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Topic: “responsive design”

Four Theses on Responsive Design

A friend and fellow web designer and developer (indeed, someone who gets to do a lot more front-end design) recently asked me,

Chris—what do you think of “responsive” layouts? I’m not a big fan. In theory, it’s a good idea. But it makes it difficult for ad placement, and in practice, I don’t know that anyone really needs five different “views” for a site based on browser width/height.

So, some thoughts from a guy who’s done a lot of reading, a lot of watching, and – alas – a lot less actual implementation than he’d like in the last year. (In other words: take these words with a grain of salt; they’re observations on watching others in the process as much as they are born of my own experience.)

I think responsive design is a great idea, but it has to be done carefully and thoughtfully, especially when considering ad placement. Read on, intrepid explorer →

User Agent Detection Will Get You In Trouble

One of the joys of corporate IT policies is seeing how things break when you’re in an unusual configuration on the web. Like, say, running Firefox behind a corporate proxy that tells every site out there that you’re actually running IE7. This morning, I paused from other tasks to read an article on a well-known religious commentary website, and saw a message at the top alerting me that I’m using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer (which I would be if I were running IE… but this is on a relatively up-to-date version of Firefox).

Bad enough that for whatever reason our corporate IT has taken to spoofing outgoing traffic this way when routing through their proxies. (One wonders just how much of the reported IE6 or IE7 traffic on the web comes from this sort of thing.) But the real problem is that the site I visited was broken. Horribly, horribly broken.

That message – “You’re using an outdated version of Internet Explorer” – told me why. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Responsive Design, Server-Side Feature Detection, and a Big Mess

A couple days ago, Jason Gigsby (@grigs) highlighted this post by Dave Olsen on responsive design from the server-side. The biggest thing that caught my attention was his focus on user-agent detection for altering the delivery of content.

There is some sensible stuff in there; it’s worth your time. In particular, I can see the value in delivering different kinds of resources to different targets, especially in the case of video or images, where resolution and bandwidth may be constrained. Read on, intrepid explorer →

Version 3.0

This is, Version 3.0. I’m a little sad that I deleted Version 1, because seeing how far my sense of design has come over time would be worth it, the inevitable laughter notwithstanding. You can see the (much less dynamic) version 2 here. The amount I’ve learned about web design and development in the last year alone amazes me; I can’t wait to see how much better I can do a year from now. Read on, intrepid explorer →