Hi, I’m Brian Dys — a photographer from the inside looking out · a composer entangled in electronic music · a UX designer · a spouse, a parent, & everything in between.
I am currently making a curriculum for the basics of HTML and CSS.
Revisiting CSS Levels, I have written in the past about it:
The important thing to remember is to pattern it after the Levels of HTML wherein we must begin with Accessibility and Usability in mind.
And from there on, we build towards Visual Design.
Using this as basis, one could argue that Colors and Typography are “nice-to-haves”.
Can your design stand in black and white?
Can your design stand in a serif font?
Yes, it should.
After building the Content Structure (HTML) of your website, the next step in the process is building its Visuals (CSS).
To be able to ease the process of writing the style sheets, we must segment it into levels:
- Level 1: Default (browser level)
- Level 2: Normalize (boilerplate level)
- Level 3: Modify (visibility and sizes level)
- Level 4: Template (functionality level)
- Level 5: Theme (custom level)
Ideally, each level must be buildt on top of the previous one yet still independent. For example, leaving the style sheet at browser level must present usable information. The same principle applies as one builds the style sheet level per level.
Level 3: Modify
- hide accessible names
- hide components
- set default state of components thru class names
- active element padding
- spacings (margins between components and paddings around components)
- dimensions are set at 100% for Mobile-First
Level 4: Template
- set the functionality of utilities such as Search and Navigation
Level 4: Theme
- background colors/images
- visual elements (badges, logos, lines/borders, shadows, corner radius)
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Previously, I’ve discussed a class naming convention in the form of:
In this manner we are using a UI State class located up in the DOM tree – particularly in the
body to manipulate different UI elements under it.
Take this as an example: in a site’s header, both the main navigation and search form are located.
<header> <h2 class="accessible-name">Header Content</h2> <nav class="main-navigation">…</nav> <form class="search-form">…</form> </header>
What benefit do we get in having a global
class located higher in the DOM tree? It lets us control different parts of the UI depending on the site’s or app’s UI Type or UI State.
It is important to reserve the highest element you can put a class on – which is
html (for pertinent class names), thus, the second highest element we could attach a
class attribute to is
Going back to our example, we would use the following UI State class to define the state of the search form:
body class, in words, translates to “The UI State of the Search Form is Active”.
Now, whenever the search form is active, you can already manipulate the main navigation based on that state.
Take a look at the demo on CodePen: