A Closer Look at Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design has prompted a flurry of books, articles, excitement, and confusion. While it's heralded as the solution to the problem of the growing number of mobile devices, how it alters the design process is still being figured out. Dan Rodney and Mike Morici from Noble Desktop gave Spark workshop attendees a crash course in responsive web design and described how it affects our process and workflow:

  1. The rise of mobile devices has forced people to take a closer look at user experience--it has become more difficult to get away with poor user experience.
  2. Responsive web design is "cyclical." You will need to try it out, make an adjustment, and try it out again.
  3. Reconsider comps. Providing your client with a "look and feel" instead of a static layout helps you move to code faster--allowing you to show the client how the responsive site actually functions.
  4. Don't forget to test on actual devices. Think about tasks users perform the most often and adjust your design accordingly.
  5. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Tools like Twitter Bootstrap help you set up a basic framework so you can get the site up and running faster.

Rest assured, with an increasing number of resources available, responsive web design is quickly becoming an integral part of the technology landscape.