May 05

20 Snippets for Things You Never Thought were Possible with CSS

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 11:49 — julie

Web developers are always curious to learn about the newest techniques for building websites. CSS3 has been a major turning point for frontend developers with a collection of new properties supported by modern web browsers. As web standards race forward into the future, passionate developers are working hard to create exciting ideas that have always seemed inconceivable until now.

These free code snippets are perfect for anyone who wants to forge ahead into the wilderness of cutting edge CSS techniques. Each snippet uses CSS to create something which pushes the boundaries of modern web design. Feel free to copy any of these snippets into your own work or even try building your own ideas referencing these examples as a guide.


Checkbox Styles by Brad Bodine

Mobile UI design patterns have become very popular in the field of web design. Customized sliders and checkboxes have made the list of cloned features which appear in this handy little snippet.

The boxes and sliders are created using typical HTML input fields with heavy customization via CSS. Designers have been waiting years for dynamic input fields and browser manufacturers have only recently delivered products that support CSS3 as a method for customization.


Animated Popout Statistics by Jamie Coulter

While a large popout interface seems cool on its own, the added CSS3 animation effects are even more scrumptious. Each one of the data bars & data charts will animate on pageload and pop off the page during hover events.


YouTube Logo by Leon Taveras

Dynamic logo creation is surprisingly simple with CSS3. This YouTube logo was created using a background gradient and some text shadows. Everything is encapsulated inside an H1 tag using two span elements to separate the blocks of text.


Pure CSS Accordion by Anz Joy

Typically an accordion menu would be tied onto a JavaScript click event function. But since CSS can handle effects through the :checked pseudo-class it’s easier than ever to create an accordion menu hidden behind radio buttons. Classy CSS3 transitions are used for the sliding accordion animation.


Tag Link Button by Fernando Pasik

Back 10-15 years ago tag icons were very popular for tag clouds and blog tag listings. It used to be that tag icons were created via background images, but with CSS you can build scalable tag links with any type of background. This code snippet relies on SCSS but it can be compiled and edited as regular CSS if needed.


Stitched Border Effect by Mitch Granger

Border stitching is another effect which used to rely on background images. CSS3 background gradients make it possible to replicate the effect through vector shapes right in the browser. Technically speaking, you’ll still be able to create a more believable stitched effect via Photoshop or Illustrator. But just the fact that it’s even possible in CSS shows how far we’ve come regarding web standards.


Fullscreen Carousel by Kohei Shingai

JavaScript has always been the go-to solution for any image carousel or photo gallery. Typically it would be difficult to control click events via CSS3 but selected radio buttons naturally force only one item to be selected at a time. This allows designers to create rotating carousels with animated effects riding solely on CSS while JavaScript is jettisoned and forgotten.


Perspective Circular Loader by simurai

Pure CSS loaders have become extremely popular over the past few years. We’re all familiar with the typical designs created from basic objects or SVG vector images. But this loader is unique in the sense that it’s created at a perspective slant from the viewer. It uses the CSS perspective transform property along with some other dynamic animated effects.


Starry Parallax Background by Saransh Sinha

Continual motion and parallax design mostly reside in the realm of jQuery. While this statement is predominantly true, it’s now possible to create basic page motion with pure CSS3. The background is created using some fancy box shadow/gradient effects coupled with a CSS3 animation function.


Notepaper Blockquote by Thibaut Courouble

Here’s an interesting snippet created by Thibaut Courouble over at CSS Flow. The note paper background can be crafted with a series of borders, shadows, and gradient effects combined onto a single div. Another piece of paper is rotated slightly to create the illusion of depth.


Animated Progress Bar by Thibaut Courouble

This animated progress bar was also created by Thibaut Courouble relying purely on CSS code. While animation has become easier with CSS3, it’s still surprising to find an interactive progress bar with clickable stages. This can work great on an eCommerce layout or during a signup process reliant on multiple pages.


Jagged Banner Container by Terry Mun

I am consistently amazed at how many ideas which used to require Photoshop can now be replicated in a web browser. Jagged saw-tooth banners create an interesting effect for splitting up page composition with areas like headers and CTA buttons. These jagged banners were actually created for a frontend dev tutorial which explains the entire process from start to finish.


Full Interactive NES by One div

Although this retro blast from the past may not find use in a typical website, the code snippet itself is quite an amazing creation. Not only is the NES scalable to different sizes and built purely in CSS, but it also has features which are completely interactive. Clicking the power button actually toggles a power lightswitch.

Needless to say this snippet requires over 600 lines of CSS code alone. But considering this is possible in 2015 it’ll be interesting to see what can be accomplished in another decade.


CSS Status Icons by Matt Shwery

Most websites still rely on traditional PNG/JPEG images for icons. The SVG filetype is gaining support for it’s vector capabilities, but this is also true of code-based icons. Each of these status icons have been created with pure CSS which is dumbfounding to say the least. If you pick apart the shapes for each icon you should be able to create a few others with minimal code.


Sliding Text Animation by Kurt Schlatzer

Large headers and dynamic parallax layouts use this trick all the time. Sliding text will draw visibility and offer a unique way to share your message with visitors. In this case JavaScript is nowhere to be found and the text animation is controlled via CSS. While this is stunning it’s also admittedly harder to control because CSS has limitations on manipulating DOM elements.


Calendar Widget by Yusuf

This pen is filled with hover animations and creative icon designs. The calendar interface is quite rare in web design so it requires careful attention to detail. I love the hover effects and how each piece of the interface works together aesthetically. This pure CSS calendar is not fully interactive but with a little elbow grease it certainly could be.


Full Solar System by Malik Dellidj

When first stumbling onto this animated solar system I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. Each icon representing the planets has been created with nothing but pure CSS code. The rotation speed is also relative to scale so each planet will animate in proportion to our real-life solar system. Considering this is a fully scaled CSS3 model of our solar system and there’s no air in space, I’d say the word “breathtaking” aptly describes this masterpiece.


Expanding Photo Stack by Miro Karilahti

At first glance this seems like a typical CSS3 animation controlled by a hover event. But looking closer you’ll notice that each photo is not only stacked, but animates individually. CSS3 transforms have been used to create the illusion of perspective and depth. The HTML only relies on a single div container with anchor links around each photo.


CSS Animated SVG Icon by Subhendu Ghosh

Scalable Vector Graphics are the perfect companion for CSS animation. They’re not based on pixels but rather mathematical formulas which can be scaled at will. This light bulb graphic is dynamically animated via CSS3. Admittedly the SVG code is quite detailed but this snippet can be a useful learning tool for developers getting started with the topic of SVG/CSS animation.


Animated Factory by Noel Delgado

When it comes to CSS animation this factory graphic is phenomenal. The boxes follow an interminable pattern with a CSS3 transform before dropping into a hole. The div with a mysterious class of .magic also animates an internal green substance from top to bottom. These same CSS properties could be used to animate icons or custom graphics in your own web projects.


Wrap-Up

Each of these code snippets represent a small fragment of our ever-advancing CSS design trends. Frontend web development has changed so much in what feels like only a brief moment of time. It’ll be fascinating to see what’s possible in another mere 5 or 10 years.

If you would like to view some code snippets for animating CSS, check out this post: A Collection of Pure CSS Animation Snippets & Demos.

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