responsive web design

Responsive web designIn the time leading up to the birth of full Responsive Web Design (2010), there was a mad rush of techniques and technologies for developers that attempted to address the breakneck, disorganized transformation of computing from a desktop monitor to a multi-device, multi-size, multi-shape experience. From the early days of WAP to modern CMS platforms building in device detection and alternate templates, some of these approaches had promise but generally failed for three reasons: they were fragmenting, instantly technically dated, and their organization and cost overheard was operationally unsupportable.

Responsive Web Design (plus or minus a few good techniques that break Responsive orthodoxy) is the intellectually elegant solution to the problem of digital experiences needing to work well on multiple devices—focusing on screen size rather than device type, and centralizing all relevant code in single templates and creating the best path to efficiently supporting the changing device landscape. Problem solved, right?

Well, in one sense, yes, but no one said Responsive was easy. As much as it solves many problems, and is clearly the ultimate way to go, it adds tremendous complexity to designer user experiences, front-end coding, and QA—not to mention interactions between all of the above.

An army of pundits have been let loose upon the world to convince you: “Hey there is no problem!” All peddling the idea that we’ll all just use the Bootstrap framework and the aesthetics of Flat Design to make our sites perfectly responsive—and all perfectly the same. Well sorry gang, for those of us committed to true usability, unique brand impressions and the higher craft of large website design that cookie cutter stuff just isn’t going to work. Our full adoption of Responsive has meant that our work with problem solving and user experience and production has become far more complex and professionally transformational. Lots more complex.

As a result of the thoughtful work we’ve put into this, we are not your standard “Responsive Shop” and take our projects to a much deeper level. For instance, our approach to responsive design takes into consideration:

  • The contradictions between the usability of browsing deep site trees and the small space for navigation and context indication.
  • Leveraging anticipated swiping and scrolling behaviors.
  • Content strategies and content object modeling in CMS that is tuned to Responsive considerations.
  • Deep nuances of HTML 5+ interaction design.
  • Graphic design that works at all sizes without being flat, non-hierarchical, or boring.
  • Phone-specific locative and other functionality.
  • Full complexities of Responsive Design process and front-end code management.

Intelligent, fully-Responsive templates and architectures that work for the full range of device sizes are a core part of our practice—with many projects under our belts.  It’s the quality of user interaction—and the operational efficiencies to meet modern timelines—that make all the difference.

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Conor architects and builds software after close involvement in the requirements gathering process to make sure his solutions fit our clients' vision.

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