Responsive Day Out 2

I had a good responsive day out in Brighton last Friday. Last year’s event felt like a group therapy session at times—speakers and attendees were struggling with the challenges of responsive design, but left feeling relieved that everyone had similar experiences.

This year, things were a little more settled—the same challenges remain, but we seem more used to them. My highlights were the calls for modular development, support for progressive enhancement and questioning whether we should build certain things.

Stephen Hay: Sculpting text

The opening talk covered Stephen’s initial design process. Stephen takes content in basic html form and makes small tweaks to the CSS using browser developer tools, eventually ending up with a basic mobile design. This truly is designing in the browser and something I can’t wait to try.

Sally Jenkinson: More than Media Queries

Sally gave an overview of the many considerations involved in planning a responsive project. It was refreshing to hear reference to ethics and privacy—just because you can build something doesn’t always mean you should.

Ida Aalen: The Core Model

Ida spoke about her experience working with the Norwegian Cancer Society. Her team uses the ‘Core Model’ to help users find relevant content, while ensuring the business needs of the society are met. This talk showed the positive impact a website can have on lives.

Rachel Andrew: CSS Grid Layout

I felt fairly comfortable with CSS layout before this talk, that was foolish of me!

Dan Donald: Element Media Queries

Dan’s talk raised the idea of element media queries. He asked whether we should be restricted to viewport based media queries. Dan challenged the idea of the web ‘page’ and called for developers to demonstrate their use cases for element media queries to browser vendors.

Inayaili de León: Realistic Responsive Design

Conference talks can sometimes give a rosy view of projects, so it was good to see Inayaili speak about the responsive implementation of Ubuntu’s site. The team behind it had other priorities, an existing fixed-width site to work with and limited budget for the project.

Oliver Reichenstein: The Container Model

Oliver gave an entertaining talk, he criticised the use of traditional columns and called for full-width containers instead. This talk helped me realise that responsive design has changed so much more than layout. The guardian beta exemplifies the container model proposed.

Kirsty Burgoine: A Question of deliverables and other such stuff

Kirsty gave a very open talk about the mistakes she has made since starting out on her own a few years ago.

Stephanie Rieger: The future of Media Queries?

Stephanie ran through some of the latest media query proposals, and questioned whether we need them. I’m struggling to see the usefulness of them too.

Ethan Marcotte: Laziness in the time of Responsive Design

Ethan gave the keynote talk informing us that laziness is a virtue when building websites. It was pleasing to see his examples use simple CSS instead of convoluted JavaScript solutions.