The Island of Misfit Responsive Designs, Part 1

The Island of Misfit Responsive Designs, Part 1

Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.

—Steve Jobs

Thousands of job reqs for UX Designers over the last few years have listed a desire for experience in responsive design. And, why wouldn’t product teams want to build software in this way? One design that has to be developed, maintained, supported. It simplifies a number of things. I have advocated for responsive design on a number of occasions myself. When resources are short, a responsive design is a MUCH better choice than just ignoring mobile. I mean… people don’t really use mobile devices to check the Internet or anything, do they?

But, as the conscientious designers that we all are, we must consider also the use contexts and experiences that lend itself from a responsive design. We should take a step back and A) figure out if responsive design makes sense at all, and B) understand what components of an experience aren’t handled by responsive design and possibly how to address them.

Here are four ideas that muddy the waters of responsive design just a bit:

  • Differing use contexts
  • Differing technical capabilities
  • Multidevice “smart” ecosystems
  • Challenges unique to responsive design process

Continue reading “The Island of Misfit Responsive Designs, Part 1”

What they ask, what they want

What they ask, what they want

One of the saddest things I have heard/experienced in my years working in software is when a software team gets an RFP (i.e., request for proposals) from a client that asks for a specific project developed with a certain set of features. The product team sequesters itself for a couple of months, builds the software, tests it to make sure it works reliably. Then, for the big reveal, the client callously admits that what the team created was not really what they had in mind. But…. you literally asked… for just that. Worse yet, they go with a competitor that fit what they were seeking for one reason or another instead.

My, my.

This is an unfortunately reality that happens all too often in software design. It shows the disconnect that has existed for years between software development and the client experience. We’re still talking about innovation, but it’s an innovation in process. It’s about listening to the meaning behind the request. So, I’m hearing you, please stop yelling, yes I can hear you. It’s very easy for me to stand in my house, which happens to be glass, and throw stones at the development process of some good software design teams. Continue reading “What they ask, what they want”