Designing for Mobile. What’s Really Important.

With the use of mobile devices skyrocketing, websites nowadays need to be designed accordingly. No longer can they be assumed to be viewed in a basic desktop browser format, instead, site design needs to consider everything from tiny phone screens, tablet screens and everything in between. This led to the latest standard in web design: responsive design. This quote encompasses key lessons.

Lessons from making the Boston Globe website responsive:

“So starting at 960, we designed downward. Every decision informed the one before it and the one after; we flipped back and forth between breakpoints a lot. As the Mobile First mantra suggests, designing for mobile was most instructive because it forced us to decide what was most important. And since we refused to hide content between breakpoints, the mobile view could send us flying back up to the top level to remove complexity.

“As I design anything, I’m asking myself what’s absolutely necessary and how I can simplify. The responsive design process regimented this way of thinking. Stepping through each breakpoint helped us stay simple.”

What are your thoughts?

One thought on “Designing for Mobile. What’s Really Important.

  1. Nice link. I’ve been working on a responsive design using skeleton (from and twitter’s bootstrap also has some support for it.

    This is still a very new realm, and interestingly, some users still want to see a “view full site” link that will allow their smart phones to take advantage of pan-and-zoom features. The “experience” that mobile users have of being “forced into the mobile site” hackles some users, even when you reassure them that they are seeing all the same content, just laid out differently. And some users insist that it would be “courteous” to allow them the privilege of deciding to view a full web page “the way it is supposed to look” directly on their tiny phone screen.

    Personally, I’m hoping that with greater emergence of responsive design pages, and faith that the experience is worth it, it will eventually win the day. But it will require implementers and designers to ensure that they maintain that trust. It is all too easy using responsive design to create a very different user experience (to reveal or hide content based upon screen size), and this dissonance will only make it harder to win the faith of mobile users.

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