The Austin IxDA met last night at the expanding headquarters of Crimson of the Advisory Board Group (12357-C Riata Parkway) to hear Chad Currie of Smith & Robot advocate for Responsive design in user interfaces, from the phone to the pad to the desktop.
"How do you start designing when the platform is not stable?" he asked rhetorically. One answer is to start with the 768 pixels of iPad because it is close to the 800-pixel competitors and is midway between the phone the desktop.
Real world design (RWD) is embraces the uncertainty of user devices. Chad Currie recommended that the designer actively test for the three most important platforms (iPhone, iPad, desktop), but plan to test for five to seven others (Droid, Kindle, etc.), while thinking about having to support 15 or more. Arguing well for responsive design, he acknowledged that his father's "pinch and zoom" interaction is the adaptive backlash his methodology. Designers need to lock down some variables in order to begin and that can take organizational will, perhaps the biggest challenge when faced with customer demands for being adaptive to anything.
"We are working for 2015 right now," he said. "And it's is six months away."
He recommended the book "Responsive Web Design" by Ethan Marcotte, Smashing magazine, WebMonkey (back from the 90s), Brad Frost's "This is Responsive" blog, the Responsive.is testing utility at http://responsive.is, and (the programmer's friend) Stack Overflow for insights, outlooks, suggestions, and solutions. Creating a fixed device specification for testing and following an Agile methodology will let the designers work with coders, writers, marketing, and others to avoid late surprises. "EARLY is the key word," he said. He also reminded the group that "Uncertainty just is."
Crimson of the Advisory Board provided the pizza and the soft drinks. (I had a discussion about pop versus soda versus coke with a real Texan who agree that her Dad was not in the refrigerator and said that Dr. Pepper is a coke.)
SMITH & ROBOT here: http://www.smithandrobot.com/
THE ADVISORY BOARD here: http://www.advisory.com/