Rumyra's Head

Out with the mechanical, in with the ‘computerised’

I like to think I’m comfortable with new technology, that I’m a woman who embraces new exciting developments in the world around her. I almost grew up online, dad always made sure there was a computer in the house and I thank him for that, because if it wasn’t for the BBC there wouldn’t have been any Chuckie Egg (imagine a world without Chuckie Egg, not even). I had one of the Motorola bricks at college and finally my own HP Desktop computer at university with shiny shiny windows 2000.

I always want to urge people to try new things, new things can be better, worried that those that are ‘happy with what they have’ could be missing out on better processes, saving time, seeing more awesome.

old mechanical janome sewing machine next to new computerised sewing machine

But today, today I saw the other side. Today I got a new sewing machine.

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Today I was given a web page design…

This isn’t my typical way of working these days. User experience & flow, UI & wireframing, design, mark up, styling and interactivity are all very iterative to me. They don’t come in a waterfall sequential order anymore. Working in a lab team, I concentrate on seeing whether an idea, product or technology to solve a problem is useful, before it goes into production, so I usually prioritise content, UX flow and interactivity, before a finished perfectly styled site or app.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think styling is important, I just have to weigh up priorities with time constraints. I also built some starter files (more about these later) to help me along the way with styling, so it doesn’t fall by the wayside entirely.

Sorry I’m getting side tracked…

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Just a quick Friday tip

I know a lot of you out there are already aware of this and to you it will seem obvious, however, I’ve found myself giving this tip a few times over the past couple of weeks, so think it’s worth quickly noting.

If you have a containing element, (div, article, section etc…), with a lot of content inside, reference which one it is at the closing tag. E.g:

<section role="main">

  <!-- ALL the page's content here -->

</section><!-- this is the end of section[role="main"] -->

This is particularly helpful if you have your HTML file split into partials. You may close a container in a different file to that which it starts.

Chaining CSS :not()

I found myself using the CSS psuedo class :not() the other day. It proved superbly useful. For those that are unaware, by adding it to your CSS, you can choose not to affect a set of elements.

myelement:not(.ofthisclass) { style: property; }

There’s a couple of good resources about it in the CSS Tricks Almanac or the MDN docs.

What I was looking for was a way to affect anything but a certain class, plus another certain class. If I had declared both separately in my CSS, the first declared would have been overwritten. In this example the div with a class of blue would still have a crimson background, as the declaration below it would overwrite it.

div:not(.blue) {
  background: crimson;
div:not(.green) {
  background: crimson;

But wait… there is a way. All we need to do is chain the two nots together:

div:not(.blue):not(.green) {
  background: crimson;

Voilà! Just what I was looking for. For a demo, check out this codepen.

I want a sarcasm element!

<sarcasm>Throws toys out the pram</sarcasm>

For aaaggees now I’ve wanted a way to express my sarcasm over the internets. When you’re typing this can be pretty hard… it can get lost pretty quickly when words on a screen don’t come with tone.

Enter the <sarcasm> element*. I, (as well as others), have been know to add this to IRC chats, or at least end a line with </sarcasm>.

It suddenly changes the tone of the conversation. You become enlightened as to body language that otherwise gets missed when not in direct vicinity with another person.

And why stop at sarcasm, could we express other emotions too – just with one element and it’s attributes?

<emotion type="excited">I'm going to the fair tomorrow!</emotion>

Are there too many emotions, (and variations of such), or maybe I’m just about to step into a debate about how emotions don’t matter and only logic prevails.

<emotion type="scared">I'd better get out of here!</emotion>

*This idea is in no way practical.

EDIT 9.1.15: There is a sarcasm punctuation mark, as I discovered whilst watching University Challenge the other day. There’s more about it on the sarc mark website.

Animation code snippet

Because I keep referring back to it:

@include simple-vendor-prefix(animation,
    animation-name(name [default:none])
    animation-duration(Xs | Xms [default:0s])
    animation-timing-function(ease | ease-in | ease-out | ease-in-out | linear | cubic-bezier(x1,y1,x2,y2) | step-start | step-end | steps(X start|end) [default:ease])
    animation-delay(Xs | Xms [default:0s])
    animation-iteration-count(X | infinite [default:1])
    animation-direction(normal | reverse | alternate | alternate-reverse [default:normal])
    animation-fill-mode(none | forwards | backwards | both [default:none])
    animation-play-state(running | paused [default:running])

This is the Sass I use for declaring CSS animations. It’s a good list of all the parameters you can get for the CSS animation property, with their parameter format and default value.

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Finding your break

I remember someone stating a few months back: “I’ve only just realised the ‘break’ in break-points was referring to the design breaking, I thought it was device related.”

Shouldn’t we be taking both into account? The design I’m working on at the moment really needs some tweaking at around 980px, but I think I’ll make my break point just above 1024px.

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Choosing a colour scheme

I thought I’d document how I usually go about deciding on colours for a new website design.

I’m currently working on a personal project and have already put together some interactive wireframes using my White Paper (link coming soon). The next stage for me is to decide on some colours and fonts which I will then integrate into the wireframes and go on designing from there.

For this project I only have the subject matter for inspiration. Usually I would have a fair idea of look and feel in my head before I start looking for colour influence. However this one is very much an open book.

The first thing I do is turn to Colour Lovers and have a browse through the palettes on there, searching with keywords as I see fit. I screen shot any palettes or colours I am drawn to. I then put all these into one file in Photoshop.

From there I can start to see common colours, what I like, what I don’t like, things I have maybe been drawn to before (for instance the third palette down looks a lot like the colours for this site!).

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CSS Grid Layout Module

So I had a chance recently to play around with the CSS Grid Layout Module. It has up until recently only been supported by IE (I know, don’t worry I felt a bit weird typing that). I personally don’t have a very accessible way to develop in IE, so was pleased to discover it is now supported by Chrome if you enabled the ‘Experimental Web Platform’ flag.

The best resource for using it in Chrome is Rachel Andrews’ post here (Thanks @justinavery). She did write another great one for 24 Ways, however as it was only supported by IE at the time, it uses IE syntax which is slightly different to the syntax Chrome uses and thus confused me to start with. Similarly with the CSS Tricks post here, which is also good, but if you are using Chrome can be confusing.

Some things to share

I discovered I don’t need vendor prefixes, I was originally using -webkit-, once I removed this I had that ‘Yes’ moment when I refreshed my page.

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Rolling Your Own

I don’t like to spend a lot of time getting ready in the morning.

I like to spend a lot of time in the shower, cos showers are nice, but the whole idea of styling hair and painting on eye makeup has always made me feel like I could be spending my time better… Like an extra half hour in bed for instance.

So, as a time saver, I make my own face cream, I always have. It’s a mix of my preferred moisturiser, foundation and skin cream. This means I only have to slap this on once and I’m done.

A couple of years ago cosmetic companies started to produce a thing they dubbed BB cream. For those unaware its a similar idea, foundation, moisturiser, skin cream, serums, oils etc… All rolled into one.

I still make my own.

I’ve checked out a number of these BB creams and I don’t feel like any of them are suitable for my needs. Although the concept is the same, I like my own recipe.

Sometimes its cool & ok to roll your own for your own specific needs… Even if there are things out there that are similar.

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