I manage the website for an Animal Rescue shelter. I have been struggling with the design of the site for some time now, as I have some users who are still using IE6 under windows XP (on an SVGA screen), some who want to view the site on their mobile phones, and some who have really wide displays and think my two column design looks outdated (it does). While looking for a solution, I came across the concept of responsive web design. Because the reference I just provided is stuffed with code snippets (and I personally think it is obscure), I will point you instead to some really great examples that demonstrate how a website design can be responsive.

There is a neat concept at play in most of these designs, where a webpage layout is segmented into multi-device layout patterns, that simply “flow” differently, depending on the screen size that the user will display the site on. But screen size is not the only consideration – images have to be resized to scale with the device and the performance of the device must be considered (it is painful to load a large, graphics-intensive page on a slooow tablet!). I was also musing that – most relevantly to this course – site menus and navigation toolbar interfaces have to be designed so that they will work on any device or layout. Which is harder than you’d think, simply because of the layout conventions that we use on a typical web-page.

Off to experiment with scripts and pageflow layouts …

Responsive Web Design

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