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Multi-device Web Design

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#1 iamlost


    The Wind Master

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 09:34 PM

I was struggling through a draft post on web design in a new multi-device, multi-context world when I found: Multi-Device Web Design: An Evolution by Luke Wroblewski, 01-November-2011. While not as 'explanatory' in itself as what I was writing it touches the major bases with links for further reading.
Note: What is missing below is managing multi-context so I may salvage and extend that portion of my draft later.

As mobile devices have continued to evolve and spread, so has the process of designing and developing Web sites and services that work across a diverse range of devices.
Responsive Web Design is a combination of fluid grids and images with media queries to change layout based on the size of a device viewport. It uses feature detection (mostly on the client) to determine available screen capabilities and adapt accordingly.
Responsive Web Design isn't a silver bullet for mobile Web experiences. Not only does client-side adaptation require a careful approach, but it can also be difficult to optimize source order, media, third-party widgets, URL structure, and application design within a RWD solution.
Mobile First Responsive Design takes Responsive Web Design and flips the process around to address some of the media query challenges outlined above. Instead of starting with a desktop site, you start with the mobile site and then progressively enhance to devices with larger screens.
Media adaptation remains a big challenge for cross-device design. In particular, images, videos, data tables, fonts, and many other "widgets" need special care.
Combining Mobile First Responsive Design with server side component (not full page) optimization is a way to extend client-side only solutions. With this technique, a single set of page templates define an entire Web site for all devices but key components within that site have device-class specific implementations that are rendered server side. Done right, this technique can deliver the best of both worlds without the challenges that can hamper each.
If all the considerations above seem like a lot to take in to create a Web site, they are. We are in a period of transition and still figuring things out. So expect to be learning and iterating a lot. That's both exciting and daunting.

It also prepares you for what's ahead.

:popcorn: :study: :juggle:

#2 Michael_Martinez


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Posted 03 November 2011 - 05:07 PM

It's the monetization that will prove to be the great challenge. The biggest providers of high quality content on the Web will experiment with mobile-friendly content but if they cannot get people to underwrite their costs those experiments will be short-lived and won't produce any long-term value for the mobile community. We have seen this kind of platform collapse before.

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