EM360 Digital Blog

26 Feb 2016
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Responsive Design Process

You can­not plan for and design a respon­sive, con­tent-focused, mobile-first web­site the same way.
If your goal is to pro­duce some­thing that is not fixed-width and serves small­er devices just the styles they require, why would you use a dat­ed process that con­tra­dicts those goals?

It’s easy to resort to work­ing more to resolve these new chal­lenges. What comes nat­u­ral­ly? Do a desk­top and mobile-sized wire­frame, then turn around and design a desk­top and mobile-sized lay­out. This sort of solves the prob­lem. You and your devel­op­er have more to work with, at least. How­ev­er, what about all the device widths in-between—you’ll have to cov­er those as well, right?

At this point, you wake up and real­ize you’re stuck in a famil­iar loop of ever-increas­ing deliv­er­ables and ever-shrink­ing prof­its. Using this old process to tack­le new prob­lems doesn’t real­ly solve any of them, and it’s going to kill you from lack of sleep, make you poor from lack of prof­it, or both.
There are some good ideas float­ing around deal­ing with new process­es. Some smart folks are of the very sen­si­ble opin­ion that the only answer is to design in the brows­er. How­ev­er, oth­er smart folks have admit­ted for the qui­et rest of us that it’s real­ly, real­ly hard to design freely in the browser—at least with cur­rent tools.
Of the emerg­ing new process ideas, those that involve respon­sive HTML/CSS pro­to­types look very promis­ing. I’m plan­ning to inves­ti­gate these fur­ther. How­ev­er, there are some def­i­nite chal­lenges with this approach, not the least of which is the time it takes to cre­ate them when the site con­tent is com­plex. Most of the exam­ples I’ve seen are fair­ly gener­ic, which doesn’t trans­late well to real projects.
Cur­rent­ly, we are suc­cess­ful­ly using a dif­fer­ent approach. It attempts to opti­mize con­tent, design, and devel­op­ment time, find­ing a bud­get-friend­ly bal­ance of appro­pri­ate direc­tion from all disciplines—something that is effec­tive, lean and uses quick, wide­ly-acces­si­ble tools.

[From smashingmagazine.com]

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