May 26, 2016

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Discount brand name cialis A school of influential web designers are pioneering ‘Responsive Web Design’ as a way to render content on different types of browser screens. Discount brand name cialis They must fix the fledgling technique’s technical faults before it propagates into the wild. Discount brand name cialis And it is certainly not yet worthy of its name: designers must think beyond the glass of a screen and build experiences that respond to the humans beyond it.

A little while ago, discount brand name cialis renowned web designer Ethan Marcotte wrote an article on the popular web design site A List Apart. This seminal article is titled ‘Responsive Web Design’, discount brand name cialis and has seemingly been very well read and much admired.

Discount brand name cialis ‘Seminal’ because it proposes that sites should challenge many of the established conventions that have been prevalent in contemporary web design: rather than exclusively using a fixed print-like grid, discount brand name cialis for example, discount brand name cialis sites should be more fluid and flexible with respect to screen size. Discount brand name cialis (Of course this is how all web pages used to work in the mid-1990s, discount brand name cialis so the concept’s novelty is probably dependent upon the age of the beholder.)

Discount brand name cialis In case it isn’t obvious, discount brand name cialis there has never been a single screen size upon which web sites should be expected to render: computer screens and browser viewports have always come in a range of sizes. Discount brand name cialis But now, discount brand name cialis the obvious logic goes, discount brand name cialis the big screens are getting bigger, discount brand name cialis the small (ie. Discount brand name cialis mobile) screens more popular, discount brand name cialis and a huge host of new browsing form factors – from tablets to car dashboards – are radically reshaping the web’s diverse physical canvas.

Discount brand name cialis By building sites which can respond to these different screen sizes using open standards, discount brand name cialis the chances of it looking nice on all of, discount brand name cialis say, discount brand name cialis a regular laptop, discount brand name cialis a tablet, discount brand name cialis a games console, discount brand name cialis and a 27″ cinema screen are greatly increased.

Discount brand name cialis The real novelty of Mr Marcotte’s argument is not that you should find and remove all the fixed {width:960px} rules from your stylesheets, discount brand name cialis but that you can use CSS Media Queries to selectively apply styling rules based on certain criteria. Discount brand name cialis This allows you to have a page layout which changes as a function of browser screen size. Discount brand name cialis (The properties available for evaluation in media queries are exclusively related to screen display dimensions and color capabilities.)

Discount brand name cialis Take these two renderings of ‘The Baker Street Inquirer’, discount brand name cialis for example:

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Discount brand name cialis In the narrower example on the right, discount brand name cialis the title decoration changes, discount brand name cialis the menu items rise to the top of the page, discount brand name cialis the images appear in twos instead of threes, discount brand name cialis and so on.

Discount brand name cialis This looks fantastic. Apart from being a lovely piece of graphic design, discount brand name cialis viewers also know that this page will look good in their desktop browser whichever size they have it set at, discount brand name cialis and they won’t have to risk lots of empty space on each side (on a too-large window), discount brand name cialis or lots of left-to-right scrolling (on a too-narrow window) – both concerns when a browser’s viewport doesn’t match a web designer’s assumption.

Discount brand name cialis Six months on, discount brand name cialis the fruits of this article are starting to ripen. Discount brand name cialis The good, discount brand name cialis the great, discount brand name cialis and the brilliant of the web design world obviously read it and took every word of it to heart. Discount brand name cialis Two oft-discussed examples are Simon Collison’s and dConstruct 2010’s web sites: narrow your browser window on both to see the magic happen.

Discount brand name cialis More recently, discount brand name cialis Jeremy Keith is notably flying the responsive flag, discount brand name cialis and has designed a number of sites (and redesigned his own) using a similar approach. Discount brand name cialis Just last week, discount brand name cialis the mighty Happy Cog launched a very attractive new blog that narrows elegantly, discount brand name cialis and the talented Mike Kus (with Think Vitamin‘s redesign) has also joined the party.

Discount brand name cialis So, discount brand name cialis the wheels of evolution turn. Discount brand name cialis Designers are innovating, discount brand name cialis trying each other’s new techniques, discount brand name cialis and pushing this worthy idea onwards. Discount brand name cialis They are influencing each other, discount brand name cialis and in the way these things cascade through imitation, discount brand name cialis influencing the approach that many thousands of developers who look up to them will take when next asked to design or redesign a site. Discount brand name cialis At this rate, discount brand name cialis it will only be a few years before more web sites use media queries than don’t. Discount brand name cialis It’s a smart solution, discount brand name cialis using well-known, discount brand name cialis standards-based technology, discount brand name cialis and users with different screens the world over will undoubtedly be happier.

Discount brand name cialis Sadly, discount brand name cialis this technique is not the revelational panacea that some might present it as. Discount brand name cialis While it copes well with the challenges presented by size-diverse browsers on a desktop, discount brand name cialis for example, discount brand name cialis it is flawed when presented as an single solution to the challenge of the mobile web. Discount brand name cialis A more-or-less explicit tenet of the ‘Responsive Web Design’ school is that contemporary mobile browsers are served neatly by this technique, discount brand name cialis so it deserves to be put under this scrutiny.

Discount brand name cialis Before we go any further, discount brand name cialis and for the avoidance of doubt, discount brand name cialis it is thrilling that the ‘mobile web’ has finally garnered some sort of interest amongst the web design community. Discount brand name cialis For a decade, discount brand name cialis lonely pioneers have been hacking about with little more than monochromatic text on cramped and feeble browsers. Discount brand name cialis Seeing a new wave of talented web artists thinking about the medium is very inspiring – spurred on by the rise and rise of brilliantly capable mobile browsers. Discount brand name cialis Mobile, discount brand name cialis the historically gloomy little corner of the web, discount brand name cialis is ripe to welcome fresh and smart ideas – clever and efficient ways to deliver exciting content to mobile users.

Discount brand name cialis Sadly ‘Responsive Web Design’ is not yet one of them.

Discount brand name cialis To start off with, discount brand name cialis there are some technical and tactical issues. Discount brand name cialis Experienced mobile web designer Bryan Rieger has most notably illustrated these concerns, discount brand name cialis and strategist Jason Grigsby has explored similar points. Their main concerns stem from the facts that:

  • Media queries only affect the styling once the markup and other resources have reached the browser. Discount brand name cialis Whatever the device – whatever the network it’s connected to – the browser will download the entire markup of the page, discount brand name cialis and any (probably large) images in it. Discount brand name cialis Yes, discount brand name cialis a ‘responsive stylesheet’ can resize media or hide it from the user, discount brand name cialis but designers should not presume that they’ve done anything to improve the performance or network utilisation by this sleight of hand. Discount brand name cialis Cellular network usage is free in neither the financial nor performance sense. Discount brand name cialis Ironically, discount brand name cialis Mr Keith’s article about the technique itself has a total size of about 1.6Mb – a payload that no mobile device this side of LTE will sniff at.
  • Media queries are not supported by most of the world’s web browsers. Certainly all WebKit-based browsers handle them well enough, discount brand name cialis and most other contemporary desktop browsers do too. Discount brand name cialis But anything else will struggle: this includes legacy desktop browsers (which certainly don’t seem to concern the web’s great and good) and, discount brand name cialis more seriously, discount brand name cialis most mobile handsets in the market today.

Discount brand name cialis Both issues are present in Mr Marcotte’s initial expression of ‘Responsive Web Design’. Discount brand name cialis Perhaps understandably: while the exposition of technique focusses on the aesthetic of flexible design, discount brand name cialis there is little discussion of performance optimization. Discount brand name cialis Further, discount brand name cialis many of these concerns pale if you’re a designer who lives in a world where everyone has an iPhone 4. Discount brand name cialis Perhaps the article set out to merely present a prototype which the author knew would of course be iterated upon and refined.

Discount brand name cialis Certainly some refinement could be applied to the mathematics, discount brand name cialis which apparently advocates daft rules like {margin-right: 3.317535545023696682%}!

Discount brand name cialis But thankfully none of these concepts are necessarily deal-breakers: tinySrc (created by this author) allows you to have already dynamically-resized images arriving at the browser in response to a static piece of markup. Mr Reiger illustrates that by rethinking the assumptions about which browser is the default (i.e. Discount brand name cialis a basic mobile one) and which receives the conditional styling (i.e. Discount brand name cialis the clever, discount brand name cialis or desktop ones), discount brand name cialis one can mitigate a lot of the problems caused by serving up too many irrelevant resources. Discount brand name cialis That’s probably not entirely what Luke Wroblewski was getting at when he said ‘Mobile First‘, discount brand name cialis but it’s good enough to work.

Discount brand name cialis Hopefully, discount brand name cialis Messrs Marcotte, discount brand name cialis Keith, discount brand name cialis Kus, discount brand name cialis Zeldman et al will take these considerations on board and refine their logic accordingly. Discount brand name cialis Theirs is the work that will be widely aspired to and derived from, discount brand name cialis and this is some basic hygiene that should be encouraged as soon as possible. Discount brand name cialis The practices are not yet best practices – and we should hope that this technique doesn’t become a precedent for playing fast and loose with mobile payloads.

Discount brand name cialis Technical issues aside, discount brand name cialis the primary concern with using ‘Responsive Web Design’ for mobile web sites remains, discount brand name cialis and it is far more fundamental.

Discount brand name cialis Firstly let’s look at the name – or at least the origin from which is was purloined. Discount brand name cialis ‘Responsive Architecture’, discount brand name cialis a term coined by Nicholas Negroponte, discount brand name cialis is a school of thought that says that buildings and structures should be able to react to changes in their environment, discount brand name cialis altering their shape or surfaces accordingly. Discount brand name cialis Indeed this is what ‘Responsive Web Design’ does too: change the browser size, discount brand name cialis and the site within it will respond.

Discount brand name cialis But Mr Marcotte posits that it is also about ‘how physical spaces can respond to the presence of people passing through them’ – in other words, discount brand name cialis that buildings should react to the way in which humans behave, discount brand name cialis and implicitly, discount brand name cialis to what it is that they need or want. Discount brand name cialis This is where the ‘Responsive Web Design’ aspiration falls flat. Discount brand name cialis Nothing about the technique is explicitly related to the human actually using the site, discount brand name cialis nor his or her context.

Discount brand name cialis The problem of course, discount brand name cialis stems from the reliance on media queries as the key input to the layout’s alterations. Discount brand name cialis Complex criteria can be built to segment styling based on width, discount brand name cialis height, discount brand name cialis orientation or color depth – but nothing else. Discount brand name cialis The design is responding to the glass on the front of the gadget that the user has in their hand – not to the flesh and bone beyond it, discount brand name cialis where they are, discount brand name cialis what they are doing, discount brand name cialis and what state of mind they are in.

Discount brand name cialis In the world of mobile, discount brand name cialis this matters. The fact that the user has a small screen in their hand is one thing – the fact that it is in their hand at all is another. Discount brand name cialis The fact that the user may be walking, discount brand name cialis driving, discount brand name cialis or lounging is yet another. Discount brand name cialis In fact, discount brand name cialis it’s quite likely that they really deserve different content and services altogether – or, discount brand name cialis at least, discount brand name cialis a differently prioritized version of the default desktop experience.

Discount brand name cialis Is this too abstract? Too theoretical? Absolutely not. Discount brand name cialis As a commonplace example, discount brand name cialis consider the FourSquare mobile web site and its sister web site. Discount brand name cialis The former, discount brand name cialis of course, discount brand name cialis is designed as a slick and efficient way to check your location in to the service – and not much else. Discount brand name cialis The latter provides a chance to review previous activity in the comfort of a desktop environment.

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Discount brand name cialis Is this responsive? Of course it is – at least in terms of responding to what humans in different environments want to do. Discount brand name cialis The user, discount brand name cialis by specifying which site they want to receive, discount brand name cialis gets a design and an interface that is wholly appropriate to their context, discount brand name cialis not just their screen width. Discount brand name cialis (Sadly, discount brand name cialis visitors with mobile handsets do not get automatically forwarded to the mobile version of the site, discount brand name cialis which would have made the service even more ‘responsive’.)

Discount brand name cialis Consider, discount brand name cialis on the other hand, discount brand name cialis the St Paul’s School website. Discount brand name cialis It looks lovely and exhibits all the hallmarks of the ‘Responsive Web Design’ school. Discount brand name cialis Resizing the browser window demonstrates the page’s fluid grid, discount brand name cialis and on a narrow, discount brand name cialis mobile screen the layout becomes vertical and flows respectably down the page.

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Discount brand name cialis But let us just think about the use cases for this web site. Discount brand name cialis Clearly the desktop site is designed to target prospective parents – St Paul’s is a top-notch fee-paying school in London – and the design, discount brand name cialis menu structure and layout reflect that. Discount brand name cialis The ‘about’ page is first and foremost in the menu, discount brand name cialis followed by a sequence of pages designed to give the reader an insight into the workings and philosophy of the school. Discount brand name cialis One can imagine well-heeled parents poring over the site for hours, discount brand name cialis deciding if it is the place for their child to attend and getting a feeling for the institution.

Discount brand name cialis But a mobile user? Let us think about what a mobile user might want from their interaction with the school’s online presence. Discount brand name cialis Are prospective parents so busy that they research making one of the biggest investments in their lives by spending a few moments on a mobile browser? Well, discount brand name cialis possibly; but it is hard to imagine that reading the school’s lengthy prospectus should top of the list of important mobile use-cases.

Discount brand name cialis If one is accessing this site on a mobile device, discount brand name cialis there are other far more likely reasons. Discount brand name cialis Imagine an existing parent or student keeping abreast of the (well-populated) school news, discount brand name cialis or upcoming calendar of events. Discount brand name cialis This is something they might easily snatch a few moments doing in the car on the school commute, discount brand name cialis say. Discount brand name cialis Or perhaps the user is a prospective parent or visitor who wants to check on the address and location of the school en route, discount brand name cialis or wants to put a call through to the school office.

Discount brand name cialis Has the design responded to these, discount brand name cialis now very different, discount brand name cialis requirements? No. Discount brand name cialis In the mobile display of the site, discount brand name cialis the news and contact pages are still at the bottom of the menu, discount brand name cialis below the admissions information and exhaustive list of school sports. Discount brand name cialis The contact page (once you have reached it) does contain telephone numbers, discount brand name cialis but they have been turned into callable links by the browser’s automatic number detection, discount brand name cialis not the designer’s hand, discount brand name cialis so rather curiously you can also click to call the school’s fax number.

Discount brand name cialis And the location page, discount brand name cialis to get a map and directions to the school? Most of the screen is taken up with an aerial portrait of the school – of arguably marginal help for navigation – and the map itself is only available within a 1.5Mb, discount brand name cialis three-part PDF document. Discount brand name cialis You couldn’t make this up.

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Discount brand name cialis Surely a mobile user deserves and expects a map image embedded in the page, discount brand name cialis or even a link to Google Maps (which, discount brand name cialis incidentally, discount brand name cialis certain mobile browsers will parse to invoke the native map client). Discount brand name cialis Apparently a few of these clever new gadgets have GPS in them.

Discount brand name cialis Responsive to the user’s needs? Barely.

Discount brand name cialis Anyway, discount brand name cialis the purpose of this article is not a hatchet attack on one particular site. Discount brand name cialis It’s merely being used as an example of how using what is currently called ‘Responsive Web Design’ is often nothing of the sort – or, discount brand name cialis at best, discount brand name cialis a single cosmetic tool that needs to be used in conjunction with other, discount brand name cialis mobile-centric ideas and sympathies.

Discount brand name cialis One gets the sense that those promoting and using ‘Responsive Web Design’ in its current form secretly hope that this is all they will have to do to be able to call their sites ‘mobile-ready’ (although whether that is what they commit to their clients, discount brand name cialis of course, discount brand name cialis one cannot say). Discount brand name cialis We should sincerely hope this is not the case. Discount brand name cialis These are smart and insightful individuals: surely they understand that juggling a few pixels around does not amount to designing for different types of user.

Discount brand name cialis Mr Keith in particular appears to understand the dilemma. Discount brand name cialis He points out that ‘I don’t refer to this as mobile optimisation’ and that media queries are not the ‘silver bullet for the mobile context’. Discount brand name cialis Nevertheless, discount brand name cialis the screenshots of his portfolio sites are 480px in width (conveniently the landscape size of an iPhone), discount brand name cialis and he is somewhat disparaging about the idea of ‘the rabbit hole’ of creating a different site for mobile devices.

Discount brand name cialis (Of course that isn’t technically required. Discount brand name cialis A small snippet of server logic would have have been all that was required by St Paul’s to move news and contact to the top of a mobile menu, discount brand name cialis and to replace the PDF link with a Google Maps resource, discount brand name cialis for example.)

Discount brand name cialis But this may give us a clue why so many others seem desperate to will the current implementation of ‘Responsive Web Design’ into being as the sole way to develop services for mobile users: it’s all client-side, discount brand name cialis and requires nothing more complex than a few extra tricks in existing CSS files. Discount brand name cialis It may be that many web designers are daunted by the thought that they may be required to think about mobile device detection and conditional logic on the server-side, discount brand name cialis and are clinging to the hope that they can claim to support mobile users without having to do any, discount brand name cialis well, discount brand name cialis programming.

Discount brand name cialis Sadly for those involved, discount brand name cialis this probably can’t be avoided. Discount brand name cialis It’s not that media queries aren’t an excellent way to resize layouts (of course they are), discount brand name cialis nor that they don’t act as a reasonable proxy for identifying a mobile devices (which is also more or less true for now) and in turn mobile humans.

Discount brand name cialis It’s a more fundamental issue – which is that any site should be ruthlessly scrutinized for ways in which it can behave in better ways for all of its constituencies of users, discount brand name cialis and that the differences between those ways are often going to be more significant than can be papered over with some stretchy images and fluid grids on a conveniently powerful mobile browser.

Discount brand name cialis The real fear is that this subtlety is lost on those disciples who want to rattle off a site design that works on mobile devices as well as desktop browsers. Discount brand name cialis The result of their efforts might look lovely on the client’s iPhone, discount brand name cialis but the speed at which that magic trick was performed will certainly have come at the expense of someone actually sitting down and thinking about what that mobile variant of the experience should actually offer.

Discount brand name cialis The result? We won’t have a mobile web, discount brand name cialis but merely a 320px-wide one. A web for which the humans using it matter less than the width of the glass it is displayed on.

Discount brand name cialis As a postscript, discount brand name cialis an analogy: we are in an age which, discount brand name cialis in many ways, discount brand name cialis resembles that of the birth of broadcast television. Discount brand name cialis The mobile web is a new medium that, discount brand name cialis yes, discount brand name cialis is able to deliver services similar to its precursor, discount brand name cialis but which can also be developed and enhanced in ways that have yet to be dreamt of. Discount brand name cialis Reflowing today’s web sites for mobile devices is a philosophy akin to that of the first broadcast television programs: “let’s stick with what worked before, discount brand name cialis and just put well-dressed radio presenters onto the screen”.

Discount brand name cialis Did that work? Sure it did – as a start. Discount brand name cialis But was it these dull talking heads that made television the greatest medium of the 20th century? Hardly. Discount brand name cialis It was when program makers started to explore the visual capabilities of the their new canvas – and the increasingly demanding expectations of the viewers who expected to see something more interesting on the wooden box they had just spent a lot of money on – that innovation occurred.

Discount brand name cialis Today’s ‘Responsive Web Design’ is a lukewarm response to a similar seismic shift – that of the sedentary web into expectant mobile hands.

Discount brand name cialis Our approaches need to be bolder, discount brand name cialis more structural, discount brand name cialis more experimental, discount brand name cialis and, discount brand name cialis frankly, discount brand name cialis more considerate of the diverse audiences we should all be trying to cater for.

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