Beware the buzz word part 2

The one that bugs me the most right now is Responsive web design. I think that because more than ever before, this techie buzz word is being used as a sales tool and being mis-sold.

Product owners and Companies love the idea that they can have a single site that works on both mobile and desktop and in fact “Everything”. But as I often respond; define “works”.

“There is a big difference between a mobile site and a mobile view of a desktop site.”

Especially today as we all (hopefully) move toward user focussed/centered design. The key consideration here is Context.

For a long time now, Having emerged through the other end of the dark ages of mobile web, I’ve believed that mobile is no longer about the device (nor arguably should it ever have been), but is instead about the context; where the user is, what they’re doing, and what it is they would need at that moment.

“Mobile is a user-story, not a feature”

Responsive web design is fantastic for certain types of site, or even particular sections, but before employing it you need to have a long hard think about what the restrictions will be… they are rarely explained in the pitch.

The main one is flexibility (ironically). A multi-threshold* responsive page is like a rubber band ball. Once it’s made it’s a delicate thing to modify or append (in terms of layout/design) and a developer may well find himself spinning plates as he works to sustain rendering fidelity at each of the thresholds and in-between.

Ultimately if you’re a product owner waving around tech words as a requirement then you have some questions you need to ask yourself already. But if you find yourself in a room with a digital agency who are using these buzz words to spice up their lacklustre offerings, or worse their offering IS the buzz word itself, then run… run for your your budgets and sake of your audience.

(* When I say threshold in terms of Responsive CSS, I’m talking about the screen size landing points that design would work toward whilst considering the transitions. For example, 320×480, 480×800, 800×1280.)

Comments are closed