5 questions for 35 designers

Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine asked me and 34 other designers (though I don’t really consider myself a designer, and definitely not a graphic designer) five questions.

Everybody’s answers to those five questions are revealed in 35 Designers x 5 Questions, a long, long article (because 35 times 5 = 175).

I was kind of overloaded with work when I answered the questions, so in comparison to many of the others my answers may seem short, abrupt, and grumpy. Oh well :-). The article is still a good read that contains a lot of useful tips.

Posted on April 23, 2007 in Interviews, Quicklinks


  1. 2 things:

    1) overflow:auto do not clear anything in Opera if you not add width or height (usually I add width:100%).

    2) About chapter 2.5. Usually I write overflow:hidden; instead of outline:0; I saw this technique at the first time on zeldman.com.

  2. April 23, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)
    1. I rarely use overflow:auto since I’m perfectly happy with the PIE method :-).
    2. Using outline:0 for links (the way it is described in the article) is bad unless you add something else that lets keyboard users see which link has focus. overflow:hidden could be a better choice (I haven’t tested it).
  3. I was quite shocked to read that some use a “Global Reset” technique. In my opinion this is a bad practice and never allow anybody in my team to use it. And of course this made me very skeptical of the whole article. Typography and layout grids are two different things even though grids are mentioned in the Typography section. The ‘just out of school’ question of a favorite font kind of underlines the level of the review. Fonts matter to an identity and or content, this should not matter in the slightest to the designer.

    Some of the participants are of the highest level (including yourself Roger) and so I’ll take the review with a pinch of salt.

  4. Amazing that nobody prioritizes sellability when working with clients. That’s always at the top of my list. Then, usually, usability is the means which makes it happen.

  5. Egor, could you explain your reasoning why use of a Global Reset is bad practice?

    I do agree that they article seems a bit poor in regards to typography, though I disagree that type and grid are completely different since good type almost always requires a good grid.

  6. Some great info in that article. They actually address a lot of the same topics as Transcending CSS does, so for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the 40 bucks on a book, they should definitely read that article. -Nick

  7. @Roger & warmrobot: overflow: hidden; is the method I’ve been using, but while outline: 0; has serious acessiblity concerns, overflow: hidden; has its own problem that I was recently made aware of.

    When you add overflow: hidden; to an anchor tag, it makes it impossible to “cancel your click” (click on the anchor, but while holding the mouse button down, dragging away from the link to abort your click) in Firefox.

    Because the issue is only apparent in Firefox, to me really begs the question of whether or not this is Mozilla’s problem. I’d really be interested in your take on this. Being that none of the other browsers (at least that I’ve run across) have either of these issues, is this something that should eventually be addressed by Mozilla? (If I recall correctly, the huge outline with negative text-indentation became an issue with Firefox 1.5)

  8. Jonathan E

    Hm, interesting thing. I don’t even khow that it is possible: cancel my clicks. And it is true: it is impossible in FF to cancel click. Sincerily, it does not bothering me much. :-)

    I think not so many people khow about this feature. May be I am wrong?

  9. warmrobot: It’s hard to say really, but I’d assume that you’re right and that the majority of people don’t know that they can “cancel” their click.

  10. Andrew, I didn’t mention that grids and typography are completely different. Just that they are not the same discipline. It’s like saying that typography and colour are the same, they’re not. It’s just that each require specific knowledge and skill and deserve to be discussed separately.

    The global reset trick is something I myself use to do and have decided not to use again. My problem with it is that the reset assumes that it’s always needed now and in the future. Furthermore it assumes that others make the same assumption. Often within a project something needs to be added and removed with in a short time frame. Such work is often done by some sort of maintenance team who are not always familiar with the CSS. They have to reinsert or redefine separate margins and padding for something that normally has margins and or paddings by default. It all becomes over complicated and unnecessary. So I ditched the technique as a flaw in thinking.

  11. April 23, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Andrew: I avoid using the universal selector for the reasons Eric Meyer gives in Reset Reasoning.

  12. I must have misunderstood, I took “Global Reset” to mean any system that resets all browser styles to a common starting point, such as YUI Reset (which isn’t perfect as Eric Meyer has shown implicitly) rather than the specific method of using the universal selector.

    If Eric can actually pull off a decent reset system that would definitely be a good thing in my book.

  13. ‘…my answers may seem short, abrupt, and grumpy.’

    Get out of here - no way!!!! :D

    I thought it was a long, but interesting article - I only sort of skimmed through it yesterday (but maybe it’s worth a closer look). I generally use the global reset because it’s effective…but maybe I should not. [Back to Eric’s article!!!]

    The layout of the ‘5 questions…’ article was a bit clumsy…I didn’t really feel like I was getting 175 answers!

    And who the hell reads ALA on a daily/weekly basis? They only seem to have a new article* every 2-3 weeks! (*Great, great articles when they do see the light of day though!)

  14. Eric’s article makes the differentiation between universal selectors, zeroing and (re)setting particular elements. That last one often happens anyway when defining patterns, in fact that’s what I call it. Setting all the rules that I’ll likely need as patterns. Obvious examples are form elements and lists. But do this with great care because lists are all over the place. Never mind all the CMS crap that gets thrown in. This is where zeroing falls flat on it’s face.

Comments are disabled for this post (read why), but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact me.