On being responsive

Ralph Madsen (1897-1948) was nicknamed “Sky High Madison”

Source: retronaut.com

In 2011 A Book Apart released a little yellow book that shook the web design world off it’s feet. Ethan Marcotte wrote about something he’d been playing with for a while… responsive web design. Combining excisting technologies like fluid grids, flexible images and, most important, media queries he came up with a new way of designing and building web sites that work and look good on any device. This new way of thinking no longer forced us to create different sites for desktop and mobile, no longer is there a reason to maintain a separate m. site for your “on-the-go” users.

So, we’re two years down the road since Ethan’s book was released and Responsive Web Design is passed it’s buzz-word phase. But that doesn’t mean that everything is solved. Basically we’re just coming to grips with it, and Sarah Parmenter stated that very nicely (at least I think so) when in her talk at Responsive Day Out she said that “we’ve all been winging it” so far.

I was lucky enough to watch that talk, and many more on the subject of Responsive Web Design at Responsive Day Out in Brighton, in person and learned so much that day. It made me actually feel quite relieved that I wasn’t the only one struggling with all the different aspects about web design and all the stuff we have to keep up with. On the conference site you can find audio for all the talks given and also some links to slides.

Sarah’s and Laura Kalbag‘s talks stuck with me the most because they gave some great examples how to adapt my day-to-day workflow to a Responsive Design workflow. But also other talks, like Mark Boulton and Owen Gregory gave, that we’re a bit less practical but very inspiring, are very much worth checking out.

Just getting started


So this is it. Relaunching my website. I removed the old static page with just a bunch of images from stuff I made over the last two years. The general idea is to have a more informative site that I will gradually shape into my personal blog and portfolio. And it will all happen right before your eyes!

For now I have started with WordPress’ default twentytwelve theme. This may change over the course of this process. Or I might stick with it and just change bits and pieces on the way. I’m still undecided about that.

So over the next few weeks this site may change quite a lot (I hope) and hopefully will become a place for me to share my thoughts and learnings. I plan to do a lot of sharing here. For an important part inspired by this excellent blog post by Laura Kalbag. And mainly what she writes about sharing the “simple” stuff.

The web is a big and varied place. To assume that someone else has read something just because you’ve read it is foolish. How do we learn about these resources? When do we all decide that we’re all going to read these particular sites and articles so that we’re all equally informed?

Like Laura mentions in her post I too have always been quite apprehensive about writing about markup and code, because I thought there’s not much I could add that wasn’t common knowledge already. But as she points out, we’re not al reading the same blogs and follow the same devs we look up to on Twitter. So it might not be such a bad idea to share the solutions we find, even if we think we were the last one struggling with this problem. Because you never know who you might help with your solution to some nice multi level navigation menu.