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Jakob Nielson On Responsive Design


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 10 November 2014 - 08:39 PM

This caught my eye.  I finally settled on Responsive for most use cases.  It's too expensive and confusing to users to have different site layouts.  However, some sites like travel and information portals struggle on mobile devices because of the sheer volume of information.  Designers have a lot of practice and testing ahead of them.

 

  Q&A: Jakob Nielsen on RWD, Google and the best ways to test your website

 

 

You've previously said that mobile sites need a separate design. Do you still think so, or has responsive web design (RWD) solved this problem? 

I think there is a need for a separate mobile design but there are different ways of achieving that.

RWD can potentially be the answer, but people tend to retain too much of the same design across devices, meaning that either mobile or desktop experiences can be unsatisfactory.

It cuts both ways. A pared down mobile site won’t always translate so well to desktop. I believe that bigger desktop screens should be utilised to their full extent as well.

People expect the same features and choice on mobile as on larger screens, but these can be done in different ways.

So are you not in favour of a ‘mobile-first’ design approach?

I think, depending on budget, sites need to do what works for their users across different platforms. One device should not be primary, or that leads to a secondary experience on other devices.

 



#2 glyn

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 05:45 AM

Makes sense. Interesting how the world has caught up with his statments of fact now.



#3 iamlost

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 12:34 PM

The premise of mobile first is to design from the most constrained to the least. For many/most webdevs probably the easiest course.

A problem with reading about mobile 'best practice' is that mobile capabilities are expanding so quickly. What was true a decade or even a year ago may not be today. Which throws another pita into the mix: just as one must draw the support line on browser/version so too mobile type/version...

In the best of worlds one delivers site/page content by presumed context with user ability to alter. However, contextual (beyond device, location) delivery requires a data backend investment. With phones the two greatest constraints current are viewport size and form completion: how to deliver a good viewing experience on a small factor, how to minimise the pain of inputs. Few consider either.

That user actions can extend over time is generally accepted, that they also extend across devices less so. How is your site easing either/both?

People are reasonably familiar with dynamic sites via WordPress et al but the idea of dynamic and mutable aka responsive not so much; add in more granular context, maintaining state across devices and time, etc. ... the webdev future is most wonderfully interesting.

Note: I've always enjoyed reading Jakob Nielson's studies and opinions. As a broad brush overview he has been right far more often than not. Even where I have disagreed he was often a thought catalyst.



#4 earlpearl

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 01:32 PM

....so it depends....



#5 TheAlex

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Posted 11 November 2014 - 03:15 PM

Thanks. I'm always quoting Jakob Nielsen and NNG so now I have some for responsive design to add to the list. :)



#6 cre8pc

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 03:33 PM

Even where I have disagreed he was often a thought catalyst.

 

So true!

 

I leaned on his work 14 years ago and have no regrets.  He has become more open and flexible over the years.  It's never a good idea to take an opinion and call it gospel.  The best practices are always those that are tested and reevaluated based on the results.



#7 DCrx

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Posted 16 November 2014 - 05:47 AM

The premise of mobile first is to design from the most constrained to the least.

 

 

Are you sure? I thought the premise was a user is nothing more than a life support system for a browser. 





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