Responsive Design Warrants a Change in Workflow

Change the Workflow

Responsive design warrants a change in design workflow. The days of slapping together a Photoshop comp, getting it approved, and then coding are over.

This is is a waste of time.

There are too many hurdles and platforms to test. Things need to be flexible. Setting a design in stone as final” is too limiting with so many devices to support.

Design the Code

Designers should know how to code. This has been a core belief of mine since 2007. It is even more important today as it was then.

In the past, the advice was so that designers would know the limitations ( browser size, internet speeds, literally programming limitations, etc… ) and design with those in mind. Do not create the impossible to achieve. That is not an excuse to innovate. It is simply design with constraints.

With responsive design, decisions have to be made midroute, Oh these images do not scale properly on iPad”. Or for example, Oh no, mobile Safari has a weird rendering bug,” and adjust on the fly.

As Mike Monteiro states in Design Is a Job:

We were making quicker and better decisions because design and development were informing each other. Had I attempted to mock up all of those responsive states and then hand them to Jim to code, those mistakes would have been baked in…

And he goes on:

We often comp just enough to figure out what it is we’re building, which is why we don’t include Photoshop comps in our final deliverables…Don’t spend time updating paintings when what the client paid for was a website.

A comp should be a mini style guide for the project, which will determine the overall basic look and feel. Not for placement, button elements, or other finite details. Those can be hashed out during the coding process; when rubber hits the road and see what really works best.

ux design

April 16, 2012

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