by Tim Kadlec is spot on in its position that too often the technique is blamed for a poor experience rather than how it was implemented.
In football this would be akin to blaming the coaches play calling when in fact it was the quarterbacks read on the defense that leads to an interception. Plans are only as effective as their execution.
I’ve recently run across a couple articles that aim to make the point that responsive web design (RWD) is not a cure all when it comes to designing for the web. While that is true, in the process of getting to their point the authors make several statements that are misleading, inaccurate, confusing and conveluted.
My goal here is not to bash these articles but to clarify some of the mis-information they contain. My concern is for those not well informed about responsive web design taking that bad information and basing their decisions on it and spreading their message. The article on Forbe’s site by Carin van Vuuren is of particular concern because of the sites reputation as a provider of trustworthy information. The article by Erik Martin on the EContent site is equally bad in its attempt to cover the topic and worth discussing here. Clearly not front-end developers, both van Vuuren’s and Martin’s lack of practical knowledge on the subject leads to many erroneous and inaccurate statements that I hope I can clear up here.
I know the fold should be a dead topic by now but you’d be surprised how often it still comes up. So I’ll take a stab addressing it and start by asking this simple question…
What Would You Do If There Were No Fold?
How would you prioritize your content? Fact is all content is not created equal and something has to give and should. Focus on the story you’re trying to tell and the true headliners will rise to the top on their own. It’s been proven time and again that when given content that interests them, visitors will scroll. In fact they’ll scroll until they stop finding content of interest. Just look at how Pinterest employs infinite scroll if you need proof.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) has really come into its own since 2010. This is due in large part to the explosion of mobile devices, notably smartphones and tablets, into the marketplace over the past couple years. But even the best and brightest minds in the field recognize that responsive is only part of the answer.
Useful. Usable. Desirable. There it is. These 3 qualities can help us understand both what’s needed (deliverables) to succeed and the order (process map) in which to approach design and development. At a deeper level they can help draw focus to the “why” or “purpose” of a website. In fact, understanding “why” we’re creating a website will help us to define what is useful, usable and desirable.
“A good player plays where the puck is. A great player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky
We’re all aware that things are constantly changing and doing so faster then ever in the world of web. New challenges arise daily. More browsers, more devices, more screen sizes, changing user contexts and much more. Sometime looking at things in new way can paint a more clear picture of the reality. So I’ve taken some time to look at one online properties to see just what we’re up against today and to try to offer some insight on where we’re likely to be this time next year.
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” – Bruce Lee
This one quote contains all the wisdom we need to approach our web projects in a way that helps us survive in an unpredictable and ever changing industry. Let’s face it, there are times were it can feel like we’re doing battle as we work on some projects. Battling with clients, stakeholders, designers, developers and everyone else that’s involved throughout the process. So what better way to face these challenges then armed with an attitude that is adaptive, flexible and fluid.
Content lives within an ecosystem much like any other organism on the planet. Like other organism there are a multitude of factors have influence over its existence. It’s important to know what those factors are in order to develop a strategy to deal with them.
Over the last year or so much has changed in web design. Our big problem use to be backwards compatibility with IE6. But now we find ourselves in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. New smart-phones and tablets are popping up faster then the brain hungry undead in a George A. Romero movie.
Luckily a lot very of smart people have been paying attention and coming up with ideas and solution on how to deal with this impending apocalypse. Here’s brief summary of all the lessons learned over the last year. Follow them and you just might survive.