ah teaches web design & development (Styling the Webs lecture)

Styling the Webs

Lecture outline

Thinking about our websites as modular components and the fundamentals of styling websites. Lecture slides will be made available on the day of the lecture (May 20).

A very ornage gold and blue curtain

Styling the Webs

A burning piece of paper

We want to try and move away from the language of 'pages'

False assumptions

Common false assumptions about the web:

  • Everyone has a mouse or touchscreen
  • Everyone has steady high-speed internet
  • 1 pixel = 1 pixel
  • Everyone's computer is faster each year
  • Everyone will view my website on Chrome

Biggest assumption

Thinking one has mastered 'the webz'...


What we want the web to be

Your first goal for every web project, fulfilling a need. You typically have less than 10 seconds to convince someone your website is the one they need.

What might help convince users your website is 'the one'?

What You Can Give the Webs

This potentially endless list...

  • Content: text, visual, aural
  • Structure: layout, grids, hierarchy, IA
  • Accessibility: clean markup, flexibility
  • Usable: interaction, utility, UX
The Firefox virtual reality web browser showcasing its voice search function

Web browsers are everywhere... (from Mozilla)


Cascading Style Sheets

While HTML defines the structure of the content on the page, CSS styles the page to ensure the user get's something usable. Good code will clearly separate semantic markup from styling.

Keeping Them Apart

A real Romeo/Juliet scenario

Rules for keeping them separate

  • Do not use HTML to define styling; i.e. <br>, <i>, <b>...
  • Do not use inline CSS styling; <section style="color: blue;">
  • Keep files separate; .html defines content, .css defines style, never shall they meet

Let's Talk CSS

Oops, this code did not quite load. Please view it at https://codepen.io/andrewhaw/pen/ee24f2587ef3b5062ca772d9dd7dd589

Smart CSS

You want to aim for CSS stylings that are scalable and modular. Here are some divisions suggested as a framework:

  1. Base rules: direct styling of elements for normalizing or defaults
  2. Layout: structural styling for the page (i.e. .grid, .grid-column)
  3. Modules: styling for different components (i.e. .nav-bar, .nav-button)
  4. State Rules: styling different states (i.e. .is-current, .is-opened)

Coding Conventions

When you get started on planning out elements

More things to ensure:

  • Use a purpose-oriented naming convention: .external-link (describe the content)
  • Avoid naming based on style: .blue-border
  • Use understandable names: #footer makes more sense then #lower-bar
  • Agree with your teammate: You need to understand one another

CSS Sampler

Oops, this code did not quite load. Please view it at https://codepen.io/andrewhaw/pen/62ada58a7aeb3895c7c88edaac85deed

ID vs. Class

IDs must always be unique, <section id="kittens"> they can only be specified once. While classes can be used as many times as needed<section class="group">


The order in which things are read

  1. Inline styles: should never be used
  2. ID's: #home, #cool-stuff
  3. Classes, attributes & pseudo-classes: .home, [class], :hover
CSS specificity illustrated by Star Wars characters

Units in CSS

In the journey to responsiveness, we want to aim for relative and scalable units as much as possible.


Rems — root-ems — are units responsive to the font-size set by the browser which help us establish easy relationships in type. As a general rule of thumb, setting your paragraphs to 1rem and scaling other things accordingly is better practice.

Oops, this code did not quite load. Please view it at https://codepen.io/andrewhaw/pen/4f1412454dca14e42d3e5d678d364aaf

A red and white picnic blanket

The web is just blocks

The Box Model

content-box vs border-box

Oops, this code did not quite load. Please view it at https://codepen.io/andrewhaw/pen/a63b4e018122c1404ed8ff7999cafc1f

Dev Tools

Your new best friend

Ever wanted to know what the slides would look like with a red background? Right-click and 'Inspect Element' opens up the development tools to mess around with things in.

Block, Inline, and Inline-block

Block elements break to the next line, can have a height and width, and by default are full-width.

Block One
Second Block

Inline elements stay in-line with other inline elements, and listen to their content for their sizing.

Inline One
Second Block

Inline-block elemetns stay in-line with other inline elements, can have a height and width, and listen to their content for their sizing.

Inline-block One
Second Inline-block


Why we care

At the end of the day, it's about your mental sanity. But good clean, clear coding conventions, page and file structure typically loads and runs faster.

P1: Process

P1 Materials

Some things to think about

You are not required to generate your own images and icons for this project. That being said, the branding must still be your own work. Here are some recommended suggestions:

This week's exercise

For lecture...

For this week's lecture time please make sure you have the CSS tutorial starter-files ready to go.

Next week's lecture

Like Building Blocks

More depth on styleguides, as well as thinking and building responsive structures online..

Pre-recorded lectures and slides will typically become available the day of the lecture.