Category Archive for: Foundation

rfp-robotRFP ROBOT: Website Request for Proposal Generator

The time has come for a new website (or website redesign), which means you need to write a website request for proposal or web RFP. A Google search produces a few examples, but they vary wildly and don’t seem to speak really to your goals for developing or redesigning a new website. You need to write a website RFP that will clearly articulate your needs and generate responses from the best website designers and developers out there. But how?

Have no fear, RFP Robot is here. He will walk you through a step-by-step process to help you work through the details of your project and create a PDF formatted website design RFP that will provide the information vendors need to write an accurate bid. RFP Robot will tell you what info you should include, point out pitfalls, and give examples.


Everything I know about marketing I learned from the 1990 movie “Crazy People.”

For many many many people, the term “marketing” is interchangeable with words like “spin,” “flim-flam,” “malarkey,” and of course, “bullshit.”You can’t really blame people who think this way. A huge amount of marketing is reality-ignoring bullshit/spin/hokum/snake oil.This fact — that marketing is mostly poppycock — is the foundation that the movie Crazy People builds on. For anyone unfamiliar with the movie, here’s the quick synopsis (I swear this is relevant):In Crazy People, Dudley Moore’s character is an advertising executive who does something absolutely unthinkable — he creates a series of ads that tell the truth. Here’s a few examples:“Volvo — they’re boxy but they’re good.”“United — most of our passengers get there alive.”“Metamucil — it makes you go to the toilet.”His agency rejects the ads and checks poor Dudley into a sanitarium thinking he’s taken leave of his senses. A mistake leads to the ads running in newspapers across the country anyway, at which point the unexpected happens. The ads work. Really well.It’s tempting to write…

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Improving the Accessibility of 24 ways

I’ve been thinking recently about the nature of my work and which aspects of it I enjoy the most. In a role that will often straddle the realms of design and development, whether editing copy, evaluating the design of an interface or refactoring code, I’ve come to realize that my interests lie in the act of review and refinement. My work on 24 ways is a case in point. Since Drew McLellan asked me to redesign the site in 2013, I’ve stayed on as part of the team, helping to review, edit and format articles. But I’ve also been able to fulfil the desire I expressed upon launching the redesign: I’m a big believer in iteration and not treating a website as ever being finished. I hope what’s been released this year can act as a foundation, and that the design will evolve in the years to come. In the…

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More blogging and less social media

Happy New Year! 2017 was a busy and eventful year – both professionally and personally. In many ways, 2017 was the most challenging and best year to date. I’m excited about 2018 and optimistic about what it has in store. I wanted to thank you all for reading my blog in 2017. Entering 2018, I plan on setting a New Years’ resolution of using social media less, and blogging more. I’ve been blogging for over 12 years and have been using social media for about 10. Both are black holes for content, however, I feel that blog content at least has a chance to “survive”. My blog posts have made a bigger impact than my social media posts. It’s not just me. I’ve seen many bloggers get sucked into social media. Many of them stopped blogging altogether, and they’ve lost their impact. Blogging also helps me clarify my thoughts and…

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2017 Staff Favorites

It’s been a very productive year for the web community, and as all of us here at CSS-Tricks roamed around to conferences, read posts, and built projects, there were some highlights of contributions that really stuck out to us. Each of us picked 5 resources that were either the most helpful, the most unique, or are things you might have missed that we think are worth checking out. Sarah’s Picks The Miracle of Generators I quite like when someone takes a deep dive on a particular subject and does it well. I had the honor of seeing Bodil Stokke give this talk at Frontend Conference Zurich and it’s as charming and entertaining as it is educational. Designing with Grid Jen Simmons covers the status of CSS Grid, and how to work with it from design to development. Jen is a master of grid, and the lab section of her site…

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The Rise of the Butt-less Website

It seems like all the cool kids have divided themselves into two cliques: the Headless CMS crowd on one side and the Static Site Generator crowd on the other. While I admit those are pretty cool team names, I found myself unable to pick a side. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” For my own simple blog (which is embarrassingly empty at the moment), a static site generator could be a great fit. Systems like Hugo and Jekyll have both been highly recommended by developers I love and trust and look great at first glance, but I hit stumbling blocks when I wanted to change my theme or set up more complex JavaScript and interactions across pages. There are ways to solve both these issues, but that’s not the kind of weekend I want to have. Besides…

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Don’t Use My Grid System (or any others)

This presentation by Miriam at DjangoCon US last summer is not only well done, but an insightful look at the current and future direction of CSS layout tools. Many of us are familiar with Susy, the roll-your-own Grid system Miriam developed. We published a deep-dive on Susy a few years back to illustrate how easy it makes defining custom grid lines without the same pre-defined measures included in other CSS frameworks, like Foundation or Bootstrap. It really was (and is) a nice tool. To watch Miriam give a talk that discourages using frameworks—even her very own—is a massive endorsement of more recent CSS developments, like Flexbox and Grid. Her talk feels even more relevant today than it was a few months ago in light of Eric Meyer’s recent post on the declining complexity of CSS. Yes, today’s CSS toolkit feels more robust and the pace of development seems to have…

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A Very Long Break

This post was originally written on August 15, 2014. What’s most unusual is that I didn’t publish it as I typically publish everything that I pen here on this personal blog (and then I promptly forget that I wrote it). For whatever reason, I just felt like I couldn’t and I’m not entirely sure why as I was very comfortable with the idea of taking a very long break from building software. Of course, I was terribly wrong and I haven’t stopped writing software since. In fact, I’m doing more of it than I ever thought I would be doing at this point in my career. I guess I’m just not done… yet. That’s fine. But, I wanted to publish it anyways and I’m going to publish it without a single edit, so, remember… this was more than 3 years ago… Here you go: There’s nothing more scary than making a public…

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V6: Typography and Proportions

Here’s a good ol’ fashion blog post by Rob Weychert where he looks into the new design system that he implemented on his personal website and specifically the typographic system that ties everything together: According to the OED, a scale is “a graduated range of values forming a standard system for measuring or grading something.” A piece of music using a particular scale—a limited selection of notes with a shared mathematic relationship—can effect a certain emotional tenor. Want to write a sad song? Use a minor scale. Changed your mind? Switch to a major scale and suddenly that same song is in a much better mood. Spatial relationships can likewise achieve a certain visual harmony using similar principles, and the constraints a scale provides take a lot of the arbitrary guesswork out of the process of arranging elements in space. Most of what I design that incorporates type has a…

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An update on the Workflow Initiative for Drupal 8.4/8.5

Over the past weeks I have shared an update on the Media Initiative and an update on the Layout Initiative. Today I wanted to give an update on the Workflow Initiative. Creating great software doesn’t happen overnight; it requires a desire for excellence and a disciplined approach. Like the Media and Layout Initiatives, the Workflow Initiative has taken such an approach. The disciplined and steady progress these initiative are making is something to be excited about. 8.4: The march towards stability As you might recall from my last Workflow Initiative update, we added the Content Moderation module to Drupal 8.2 as an experimental module, and we added the Workflows module in Drupal 8.3 as well. The Workflows module allows for the creation of different publishing workflows with various states (e.g. draft, needs legal review, needs copy-editing, etc) and the Content Moderation module exposes these workflows to content authors. As of…

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An update on the Workflow Initiative for Drupal 8.4/8.5

Over the past weeks I have shared an update on the Media Initiative and an update on the Layout Initiative. Today I wanted to give an update on the Workflow Initiative. Creating great software doesn’t happen overnight; it requires a desire for excellence and a disciplined approach. Like the Media and Layout Initiatives, the Workflow Initiative has taken such an approach. The disciplined and steady progress these initiative are making is something to be excited about. 8.4: The march towards stability As you might recall from my last Workflow Initiative update, we added the Content Moderation module to Drupal 8.2 as an experimental module, and we added the Workflows module in Drupal 8.3 as well. The Workflows module allows for the creation of different publishing workflows with various states (e.g. draft, needs legal review, needs copy-editing, etc) and the Content Moderation module exposes these workflows to content authors. As of…

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Project Empathy: the Hows and Whys

When I became a project manager some ten years ago, my career mentor told me that to be successful, a project manager needs to be “empathetic.” I did not pay much attention to his advice at the time, but now I realize that being empathetic towards a project allows a manager to overcome many challenges she might face in the course of launching a particular project or product. Here’s my take on how to achieve “Project Empathy” and why it is important. What is Project Empathy? Having empathy for a project sounds odd, but it’s a useful idea. It means treating a project as if it were a living thing, with feelings and emotions. Think about it: a project is made up of its team. If the bond among team members is high, the overall emotional quotient of team will be high too — and as a PM, your task…

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ARIA is Spackle, Not Rebar

Much like their physical counterparts, the materials we use to build websites have purpose. To use them without understanding their strengths and limitations is irresponsible. Nobody wants to live in an poorly-built house. So why are poorly-built websites acceptable? In this post, I’m going to address WAI-ARIA, and how misusing it can do more harm than good. Materials as technology In construction, spackle is used to fix minor defects on interiors. It is a thick paste that dries into a solid surface that can be sanded smooth and painted over. Most renters become acquainted with it when attempting to get their damage deposit back. Rebar is a lattice of steel rods used to reinforce concrete. Every modern building uses it—chances are good you’ll see it walking past any decent-sized construction site. Technology as materials HTML is the rebar-reinforced concrete of the web. To stretch the metaphor, CSS is the interior…

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Cut the Noise – Five Slack Features You Need to Use

Slack is a core part of my day-to-day. It’s the tool that I spend the most time in and it’s how I handle all internal communication, including project, team, and company discussions, from 1:1 conversations to group chats. It’s increasingly become a primary client communication tool, as well.  With so many purposes and so many participants, it can be challenging to not only stay on top of Slack discussions but balance meetings, communication in other tools (Basecamp, Github, email), and work itself. I’ve found these five features to be key in cutting through the noise and making Slack a valuable communication tool: /leave This one’s going to earn me some 👋  reactions, I know, I know. I’m still going do it though, and here’s why: It’s important for me to be present in project channels and client teams when I’m playing an active role. When that time has passed, though, I’ve found…

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A Kotlin long-term update: calm, peaceful, and productive

It’s kind of hard to believe, but we’ve been writing Kotlin at Basecamp for 20 months now! And with the first ever KotlinConf starting tomorrow, it felt like a good time to reflect on my time with Kotlin.When I first started off with Kotlin, I was a bit…excitable. I was blown away by all the incredible things it could do. Compared to Java, it made my life so much easier and I was just much happier working with it. I was so excited to be learning this shiny new tech that I would tell anyone that would listen about all its wonders.Now, almost two years in, things are different — in a good way.The big thing is that I’m (mostly) past the initial “holy shit this is awesome” moments of discovery when you first come over from Java — finding out about all those crazy things you can’t do in Java, all the fantastic niceties that become…

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A Few Thoughts on Product Hunt’s New Ship Platform

I won’t lie… ProductHunt’s new SHIP platform looks dope af. I’ve been eyeing it for quite some time and their launch intersects perfectly with two distinct projects that I’m working on. Last night, I finally had a moment to put it together: Yoooo. It looks good yoooo. You can check it out in-the-real here at TryGeorge.com. That magic temporary 302 htaccess redirect though… I don’t have time for a comprehensive review of Product Hunt’s Ship Platform but I will share a few things off the top of my head… So… What About the Time Commitment? I was initially anxious about the time commitment and effort to put together my landing page. Since I’m incredibly busy building the damn thing, I didn’t want to spend any more time than necessary and required for this type of thing. After getting over my initial anxiety I was able to sit down last night and bang it…

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MDN Product Advisory Board

We all know and love MDN for already being the best documentation for web features out there. It looks like it’s poised to get even better with Google and Microsoft both joining a new board. Mozilla’s vision for the MDN Product Advisory Board is to build collaboration that helps the MDN community collectively maintain MDN as the most comprehensive, complete, and trusted reference documenting the most important aspects of modern browsers and web standards. Interesting none of them mentioned WebPlatform, the previous attempt at this that kinda fizzled out. This effort seems a little more likely to succeed as it already has a successful foundation, actual staff, and a benevolent dictator in Mozilla. It’s great to see browsers complete on user features but cooperate on standards and education. Worth a shout that we dabble in “docs” for CSS features ourselves here at CSS-Tricks with the Almanac, but if anything in…

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Grab The Attention of Your Site Visitors in 5 Seconds

You may have the skills of a mad (but extremely talented) web developer, but that’s meaningless if no one cares about your website. Every website owner’s goal is to pull in more followers to their pages, and that will only be possible if they can grab the attention of their target audience. Most people generally visit a website because they need information. Chances are, website links get clicked on the search engine results page (SERP) because they appear helpful for those who are looking for specific pieces of information. However, the critical part of website design is to know how to grab the attention and interest of casual page visitors. The web design strategies that you use will definitely play a significant role in maintaining the interest of your site visitors for them to stay and keep looking. In other words, although the quality of information on your site will…

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