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Why CSS matters in your team

Updated: Jan 8

If you‘re coming from a full house production or a Digital Agency or a Product Development studio than creating digital products online is your forte which means whether you like it or not, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is always present.

Remember way back in the early years of Web Design when Web Designers realised they could remove borders from HTML tables and this tiny bit of intel completely revolutionised how we design websites today!

In 1994, HÃ¥kon Wium Lie first proposed CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to allow web designers to change layout, colours and fonts for any website. Since then CSS has gone through many changes and has introduced new properties such as transform which allows developers to apply a 2D or 3D transformation to an element on page.

When I first began working with CSS in 1998 it was two year’s after it had been publicly introduced. I was hired by a company in New Zealand to help finish their website. I was learning HTML and CSS at the same time. I remember we finished close to mid night every night.

Back then it was okay to implement CSS as part of HTML, for example:

<!-- -->

  <P><FONT SIZE="4" COLOR="RED">This would be some font broken up into columns</FONT></P>

Or even inline CSS, example: style=”font-size: 16px; color: red”

As the industry changed, CSS for the most part remained the same. However, inline styles was now frowned upon. It was no longer acceptable to have styles inline. It had to be completely decoupled.

Hence front-end development:

  1. HTML

  2. CSS

  3. JavaScript

Then, React came. And suddenly inline styles went from uncool to very cool! Of course there were debates on the engineering team as to CSS preference, inline styles or classes.

But the point is CSS matters very much!

Today we live in a world where we have the luxury of UI libraries: Bootstrap, Ant Design, Semantic UI React, VueJS, AngularJS etc.. obviously, much has happened since the late 90’s but some things remain true and that is CSS. Without CSS we cannot deliver something which is accessible to the end user.

If you’re in a product development team, then its important for everyone to be on-board, especially when it comes to CSS. Because, CSS is often an after-thought while it should be something which is reviewed at the very beginning.

The cost to prototype something is a lot cheaper than the cost to engineer something.

In 2017, I was fortunate to be part of a company that valued new ideas. And so I was allowed for a time to be a conduit between both the design and engineering teams. Things accelerated very quickly.

And the difference of those teams was — How CSS works!

What I learned through this exercise was that engineers and designers see things very differently. Engineers are not interested in UI, although its the necessary evil of the job.

Designers are not interested in function but aesthetics because they do not care if your API is working or not.

As the conduit for both teams, I was able to leverage a new platform: Storybook: Frontend workshop for UI development. And with this new platform I was able to prototype something that was half way between design and engineering (half-baked).

  1. What the designers wanted (50%)

  2. What the engineers wanted (50%)

Having something like this at play will completely revolutionise how you and your product team can work together.

If interested in CSS you can reach me at

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