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By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Build WordPress Themes from Scratch with lynda.com

Download Simone and Build WordPress Themes from Scratch

One of the most popular requests I’ve received from lynda.com members is for a course on how to build WordPress themes from scratch. I’m excited to announce that WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores has finally come to fruition. The course is an introduction to WordPress theme design and development, a best-practice example of a mobile-first, standards-based web development process, and a first-hand look at my personal approach to custom WordPress projects. Just as importantly, it’s an introduction to Simone—the WordPress theme that I build in the course itself, which is now available for free in the WordPress Theme Directory.

By Chris Converse | Friday, May 09, 2014

Creating Responsive Images and Media


As mobile and tablet Internet usage continues to grow, responsive web design becomes more and more important. Some reports suggest that mobile Internet usage may actually surpass desktop usage this year. For any website not taking advantage of responsive design, this means a loss of traffic and fewer conversions.

When creating a responsive website, it’s especially important to know the best practices for images and media. In this article, we’ll talk about bitmap-based web graphics, including JPG, GIF, and PNG, as well as video.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Planning a Responsive Web Design


As mobile web usage continues to rise, it’s increasingly important that your website functions across all types of devices and screen sizes. The smartest way to provide the best user experience (UX) for today’s technology is to create a website with a responsive design.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is Email Ready for Video?

Embedding video responsibly

Explore this course at lynda.com.

With so many people now reading email on mobile devices that support the HTML5 standard, it’s becoming easier and easier to incorporate video into emails. Even better: Mobile and desktop email clients that don’t support HTML5 video will fall back to a user-friendly, clickable link, so no one is left out.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Using High-Definition (Retina) Graphics with CSS

Responsive web design techniques aren’t just for changing the layout and composition of your web designs; they can also optimize your project’s imagery for high-resolution screens. CSS3 media queries include properties for detecting the pixel ratio of a device’s screen—and when the pixel density value is two or greater, we know the device has a high-density display, and can use high-definition graphics.

Standard definition graphics can appear soft or blurry

Standard definition graphics can appear soft or blurry when viewed on a high-density display.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Creating a Responsive Web Experience

Simply rearranging your web design across screen sizes isn’t enough to assure a smooth, natural experience for all the devices that will view it. In order to truly optimize the user experience, we must alter the content and behavior as well. This means loading alternate HTML content, suppressing animations, and collapsing navigation for small screens.

FIgure 1Navigation on small screens is collapsed into a single button, which expands into the global navigation when clicked or tapped, providing an optimal experience for small screens.

In this course, we’ll explore altering the user experience based on screen size. This approach will allow us to increase the user experience and download speed for larger screens, while delivering smaller-sized files and targeted experiences for smaller screens. Learn how to combine jQuery with your HTML and CSS to alter experiences across screen sizes.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, March 21, 2013

Responsive design for all screens

Is your audience getting the whole picture?

Is your audience getting the whole picture?

Responsive design has long been on the minds of web designers and developers, and over the last couple of years, it has become a focal topic among industry insiders and clients alike. Is the site responsive? Should it be responsive? Is responsive web design a good idea, or are we focusing on it as an exclusive solution to a much broader set of problems? Going to web design conferences these days you hear as many takes on the topic as there are people, and a common theme among them is that responsive design is profoundly confusing and complicated.

But does it have to be?

By Chris Converse | Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Converting Photoshop designs to HTML

For many designers, the process of designing a website ends with a series of mock-ups that represent how the website should look in a browser. While this is a necessary aspect to web design, it is only part of the design process. Translating the web design to HTML and CSS is as much an art form as it is a technical achievement.

It is my belief that web designers should be responsible for getting their design to the browser. Imagine hiring a print designer to sketch out a design, then provide Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files to a printer, and expecting the pressmen to do the layout in InDesign. This print workflow is unthinkable. Just as a print designer is responsible for getting the design to the plate, a web designer should be responsible for getting the design to the browser.

While I’m not suggesting designers need to code every page of an entire website on their own, translating the design into HTML and CSS ensures the integrity of the design. Once the design works in a browser, web developers can use that HTML and CSS as a starting point as they implement their responsibilities to the project.

Creating the containers When evaluating your desired layout, one can imagine the structure, or “containers,” that will be needed to replicate the layout in HTML.

Responsive design strategy illustration

Once the HTML structure is in place, CSS is used to assign style and layout to the structure. The combination of HTML and CSS provides the presentation experience of your website. This process is not too far removed from other design methods, and can be mastered by designers in a few months.

Creating your web graphics The process for cutting up small graphics from your Photoshop, Illustrator, or Fireworks document is referred to as slicing. Many web graphic tools have a slicing tool, or something similar, which allows you to specify a portion of your canvas as a slice.

Slicing a Photoshop document for the web

Once portions of your design are specified inside of slice regions, exporting your main canvas results in individual web-ready graphics being created based on the pixels contained within the slice regions.

Assigning layout and style with CSS Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allow us to give dimension, position, and style to HTML elements on our webpage. CSS is unique in that it accounts for the layout of our page, in addition to typographic style. Another great feature of CSS is the ability to assign images to the background of HTML elements. This gives us a unique opportunity to drive imagery in our design with CSS, instead of HTML. Combine this with CSS3 media queries, and we can change our images, as well as layout, based on the user’s screen size. For more on responsive download and design, see the blog post “Responsive download, not just responsive design”.

If you learn best by doing, my Creating a Responsive Web Design course shows you how to take a design mock-up into HTML and CSS. Learn a start-to-finish process for creating a responsive, CSS-based, backward-compatible HTML5 webpage… all in 91 minutes!

Suggested courses to watch next: • More courses by Chris ConverseCSS: Core ConceptsCSS: Page Layouts

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