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Manuel Aparicio
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Best Practices for CSS Web Development


CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a vital factor in web design. Not only does it handles the look and feel of your site. Also, it’s crucial to make it responsive with smooth User Experiences. With CSS, you can style your website to match your exact specifications. Furthermore, it's ideal to ensure a stellar look on all devices. It even can create animations and effects! Thus, it's fundamental for adding visual interest and creating unique User Interfaces

Here, we'll cover some tips for CSS that the exceptional devs of our team use to create seamless websites. Further, you'll find out how CSS can style your website and create responsive layouts. So, without further ado, let's get right into it!

What is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)?

CSS is a stylesheet language that explains a record format written in HTML or XML. Further, it’s integral to both web design and front-end development. That's because it allows the creation of responsive designs for all devices. The language styles all HTML tags, such as body, paragraphs, headings,  and other pieces of text. Further, it styles the display of table elements, grid elements, and images. Among others, CSS can adjust the size, position, and spacing of details on the page. As a result, it ensures responsive layouts despise screen sizes or resolution. Also, it applies custom fonts and color schemes to web pages. This aspect helps to enhance visual appeal without recurring to JS.

Types of Web Styling with CSS

There are three main ways to add CSS to your HTML code:

1. Inline CSS Web Styling

Do you want to apply CSS styles to a specific element on your page? You can add a style attribute and specify the desired CSS properties and values. For example, if you want to make the H1 heading on your page red, you can add the following code:

<h1 style="color: red;"> This is a heading!</h1>

2. Internal CSS Web Styling

This method is perfect for applying a style to an entire page. Here the style element goes in the head section of your HTML file like this:


 h1 {
  font-size: 42px;

<h1>This is the Page Title!</h1>


3. External CSS Web Styling

An external style sheet allows you to format and customize your website's HTML files. You must include a link to the style sheet in your document's section. Assuming you named your CSS file "style.css," it'll be like this:

 <link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css">

It's worth mentioning that external style sheets are a common practice. The main reason is that you can tackle many pages' styles with a single style sheet. Yet, inline CSS can come in handy when overriding a CSS style. In this context, it has the highest order of precedence. Thus, it can help you avoid the use of !important.

You can also use CSS media queries to apply different CSS styles. These styles can depend on the width or height of the browser window. This feature is handy for responsive web design. In turn, it adjusts the layout of a website to fit different screen sizes. We'll talk more about media queries in a bit.

10 CSS Tips For Responsive Web Design

1. CSS Variables

This function makes your code more flexible and easier to maintain. CSS Variables are especially relevant with spaces, font sizes, and colors. Plus, they can help speed up processes by allowing the reuse of code snippets. Besides, you can easily override them if needed. In turn, it enhances customization based on the project's requirements. All these edges make variables one of the most exciting features to come to CSS in a long time. Let's see how to set a CSS variable. First, you'll have to add the var keyword before the property name. This statement defines a variable called myColor available throughout your code. You can then set its value by using the same keyword followed by the equals sign (=):

var myColor;
myColor = "#ff0000";

Now, whenever you want to use that color, you can use the myColor variable name instead of the hex value. This option makes it easy to keep your code consistent and changes easy to update. You can also use CSS variables to create reusable styles. Let's say you have a list of links needing the same style but different colors. You could create a variable for each color and override the color value for each link as required. This solution would be easier than writing all the same style rules many times.

CSS variables also apply for layout and animation purposes. For instance, you could create a variable for an element's width and use it in different places. As a result, you can easily change the widths of elements based on the screen size or orientation. All major browsers support these variables; hence you can test them today!

2. CSS Properties

It would help if you used shorthand properties wherever possible! These allow you to save time and reduce the file size. For it, these assign multiple and simultaneous values to properties in a single line of code. As a result, it makes your code short, clean, and easy to read.

margin: 0 5 10 20;
margin: 0px 5px 10px 20px;
margin: 0px 2em 4em 6em;

3. CSS Box Model

The Box Model helps you calculate the dimensions and spacing of elements on your page. It considers an element's padding, borders, and margins, as well as its width and height. Further, it influences everything in CSS related to layout and position. Hence, a complete understatement of it helps adapt your site to different screen sizes.

4. CSS Flexbox

Flexbox helps to create flexible layouts for different screen sizes and orientations. While it's still relatively new, it offers a lot of possibilities for responsive design. It allows you to handle layouts and the position of elements relative to each other. Before, this aspect was one of the most challenging issues within web design. Back in the day, you would have to use floats, absolute positioning, tables, and other unsuitable properties. And as you might have guessed, these weren't created for component layouts.

5. CSS Grid Layout

The Grid Layout applies to more complex structures. It's an excellent tool for responsive designs and layouts on pages with many rows and columns. Technically, you can also do this using Flexbox. Yet, you'll end up with many containers or wrappers. As a result, you would need to write many more lines of code, which is undoubtedly more time-consuming. Modern browsers very well support Flexbox and Grid. Hence, they're both reliable choices.

6. CSS Queries

You can use Media Queries to target devices and screen sizes with specific CSS rules. With it, you can have particular layouts for desktop browsers, tablets, and smartphones. There are different ways to use and combine Media Queries in your CSS. Let's see the structure and then an example for a responsive navigation bar.

/* Specific widths or heights */
 "max-width: 400px;"
 "height: 300px;"

/* Particular device types */
 "screen and (max-device-width: 480px);"

/* Certain browsers' sizes */
 "browserWidth >= 800".
nav {
 display: flex;
 justify-content: center;
 align-items: center;
@media screen and (max-width: 480px) {
 nav {
 display: block;

7. CSS Clamp

The Clamp Function also works best on large projects. Moreover, it creates responsive sites with single lines of code without Media Queries. In this scenario, the part takes three parameters or values. These are minimum, preferred, and maximum. Then, it clamps a middle value. The function's leading use applies to images and font sizes. Yet, it can help you make fully responsive sites. Nonetheless, it's worth noticing it's pretty modern; thus, some browsers don't support it.

8. CSS Reset

This feature ensures all browsers interpret your styles the same way. It's also helpful to make your pages look consistent across different devices. Browsers like Internet Explorer apply their specific style set to elements. These practices can lead to annoying inconsistencies. By using reset, you can set those styles to none. In turn, your HTML elements will only target its applied styles. This component also works with UI libraries like Bootstrap or Material UI. So, if you're planning to add one of those to your project, you don't have to worry about setting the styles to zero using the previous code. Let's see an example of how you can do it:

#reset-this-root {
 all: initial; * { all: unset; }

9. CSS Firefox

Take advantage of Firefox for debugging purposes! This browser provides powerful insights when inspecting your code. Yet, to this day, other browsers don't have this option, including Google Chrome.

There's a long list of benefits you'll get from using Firefox. A remarkable one is editing the box model with a breakdown of all element's properties. Among others, it includes display, box-sizing, and grid. It also offers astonishing graphics when working when flex and grid layouts. Another highlight is that it shows many warnings to ensure efficient debugging. The list extends to invalid values, browser compatibility, overridden declarations, and inactive rules.

10. CSS Mobile-First

We've already mentioned the importance of making your site responsive for mobile devices. Moreover, Google announced mobile-first indexing for the whole web a few years ago. Thus, it's convenient to focus on how the website will look and behave on mobile phones. Not only does this approach guarantee cross-device success. Also, this mobile-first approach can save companies time and money.


CSS is one of the most crucial factors in creating responsive and beautiful websites. Making a full-responsive site can be tricky and sometimes a headache. Yet, CSS provides many options to smooth this arduous process to a large extent. This article highlighted some of the best tools you can use in your projects. But, as we know, there are many other techniques that you can explore. What's your go-to CSS feature?