On the shoulders of giants
Fortunately there were a number of very smart folks already discussing many of these issues on sites such as A List Apart, Opera Dev and Smashing Magazine (to name but a few). Many of these articles provided excellent insights on the 'state-of'-the-art' of web design and development. Of particular interest were Ethan Marcotte's 'Responsive Web Design', Dominique Hazaël-Massieux's 'Return of the Mobile Stylesheet' and Aaron Gustafson's 'Understanding Progressive Enhancement' - all of which were instrumental in the ideas we ultimately presented.
I was also quite cognisant of the often hotly-debated "one web" idea. While I won't dare delve into that particular discussion today, I do think it's an ambitious goal that needs to be tempered with solid, real-world pragmatism. You simply cannot deliver the *exact* same content or experience to different contexts. That said, I've always believed that fluid (or flexible, liquid, elastic) layouts made perfect sense for mobile screens, and wondered how far that idea could be pushed.
One of my biggest concerns was dealing with @media-queries. Reading certain articles (or books) on the subject, you might just get the idea that they (along with HTML5) would be the saviours of the mobile web. Unfortunately these technologies simply aren't (yet) supported on the majority of mobile browsers. Could all of these articles (and books) be wrong? As luck would have it, I wasn't the only person thinking this, with Jason Grigsby providing a much needed reality check in regards to the use of media queries on mobile.
Lastly (and probably most importantly), a brilliant little insight from Luke Wroblewski had been spinning around in my head ever since I first heard it in 2009—mobile first.
Mobile forces you to focus.Luke Wroblewski
To me this was really exciting, and was something I desperately wanted to try on a real project. As we had no client work that we could experiment with at the time, we decided to (finally) redesign our own website with 'mobile first' in mind. Like any internal redesign it took (much) longer than expected leaving me without a working example to demonstrate at Over The Air.
↑ back to top
Bryan is a designer, writer and reluctant developer with a background in theatre design and classical animation. Bryan has worked across various media including print, broadcast, web and mobile. A passionate storyteller and incessant tinkerer, Bryan can most often be found drinking excessively strong coffee while dreaming up ways to bridge the gap between design, content and technology.