All on the time machine. We are looking for a user interface designer from the late 70s. The title and job description were not the same as they are now. You could say that your work was easy in other ways. It was easy because you would be designed keeping in mind a big fat desktop computer that would only be used by a few really skilled personnel. There were no other situations or other cases to keep in mind when designing. The situation is almost the same even if you go back 15 years, as the desktop computers have gotten a little bit smaller in size.
What it currently looks like
Things are starting to look more complicated. There are a lot of smart things, from lightbulbs to robot vacuum cleaners. Every advertisement brings new smart objects to your attention. What does that mean for designers?
Everything that is smart needs inputs through human interaction, and anything that requires an interaction model needs a user interface.
Interface designers to the rescue!
We would have to be prepared to design for a lot of things. The most important part is not that. Rarely will you find a person who only uses a single smart device. We have to design for people who use multiple devices at the same time.
Let me give you an example.
As I write these words, I can hear the music on my iPad. If I want, I can use my Macbook, my phone, or even my iPad to open up the app and start playing music on my iPad. Consistency in design and technology in the Spotify apps across all of these devices is what makes this maneuver possible.
Left to right are the apps that are left to right.
We need to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each device type in order to influence the design of the product. All the benefits need to be taken advantage of and all the limitations need to be worked around. This is where we start to understand responsive design.
But where did it all start?
The idea of responsive design came about in the year 2012 and has been on the internet for a while. The concept was born in 1991. One article written by Dr. Mark Weiser got over 15000 citations. This is one of the articles put forward by the researcher.
The framework of three main types of devices was established by Dr. Weiser in 1991. He called them.
2. pads, and
It’s pretty cool that someone in the beginning of the 90’s could predict something so accurately that we’re used to seeing all around us now.
We get better at designing better platforms as we get better at it.
So what is responsive design?
If you have ever taken a course on responsive design or heard about it from someone, you know that the only thing you need to do to make a website website design company responsive is to make it aesthetically pleasing. Responsive web design is more than just about screen resolutions. It’s a new way of thinking about design.
To get a sense of how responsive design works, it is important to understand that a designer does not just lay out the desktop version of the website, and then sort of hack around with a phone layout. She/he looked at everything and implemented a design that was consistent across the different screen sizes of the users. That is where the importance of platform and context lies, and why one should understand the nuances of each platform.
There are some important steps taken to make a website responsive.
1. Adjusting screen resolutions
There is a great variety of screen resolutions, definitions and orientations.
Account for varied screen resolutions
Every single day new devices with new screen sizes are being developed, and there is a good chance that each of these will be able to handle the variations in size and function. It’s a no-brainer to design for both portrait and landscape, as some of them will be used predominantly in portrait. Keeping in mind the hundreds of different screen sizes, one needs to enable both orientations to switch in an instant.
It is possible to bundle these sizes into main categories and make them the most flexible possible. The Goldilocks approach to responsive web design states that you should ideally make designs that are device-independent, that will look great regardless of the device that you are viewing them on.
2. Accommodating touchscreens and cursors
You’re going to use your fingers to poke at the screen, and then you’re going to use your mouse to move around the canvas.
It is important to design for touch or non-touch inputs.
By the second, the touchscreens are becoming more popular. In August of last year, a US navy destroyer vessel crashed into a tanker, killing 10 and injuring 50, because the mechanical controls were replaced with touch-screens.
It’s important to choose the platform that’s right for you, not the other way around. There are many applications of touch screen and pointer-based interface. It would be foolish to assume that larger displays and smaller devices will have the same features. Many computers have touch support.
There are different design guidelines for Touchscreens and they have different capabilities as well. It’s not too hard to make a design that works for both users and desirability.
3. Flexible everything!
They will not be bent out of shape.
The shape of the vessel should be similar to water.
Text, images, videos, forms, newsletters, everything. The flexibility of the layout was almost considered a luxury for websites in the early 2010s. Even the columns would give way to chaos when images were pushed too much. The designs were not really flexible when changing from a wall mounted monitor to an iPad.
Images can now be adjusted. Even the layout can be made to always be flexible, although the columns might get a little smooshed in the process. It may not be a complete fix, but it allows for multiple options and ways to smoothen out the transition from one device type to another.
4. Hiding content when possible
Isn’t everyone hiding something?
Hide all that is not immediately required
It’s important to do it for the content on the websites. It’s not always the best idea to make each and every piece of content from a large display, available on a small-screen mobile device, as it’s not always the best answer. Simpler navigation, focused content, rows and columns are the best practices for small displays. It is necessary to prioritize the content strategy and make it so that nothing of tremendous importance is excluded, while secondary information should ideally be included, and tertiary information should be hidden.
You can’t plan out and design a website that is responsive, content-focused and mobile-first the same way that websites have been created for years now.
If your ultimate goal is to design a website that does not have a fixed-width and serves small-display-devices, there is no point in using a dated set of procedures that actually contradicts that.
Also, the drawbacks are costly.
Failure to be platform aware can lead to failure.
Platform-awareness is indispensable knowledge
If there is something that cannot be stressed more, it is that your design should be fluid and must understand the context of each platform before adapting to the screen size and constraints. To you and me, it may sound crazy, but we need to keep in mind the simplicity and ease of use of the users who go from phone to computer, back to phone, back to computer, back to phone, back to phone, back to phone, back to phone, back
Remember Dr. Weiser from a few scrolls up? He had thought that computing would become one with our environment. We will not recognize when we are interacting with a computer. He expected that we would use computers everywhere, even if we were spending time with our families. We will look at them as simple tools that help get the job done.
They’re all just tools in the end
It will be a great success for user interface design when it happens. It will be a challenge for us, designer folk, and we are really excited about the future.