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Miriam Suzanne creates experimental experiences with her band and her fellow developers.

“Some day you’ll realise you can’t do everything. You have to focus.”

My accountant was helping me sort out my taxes, and I wasn’t making it easy. I had a successful web agency, a small theatre company, a band preparing to tour, my second novel ready for publishing, an art show about to open, and an assortment of side projects – all creating a tangled mix of income and expenses.

My accountant wasn’t the first to scold me, and she won’t be the last. From the outside it’s hard to see that I already have settled down. Both my music and web design come directly out of my training in what the kids call ‘devised’ theatre. Instead of working from a stand-alone script and then learning to act the parts, an ensemble iterates on every aspect of the performance, collaborating from start to finish. It’s agile development for performance artists.

I learned the Adobe Suite in order to design show posters, construction tools for building sets, electrical wiring to run lights, and HTML/CSS to launch my first theatre website.

My band Teacup Gorilla and my web company OddBird are both continuations of that work: designing multimedia experiences based on experimentation and user feedback, using whatever tools and skills we have on the team, and learning new skills when they’re needed.

When I have a team of musicians, we call it a band – and when my team is full of developers, we call it an agency. It’s all the same to me.

I never meant to be a graphic designer or web developer, but I learned the skills and people started offering me work. I feel very lucky to be where I am, and proud of the team we’ve built over the years.

Teacup Gorilla also developed organically – it was originally formed to underscore a devised performance. After the show was over the band stayed together, and we’re now a mix of spoken-word stories, subtle melodies, and raucous instrumental builds. It’s not a well-established genre, so we put a lot of work into testing and adjusting.

My main takeaway is the same in art and web development: trust your audience and yourself. Users are smart, and they are happy to think. Let them. My job isn’t to give them all the answers, but to invite them along for a ride and make it worth their time. The user isn’t always right, but they are always worth listening to. Experience design is a collaboration.

More at Net Magazine

27 ‘interview’ episodes

2021

| podcast

Web Ecosystem Health Part VI @ Igalia Chats

Igalia’s Brian Kardell sits down to chat with Miriam and Rachel Andrew about who works on standards, and who pays for that work.

| podcast

CSSWG, Container Queries, Scope, and Layers @ Word Wrap Show

I talk with Claire and Steph about my journey into webdev and onto the CSSWG, what I find frustrating about how others use CSS, and the three specs I’m working on.

| podcast

Container Queries & the CSSWG @ The F-Word

I chat with Bruce Lawson & Vadim Makeev about Sass & Susy, CSS Layers & compatibility, Container Queries, and the CSS Working Group.

| podcast

What Is The Future Of CSS? @ Smashing Magazine

Starting a new season of the Smashing Podcast with a look at the future of CSS. What new specs will be landing in browsers soon? Drew McLellan talks to Miriam to find out.

2020

| podcast

CSS, Sass, and Playwriting @ Enjoy The Vue

I join Ari, Ben, and Tessa to talk about getting into CSS from other languages, the absurdly massive problem CSS is designed to solve, and the mental model behind the language.

| podcast

Design Systems AMA @ Jina Anne

Jina and I answer questions about CSS, Sass, Design Systems, and more!

| podcast

Authoring the future of CSS @ Party Corgi

A spinoff of the Party Corgi Network discord. I chat with Chris Biscardi about The CSS Working Group, open-source projects, art, and music.

2019

| podcast

On Sass & CSS @ Shop Talk Show

I drop by the show to talk about Sass in 2019, design tokens, Oddbird, unused CSS, new CSS properties, and Dave & Chris’ explanation of revert.

| podcast

Design Systems & CSS @ Views on Vue

We start by talking about design systems and design tooling – how they differ, and the problems they solve.

| interview

Has CSS finally come of age? @ Creative Bloq

Steve Jenkins interviews me about the state of CSS, and what’s coming next for the language – from Intrinsic Design to Dynamic CSS.

| podcast

On Dynamic CSS @ Thunder Nerds

Thunder Nerds interview me before her talk at VueConf US 2019.

2018

| podcast

Fonts & more @ Views on Vue

The panel and the guest talk about grid systems, fonts, and more!

| podcast

Ethics, ES6 in Practice, and Dynamic CSS @ TalkScript

On Episode 18, the TalkScript team continues the live-ish at JSConfUS podcast series with guests Myles Borins, Tim Doherty, and Miriam Suzanne. Listen in!

2017

| video

Getting Started with CSS Grid CSS Tricks

It feels like CSS Grid has been coming for a long time now, but it just now seems to be reaching a point where folks are talking more and more about it and that it’s becoming something we should learning.

2016

| interview

*Beyond Pixels Profile Net Magazine

| article

An Interview with Miriam Suzanne CSS Tricks

Chris Coyier interviews Miriam when she joins the CSS Tricks team as a Staff Writer. We talk about gettting started in the industry, name confusion, fouding OddBird, building Susy, and more.

| podcast

Versioning Show, Episode 8 @ SitePoint

In this episode of the Versioning Show, Tim and David are joined by Miriam Suzanne, best known for Susy, a responsive layout toolkit for Sass. They discuss going from being a lurker to finding your voice, the importance of writing about what you’re learning, stumbling into fame, approaching new projects, and unit testing in Sass.

2015

2012

| interview

Collaboration & Queer Art @ Boulder Writers’ Workshop

interview with Richard Wall of the Boulder Writers’ Workshop