Great Meetup: Adaptive Web Design: Does Size Matter?

Last night I dropped in to the Innovation Warehouse after work to attend @DigitalPondUK’s cleverly named Meetup: Adaptive Web Design: Does Size Matter?

Why did I go?

What’s a Digital Pond Meetup? “The Digital Pond is a meetup community welcoming all those from a digital discipline wanting to learn more or build networks with others within the industry.”

Adaptive Web Design: Does Size Matter
Thursday March 1st Meetup @The Innovation Warehouse: Adaptive Web Design: Does Size Matter?

Once upon a time I was a web designer. While it’s something I’ve always maintained an interest in, as a digital marketing specialist my curiosity extends into User Experience (UX) which is specifically what this Meetup was aimed at.

I work with a few UX designers and have always been fascinated by right-brain/left-brain way they approach their work. The strict processes they develop and follow mixed with the seriously impressive creative flair they all demonstrate on a daily basis never fails to draw me in. Our office walls are decorated with some of the prettiest, most eloquent flow charts, wireframe sketches and narrative journey maps you’ll ever see.

UX & Digital Marketing

My interest in good UX goes beyond an admiration for their work. When it comes to the web, I need to ensure the sites I am involved in have great UX.

These days, good UX means so much more than it did in the past. Having a site look good and work well on a computer screen is now only the tip of the iceberg. Your site now needs to look good and work well on a range of mobile devices including smart phones and tablets…keeping in mind that some of them are not Flash friendly!

So adaptive web design is now more important than ever. Just as the web designers, web developers and UX designers are having to keep the concepts of adaptive web design at the forefront of their minds, I too as a digital marketer need to consider whether a design for any given page on a site or within some email marketing will adapt to different devices and still convey the relevant content images and information. 

The Speakers

The Meetup focused on delivering your site to all devices and explored the concept of adaptive design (via four great speakers) who explained to us: The history of the “app”, some of the nuances of UX, the complexity of building an app in HTML5 and the considerations of pitching adaptive web design to prospective clients. 

Thank you to all four speakers who were excellent: Michel Jansen @dawuss – a UX designer at Lokku, Andrew Betts  @triblondon – a PHP &  Javascript developer & founder of Assanka, (recently acquired by the Financial Times), and Matt Gibson @Cyberduck_UK & Ramon Lapenta   @ramono – Art Director & Front-end developer at Cyber-Duck.

The Best Bits of the Meetup

From Michel:

  • Adaptive web design is design that can adapt to its environment (*how* it’s being used)
  • Remember you will never have *absolute* control of everything you put up there, and you need to decide between graceful degradation (adding all your “toys” at the risk site content may not show up at all on some devices) and progressive enhancement (adding some of your “toys” gradually so that some people see the fancy features but everyone gets the basic site experience).
  • User experiences on the web don’t all need to be the same….it is okay to have different experiences designed for different devices (for example, the Amazon iPad app).

From Andrew:

  • Firstly, a truly awesome tour of the FT HTML5 app!
  • What is an app? It’s something that feels like it was created just for your screen – it uses all the space on your screen.
  • The challenge for HTML5 – adapt to a larger variety of interfaces
  • “People began building apps because their websites weren’t adapted to touchscreen interfaces”

From Cyber-duck:

  • Bringing in the digital agency POV, Cyber-duck took us through a few of the unique elements of pitching adaptive design to prospective clients (some of them get it right away…others don’t understand why they can’t have all the content on their app that appears on their website).
  • Essential parts of the digital marketing agency adaptive design pitch: speed, cost and scalability. And to clients “your website will work on all devices”.
  • Look at the device analytics for your site to see how people are accessing it.
  • Comment from the audience….”it used to be about browser wars…now it seems like it’s about device wars”
A big thanks to Digital Pond for organising. Click here for information future Digital Pond events. 

Published by Jennifer Reid

Technology marketing specialist focussed on digital marketing, social media marketing, SEO and writing for the web.

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