Responsive design

Posted by | February 04, 2014 | Responsive Design | No Comments
Space Dive

Giving you wings

I am sure you have all heard about Felix Baumgartner? Well one small idea from a creative gave Redbull the idea to raise the bar so high it reached the edge of space and provided Felix the wings to break countless records on his way back down to earth.

Undeniably this was a great idea and a seminal moment in the world of marketing; watched online and on TV by millions, shared amongst friends, tweeted, blogged about and commented on the world over.

Ideas like this inspire creatives to aim higher, think harder and embrace all the communication channels available to them, and this example encapsulates all the reasons why I stepped off of the metaphorical print platform a few years ago and jumped feet first into the ‘design-o-sphere’ of the digital world.

In these ever evolving times a creative has to respond to change of all sorts, be they technological or behavioural.

A brand/company used to be able to rely upon fingers flicking through tv channels or a magazine to be exposed to their message, but these days those users’ fingers are flicking through mobile phone screens and tablets, navigating a multitude of apps and websites to view the content they want, whilst flicking the proverbial ‘V’s up to those outdated communication channels.

Now listen, not every client can ‘Do a Redbull,’ but I think the mark of a great creative is always to reach their audience, grab their attention and deliver the message. For most companies this communication is through their website, and right now the best way for company websites to reach their audience is across multiple devices, and the best way to do this is to design and build a responsive site.

Still in its infancy, the responsive approach is being embraced by some big players who already understand its value, and by a growing number of smaller businesses who have the flexibility to be more creative and future-proof their site so expensive iterations are not required when a new device hits the market in 2 years time.

Responsive is an approach to web design which sees a website provide an optimal viewing experience for the user, offers easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices.

Here are some of my own favourite responsive sites at the moment, each of which deliver great experiences for their intended audiences at all sizes.

So what does responsive mean for designers? We can only do justice to a responsive design by being less siloed in our approach, and creatives will need to fundamentally change their behaviour.

Design will simplify, becoming more finger-friendly, images will become scalable, grids and modules more flexible and text formatting will require greater consideration at the different sizes. Yet designers will not be able to directly address all of these considerations by themselves upfront.

Teams will need to work smarter. Design will have to hand over a key part of aesthetic delivery to the development team, who in turn will need to appreciate the sensibilities and nuances that designers hold so dear. Designers will also need to work even more closely with the UX and IA teams as well as the client upfront; to simplify and rigorously order the content so user journeys can be tested and validated and the experience equally impressive however it’s viewed.

Ultimately, for a website to be beautifully responsive and deliver a great experience to the user, the way a creative works needs to be equally responsive. With a small leap of faith in the teams around us, we can give websites the wings they need to raise the bar and reach new heights.