Pure CSS social media icons (experimental)

This is an experiment that creates social media icons using CSS and semantic HTML. It uses progressive enhancement to turn an unordered list of text links into a set of icons without the use of images or JavaScript.

Demo: Pure CSS social media icons

Support: Firefox 3.5+, Safari 4+, Chrome 4+, Opera 10+, IE8+.

CSS social media icons

The image below shows you the final appearance in modern browsers.

A preview of the social media icons created using CSS

This experiment starts with a simple list of links, with each link using meaningful text, and then progressively styles each link to take on the appearance of the relevant social media icon. As a result, there should be support for screenreaders or users with CSS disabled.

I’ve also included basic text in the title attribute of each link to provide information for users who may not be familiar with what service a specific icon represents.

This is an experiment that uses CSS 2.1 and CSS3 that is not supported by Internet Explorer 6 and 7, therefore, you shouldn’t expect it to work in those browsers. CSS is not necessarily the most appropriate tool for this kind of thing either.

Example code

The technique I’ve used is much the same as the one used for the Pure CSS speech bubbles.

The HTML is just a basic unordered list of links to various social networking websites or services.

<ul>
   <li class="facebook"><a href="#non" title="Share on Facebook">Facebook</a></li>
   <li class="twitter"><a href="#non" title="Share on Twitter">Twitter</a></li>
   <li class="rss"><a href="#non" title="Subscribe to the RSS feed">RSS</a></li>
   <li class="flickr"><a href="#non" title="Share on Flickr">Flickr</a></li>
   <li class="delicious"><a href="#non" title="Bookmark on Delicious">Delicious</a></li>
   <li class="linkedin"><a href="#non" title="Share on LinkedIn">LinkedIn</a></li>
   <li class="google"><a href="#non" title="Bookmark with Google">Google</a></li>
   <li class="orkut"><a href="#non" title="Share on Orkut">Orkut</a></li>
   <li class="technorati"><a href="#non" title="Add to Technorati">Technorati</a></li>
   <li class="netvibes"><a href="#non" title="Add to NetVibes">NetVibes</a></li>
</ul>

I’ve applied some general styles to the elements that make up this list.

ul {
   list-style:none;
   padding:0;
   margin:0;
   overflow:hidden;
   font:0.875em/1 Arial, sans-serif;
}

ul li {
   float:left;
   width:66px;
   height:66px;
   margin:20px 20px 0 0;
}

ul li a {
   display:block;
   width:64px;
   height:64px;
   overflow:hidden;
   border:1px solid transparent;
   line-height:64px;
   text-decoration:none;
   /* css3 */
   text-shadow:0 -1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
   -moz-border-radius:5px;
   -webkit-border-radius:5px;
   border-radius:5px; /* standards version last */
}

ul li a:hover,
ul li a:focus,
ul li a:active {
   opacity:0.8;
   border-color:#000;
}

Each icon uses it’s own set of styles. This is the CSS that created the RSS icon.

.rss a {
   position:relative;
   width:60px;
   padding:0 2px;
   border-color:#ea6635;
   text-transform:lowercase;
   text-indent:-186px;
   font-size:64px;
   font-weight:bold;
   color:#fff;
   background:#e36443;

   /* css3 */
   -moz-box-shadow:0 0 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.4);
   -webkit-box-shadow:0 0 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.4);
   box-shadow:0 0 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.4);
   background:-webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#f19242), to(#e36443));
   background:-moz-linear-gradient(top, #f19242, #e36443);
   background:linear-gradient(top, #f19242, #e36443);
}

.rss a:before,
.rss a:after {
   content:"";
   position:absolute;
   bottom:10px;
   left:10px;
}

/* create circle */
.rss a:before {
   width:12px;
   height:12px;
   background:#fff;
   /* css3 */
   -moz-border-radius:12px;
   -webkit-border-radius:12px;
   border-radius:12px;
}

/* create the two arcs */
.rss a:after {
   width:22px;
   height:22px;
   border-style:double;
   border-width:24px 24px 0 0;
   border-color:#fff;
   /* css3 */
   -moz-border-radius:0 50px 0 0;
   -webkit-border-radius:0 50px 0 0;
   border-radius:0 50px 0 0;
}

Acknowledgements

This post was inspired by an experiment on insicdesigns that producing a few social media icons using CSS. Their experiment did not use semantic HTML, meaningful text, or degrade nicely in a semi-modern browser like Internet Explorer 8. This is my attempt to remedy that.

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