Mike Propst User Experience

Mike's Blog

User Experience, Front End, Home Studios, Dad Stuff. Slightly less pink than it was.

October 30

No need for an abstraction layer with CSS Grid

Rachel Andrew, the Guru of Grids, on why you don't need a "Grid Framework" to use CSS Grid. For me, part of the desire to use grid is right here — the additional overhead of throwing in a grid system is just unnecessary. And with Grid comes horizontal and vertical alignment, markup without containers, and so many more possibilities for layout.

Even fallbacks, one reason frameworks tend to get popular, aren't needed in her estimation:

Create solid markup, uncluttered by additional elements that the past tells you that you need. Design your site using what Grid and other new methods have to offer. Then look at how you deal with the browsers without support, by serving them something slightly simpler.

Now that Edge fully supports Grid, it's probably time to stop farting around and really learn it, now that I've finally embraced flexbox.

August 1

On Mistral

I think the article itself disproves the thesis that Mistral is patently hateable— in fact the piece eased my own distaste for it. I am plenty old enough to remember a time before Comic Sans and Papyrus when Mistral was the only typeface to loathe.

One point that I think is key is that it was one of the few extant fonts, let alone ones that business owners had access to, that would approximate handwriting or graffiti. It's a big reason Comic Sans persists, and presumably why sites like Creative Market are flooded with handwritten custom typefaces. I find it hard to hate on small business owners who wanted their signs or truck stickers to be less brutalist. A world where an otherwise solid piece of art like Straight Outta Compton can be packaged in crap design is a more fun world, anyway.

July 5

Stealing your way to original design with Dan Mall

Mall is a capable, arguably influential designer and writer on the web. It's always cool to see how the sausage is made, but even cooler to see that a person with his credentials has a framework for creative "theft" as a basis for starting new designs.

When you're experienced, you start to internalize these kinds of layout patterns. But while recently working on a website, I realized I hadn't designed one in a very long time and was pretty unfamiliar with the nuts and bolts of a site these days. This would've been a great way to get rolling, and I might try it for the next iteration.

June 28

Inline validation considered harmful

Just kidding, this article didn't really use that word. And rather than an alarmist view, this is a fairly measured take. However, most of the arguments are actually against realtime (onblur) validation, not inline validation.

I spent two years dealing with some serious problems that were born entirely out of the fact that an application used realtime+inline validation. And that was primarily in a series of wizard-like dialogs, which really didn't make any sense (the pattern of "disable the continue button until validation is cleared" would've worked well).

Our problems included:

  • forms that didn't require a certain order to filling them out, but validation that did
  • false positives triggered by mouse actions that left users in an unresolvable state if they clicked "wrong"
  • field groups often in a false-positive state (point #4 in the article)

This isn't the same as saying that per-field validation is wrong, and I still strongly believe in that, but this article has a lot of solid points.

June 11

Type on the web

Some great fundamentals here. Other than the wide trend toward cranking the size that's been going on for a few years, really solid type work on the web is only recently coming into its own. It's kind of like when Khoi Vinh popularized grids a few years back; it made me wonder how many folks in this business have even studied design. I think it's great when people with more formal knowledge spread it to the web.

When it comes to type though, it's only been recently that we've been able to have a real level of control over it.