Responsive Design

This article originally appeared on the Public-i Blog and is reproduced here in full.

At the last Public-i user group meeting I mentioned, as part of the discussion around future releases, that we were re-thinking our approach to the design and delivery of our clients’ Connect sites; that we would be adopting a responsive design to our user interface (UI). This blog post is by way of a brief explanation of responsive design and our motivations for adopting it.

Next week’s reading list

I’m off to mainland Europe for 4 days next week (work related), and have decided that my commuting and ‘bored in the hotel’ time will be spent reading the following books, that I’ve not yet had a chance to get around to:

I doubt very much that I’ll manage all 4 over the 4 nights, but I will give it a try(!)

Have you read any of these?

If you’ve read any of these books please let me know what you thought of them. I’ll share my feedback in due course.

Ady

Initializr – Responsive CSS/HTML template

Just a quick note to all you web designers out there that @verekia‘s ‘Initializr’ – a CSS/HTML template for responsive design is now available for use. Here’s what he had to say in his blog post, Initializr: With Great Templates Comes Great Responsivity! :

Today I’m proud to announce that a “Responsive template” is now available on Initializr! It will help you dealing with all the various devices used to display your site. Mobiles, tablets, netbooks, laptops, desktop monitors, HUGE desktop monitors…

I’m going to grab a copy for myself and have a play.

Ady

iPad Experience – part 2

In a previous post, I recounted my initial thoughts on the iPad and said that I’d be trying it out on my little boy as a time waster / amusement.

I’m back from holiday and the iPad was a godsend, I have to say. I pre-loaded “Monsters, Inc.” and “A Bug’s Life” for Finn to watch on the plane journeys and, although he didn’t watch much on the journey out , he made full use of it whilst in the hotel room and on the journey home. He very quickly mastered the UI for the video player app – he’s had a lot of iPhone experience – and was jumping around between films and selecting his favourite chapters to repeat from the get-go. He also quickly found how to switch to the TV programme tab and spent a lot of time watching “Rex the Runt” cartoons (until his mum heard one of the characters say “bastard” and put paid to that – I guess it’s slightly inappropriate for a 3-year-old).

I, myself, did very little with it while on holiday. Didn’t get much of a look-in, TBH, plus wary of data roaming costs in a land where ‘free wi-fi’ is virtually unheard of.

Ady

Linkage

I’ve been sitting on these links for some time – I thought I should share them with you all. They’re in no particular order.

Metrics-Driven Design (slideshare)
Excellent presentation by Joshua Porter (@bokardo) from his UX London talk.
Cool website background (Big Butterfly Count)
Love the way the background to this site appears to be 3D. Website by @edmeritt, HT @boadworld.
User Experience Job Titles (Slingthought)
A categorised collection of the job titles around UX / UI.

iPad Experience

So, a couple of weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and bought an iPad. I was feeling flush and so went for the top-of-the-range 64G 3G one.

Trepidation

I was cautious about buying an iPad – unusual for me, as I am a complete Apple fanboi. I really couldn’t see the point or need for one in my life. I manage to come up with a couple of possibilities:

  1. It would make a good coffee table browser. OK, but if the family are going to share it I want multiple user facilities so we can all get at our own email accounts without the embarrassment of having to read each others’.
  2. I could use it for work. Here there’s a better fit, as most of my work is around documents and numbers, resourcing and scheduling. (In fact, Pages and Numbers, if we’re talking applications.) However, it doesn’t meet all requirements, as I sometimes code (PHP, SASS) and a lot of our core work involves video – so iPad’s lock down on video formats excludes a lot of things it would be nice to have the iPad do for me.

So, like Natalie Inbruglia, I was torn. My Apple lust made me want one and my practical side couldn’t justify it.

This finally resolved itself when I said to myself, “We could really do with an iPad for work. You know, for testing and that.”, which was the excuse I was waiting to come up with, and so I went out and bought one.

Two weeks later

After the (well attended) official unpacking ceremony at work, the iPad spend the first few days if its new life in  a bag doing nothing. I was still finding it hard to see what to do with it. Having spent the money, though, I did some research, got some apps and now it’s become a staple of my day.

I use it almost exclusively for work related activities; it’s great to take to meetings and I will be trying it out at a conference for the first time this week. (“Building Perfect Council websites ’10” – see you there!)

Although not exhaustive, here’s the list of applications I’m currently using:

Things
I use Things on all my Macs. The iPad experience is great, making good use of the larger screen that makes using it on the iPhone a bit frustrating. (That’s not Things’ fault, mind.)
Evernote
Again, Evernote is a staple application in my environment. I use it for knowledge management, mainly. Again, it’s been re-purposed for the iPad and is a really good experience.
Dropbox
I do all my work off Dropbox. Available on all my computers, and also viewable on iPhone and iPad. This makes my life so much easier, as I synchronise my iDevices with my personal laptop, so having my files available in this way means I can sync them across from my Personal iTunes, into the iWork apps on the iPad (see next).
Pages & Numbers
The user experience of having to synchronise via iTunes is not good, but tolerable. The iPad versions of these applications are lovely. Although not feature-full (which causes problems when you want to edit files) they are well worth using for document creation.
iThoughtsHD
On my Macs, I use Mindjet’s Mindmanager, but on the iPad I’ve discovered iThoughtsHD. It’s compatible with most mind map file formats and has the added advantage of being able to load and save maps to and from DropBox directly. I’ve used it a little and so far, so good.

The future

I’m off on holiday very soon, so I’ll be grabbing some childrens’ books and videos and putting them on the iPad; I think it’s going to be an excellent way to keep my 3-year-old occupied on the plane journey.

After that, who knows? If you have any great apps, I’d love to hear about them.

Ady