. The only way to make content accessible as soon as possible is by treating web fonts as a progressive enhancement. This doesn’t mean web font performance is not an issue. You still need to load web fonts as quickly as possible so that users experience your site exactly how you designed and built it. Let's fix this.In this chapter, Bram shares insights that he has learned from working at Typekit, covering web fonts and formats, font loading and font rendering, CSS Font Loading API, fallback fonts, caching, compression, inlining, subsetting and font loading strategies.
Keywords • font formats • font loading • font-rendering • FOIT and FOUT • Font Loading API • fallback fonts • inlining fonts • simulating swapping • promises • asynchronous loading and caching • prioritized loading
Summary • So you want to serve different images to different screens. Perhaps a Retina image (only) to Retina screens, or an art-directed image to small screens, or a portrait image for portrait orientation, or perhaps .webp to browsers supporting the format — without performance hits. Since images are the heaviest assets on the web, dealing with them intelligently is both our responsibility and opportunity for more dynamic layouts. That's what native responsive images are for.In this chapter, Yoav discusses the different responsive images use cases and how we can use the native solution today to create performant responsive websites. We will also look at ways to make these solutions easier to deploy and maintain in real projects, with Picturefill and CMS plugins for Drupal and WordPress.
Keywords • CSS pixel and DPR • Retina displays • fixed-width images • variable-width images • srcset and sizes • art direction • <picture> element • separation of concerns • image format fallback • accessibility • background images • image optimization • WebP and JPEG-XR • compressive images • deployment • common pitfalls
Summary • Explaining responsive HTML email is always an uphill battle, because just about every single designer and developer hates it. But there’s a lot of great, forward-looking innovation going on in the email design world. In fact, melding of responsive design techniques is absolutely possible.In this chapter, Fabio, the technical email maestro from Mailchimp, explores what you can achieve with media queries in responsive HTML email to ensure that your emails look just fine on major email clients across different devices, and looks even better in clients that do not support media queries (such as Gmail).
Keywords • email landscape • CSS in email • market share • navigation and CTA buttons • foundational markup • reset and client-specific CSS • fluid containers • pattern-based development • layout techniques • Microsoft Outlook • Windows Live Mail • Apple Mail • Mozilla Thunderbird • Outlook.com • Yahoo! Mail • AOL • iOS Mail • Gmail
Summary • We talk a lot about designing and building responsive websites, but not so much about maintaining and testing them. Speaking from his experience at BBC, Tom has built up a way of working that minimizes the pain points that responsive web design has.The chapter shows how you can build future-friendly CSS that will scale up to support large responsive websites; get you to take testing seriously, but not overcomplicate your workflow; and finally, how to sanely prioritize and debug common problems (layout, images, complex UI components like tables) in all kinds of devices and browsers.
Keywords • "cutting the mustard" • predictable, simple CSS • naming conventions • BEM and class names • Sass organization • debugging media queries • lazy loading • content-out media queries • separation of concerns • exploratory testing • functional testing • visual regression testing • automated testing • dealing with false positives • common dependencies • troubleshooting bugs on mobile
Summary • Our responsive designs lack soul. You can think of many websites that are well presented, easy to use, triumphs of UX and technically competent, but few that might be remembered for years to come. Why do you think this is? Why are so few websites memorable? Could the design processes we’ve come to rely on, particularly in relation to responsive design, have hindered our creativity? Our modern web design magazines are full of advice about process, techniques and tools, but little about creativity, about humanity, or about ideas.In this chapter, Andrew takes a closer look at how we can combine creativity with predictable design systems to create unpredictable, dynamic and memorable responsive websites — with a framework and a mindset that will challenge you to think differently about crafting websites today.
Keywords • advertising • user experience design • creative hijinks • allergic to research • process and predictability • building blocks of creativity • intoxicated by process • platform for creativity • creative brief • line between control and chaos • buying creativity • copywriting • creative teams • creative direction
Summary • What if we told you that as a user, you don’t have to be online to use the web, and a website or a web application would respond to this accordingly? Think Offline First: "We can’t keep building apps with the desktop mindset of permanent, fast connectivity, where a temporary disconnection or slow service is regarded as a problem and communicated as an error."
John and Matt cover main technologies and practices that you’ll need to use to make your apps work as well offline, as they do online. We’ll discuss how to detect if we are online or not, HTML5 Application Cache, WebStorage and offline events, but most importantly Service Workers and how we can use them today to not only make content available offline, but also significantly improve performance and create snappy, fast experiences in (almost) no time.
Keywords • navigator.onLine • online and offline events • HTML5 Application Cache • cache manifest • fallbacks • AppCache gotchas • Web Storage • localStorage • Service Workers
Summary • Design deliverable is one thing, an efficient collaboration between teams and stakeholders is a different beast entirely. This chapter provides strategies for keeping this collaboration sane and focused.You'll learn how to build a good and efficient team, how to establish good pricing/time estimates for responsive projects, how to establish priorities with content priority guides and how to shift away from linear handoffs with multidisciplinary teams. A detailed chapter on getting things done, with clients, the proper way.
Keywords • collaboration • estimates • spiraling • "one-deliverable" workflow • efficiency • content priority guide • style comparisons • testing the aggregate • content prototype • wireframes • style prototypes • pattern libraries • happy teams
Summary • If somebody tells you that responsive websites are bloated, heavy and slow by default, and that it's very difficult to make them fast, don't believe them — they are liars. If you set the priorities right and build the website with progressive enhancement in mind, you can create extremely fast responsive websites that work well across devices: with one code base working everywhere.In this chapter, yours truly will be sharing what we’ve learned over the last year about the performance challenges of this very website and about the work we’ve done in-house in big and small companies. If you want to craft a fast responsive website, you might find a few interesting nuggets worth considering.
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