I have to admit one thing: meetup groups are awesome. I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a small community (nearly 900 members so my definition of small can be bewildering) of great web enthusiasts. Our group reminds me of how connected I was with like-minded friends in Brazil. The group is growing exponentially and we're planning to make an even bigger impact in our community this year. You should be part of it!
Last Monday, Josh Becerra and I had the opportunity to share a little of what we've learned throughout our careers to the Web Design Group at the Minneapolis Community & Technical College. Josh's topic was "Conversions: A Web Designer's Best Friend," and mine was "Catering to our Customers with Responsive Web Design." The focus of my talk was about responsive web design (RWD), mobile first, performance, and more importantly, how we make an impact in so many people's lives through carefully designed websites. Web design is much like music in a way, because an experience on a website, just like music, can leave a long-lasting impression on people, whether it’s positive or negative.
My talk was centered on building responsive experiences with a mobile first approach. Based on a flexible foundation, I shared with the group my redesign (which should go live in the next few weeks) and my process of using conditional loading (RESS) as I progressively adapted for higher resolutions. I shared how my design came about from the onset, from brainstorming and sketching design mockups to designing on the browser and utilizing Photoshop to adjust a few components of the design. This is important because Photoshop and a browser are the new covenant for great design. I also talked about how we're still in the print era for design deliverables. The old print process still has a meaningful influence on how we think and design our web experiences. I also discussed why we should shift away from a fixed process and embrace the ever-changing flexibility of the web.
In summary, designing for mobile first forces us to thoughtfully rethink what's important on our web pages, because it makes us aware of the entire design and development process. As Josh Clark pointed out during SXSW 2013, we're not just web designers anymore; we're industrial designers designing for physical devices. RWD is a subset of the web which expands outreach through various devices from mobile and desktop to TV sets and soon-to-be-launched devices. The possibilities are endless and exciting. What a great time to be a web [industrial] designer, don't you think?
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