I began my career as a web designer. I had a small firm that focused on integrated marketing campaigns, primarily focused on the web presence of small businesses. There were three main challenges I remember that led to annoying, monotonous work: optimizing images for the web, optimizing for the various computer screen resolutions, and dealing with the different web browsers. Fast forward to today and web designers and marketers have the same challenges amplified due to the explosion in mobile devices. Enter the elegant approach of Responsive Web Design (RWD). However, with today’s rich media usage, building out the capability to detect the device and serve up the appropriately sized image or video can create a lot of extra work on the part of the web developer. This is where I sit back as an Adobe employee and someone who still designs web sites now and again and think, “thank you.”

I’m very excited about the work Adobe’s doing to get rid of the efforts in creating multiple renditions of images for the smartphone or high-resolution tablet and are letting graphic artists, designers and developers focus on creating more creative than working the assembly line of cutting up images and developing mechanisms to deliver the right image or video file to the customer.  Add in the capabilities of responsive design where one code base can be managed to facilitate the experiences across traditional desktop browsers, tablets, smartphones and whatever new device you may be carrying, and we’re now talking about real ROI.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that Responsive Web Design is no silver bullet for managing the differences each device has and the experiences they will produce. A marketer and designer still has to think through their site visitor, their location, their motivation and the likely use case they’re trying to accomplish. Without it, one misses the fact that standing inside a store I want to find inventory quickly in the user experience and when sitting back on my couch, I want to browse magazine style with giant, beautiful imagery. Content is still king, but we now have some tools to enhance the benefits of Responsive Web Design.

Adobe has collaborated with Crown to flush out the best practices and tools to take advantage of when choosing a responsive approach.  There are insights on how to think and start “mobile first” and how to manage performance of every page load whether it’s on a small smartphone with a less powerful processor to the full featured desktop computer. Download now and read it on your mobile!

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