Those of you who know where I work may be happy to know that we’re neck-deep here in the challenges of designing a responsive mobile website (in a cost-effective manner, no less!) As such, and since this blog serves a multi-faceted purpose, one of which is as a kind of sandbox for my own personal code-based experimentation, I’ve been playing with a few design tricks I’ve been thinking a lot about, once again resulting in the subtle tweaking of the look-and-feel of this site. Responsive design is tricky: you are essentially building multiple websites that overlap with each other — same content, different look — but that need to resemble each other enough that users just think things are shuffling around… which they are… but in clever ways that maximize screen real estate. In short, you change one thing and two more things break. You fix those and some other bit pops out like a cartoon pimple in a completely unexpected place over here. Yoink! I don’t seek your pity, just your patience if something doesn’t look quite right.
With Karin out of town, I was stuck at home with –y’know– dad responsibilities, and so I spent the better part of my evening last night doing some minor tweaks to my blog template. It’s a small thing, yeah, but it should make it a lot more “touchable.” Whaaaa..?? Well, rather than just have great big gorgeous feature imagery on my front page with itty-bitty word-titles that you click to navigate to the article, now every time there is a picture associated with an article, that whole image is clickable. It’s a bigger target for your little finger. Again… small thing, but with a big usability impact, particularly if you’re reading this blog on a tablet or a phone. Enjoy!
What posts in June? Oh, thooooose thirty posts in June… again. It seems that for the fourth year in a row I’ve climbed aboard the daily blogging train and continued that monumental, multi-year writing effort to string a topic or idea across the vast reaches of years. Each day a new post on a new topic, but on the same blog-per-day topic as last year, creating another set of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 17th // Something You Are Working At
Three years to the day of this exact same theme of post I’m in an almost nearly identical position as I was then.
I wrote a post three years ago today on the topic of my big project at work of re-organizing the corporate intranet system. And what I’d optimistically presumed would be a year-long project, turned into nearly two and a half years (with a short break for some other priority stuff in the middle) of effort that culminated in a much-lauded relaunch of a jumbled file system into neat-and-tidy, revitalized internal communications tool that is saving time and effort… and probably as a result tax money (but then no one specifically measures that.)
Three years later I’m heads-down, all systems go, on yet another project spin-up. You may have noticed that I’ve been focussing a lot on the mobile aspects of my own blog lately. That’s not accidental. I’ve often said that of the many reasons I tend a personal website, one reason fairly high on that list is as a sandbox for my own professional development. After all, it’s all well and good to READ about mobile design standards. It’s another thing to re-purpose a content managed template, live and on-the-fly, into a responsive design. It’s another thing to think about mobile content in the context of actual real-live webpages. It’s another thing to stumble, trip, and yet keep on running when you encounter not-so-obvious roadblocks that no one overtly mentions and you’d never think to search for…
These same systems that I tend to professionally each day — pruning, tweaking, refining, defining, organizing, and honing to the as-close-to-perfection-as-we-can-ness that we strive for — these same systems are increasingly accessed by hundreds of thousands of people on the go. On phones. On tablets. On apps.
And I’m working on another big ol’ project to make that experience a little more friendly. Or at least some pre-work to make that project a little more focused. It will take time to do it right, and as usual, it will be done as efficiently and step-wise as possible. I just hope that in more three years (or preferably much, much sooner) I’ll be talking about THIS project in the past tense, too.
I’m not a huge fan of responsive design, y’know the kind: when websites wibble-and-wobble around and change their look-and-feel, shape and content depending on how big your browser window happens to be. My lack of fandom probably accounts for my (up-til-now) complete lack of understanding of the technical side of it all. I just never bothered. But people apparently like it and I was given (professional) cause (and arguably “light” direction) to figure it all out. So, in other words, if you’re wondering why suddenly this site is using a nearly-identical, but now moderately-responsive template… it’s because I needed to learn. It’s because I needed a guinea pig. And you’re reading it. What do you think: nailed it? Or needs work? What do you expect from a website that responds to your viewing window?