An Event Apart: Full-Featured Art Direction

by August 27, 2018

In her Full-Featured Art Direction for the Web presentation at An Event Apart in Chicago, Mina Markham shared her approach to building Web pages that work across a variety of browsers, devices and locales. Here's my notes from her talk:

  • Full-featured art direction is progressively enhanced, localized for a particular user, yet inclusive of all visitors and locations.
  • Start with the most basic minimal viable experience for the user and move up from there. Semantic markup is your best baseline. Annotate a Web site design with HTML structure: H1, H2, H3, etc. From there, gradually add CSS to style the minimal viable experience. If everything else fails, this is what the user will see. It may be the bare minimum but it works.
  • Feature queries in CSS are supported in most browsers other than IE 11. We can use these to set styles based on what browsers support. For instance, modular font scaling allows you to update overall sizing of text in a layout. Feature Query checker allows you to see what things look like when a CSS query is not present.
  • Localization is not just text translation. Other elements in the UI, like images, may need to be adjusted as well. You can use attributes like :lang() pseudoclass to include language specific design elements in your layout.
  • Inclusive art direction ensures people can make use of our Web sites on various devices and in various locations. Don't remove default behaviors in Web browsers. Instead adjust these to better integrate with your site's design.