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EPISODE 025 - New Zealand, Brooklyn Beta, and Responsive Design with Ethan Marcotte (@beep)

Amanda, Dan, and Scott are joined by Ethan Marcotte, progenitor of the Responsive Web Design movement. Ethan recently spearheaded the responsive redesign of the Boston Globe’s website. He has authored and co-authored books on CSS and web standards.

Episode Notes and Links:

Our friends at A Book Apart have been keeping us apace, and, what is more, trying to prepare us,  in the least, for the future of the web and how we come to engage it. 

As they write, at the intersection of “multi-disciplinary mastery and laser focus”, they look to address, with style and clarity, both the “emerging and essential in web design and development”.

Ethan Marcotte, who has just published, “Responsive Web Design”, offers just that with his latest book: a glimpse into the ways in which we encounter information.

Here’s Marcotte:

“As I begin writing this book. I realize I can’t guarantee you’ll read these words on a printed page, holding a tiny paperback in your hands. Maybe you’re sitting at your desk with an electronic copy of the book up on your screen. Perhaps you’re on your morning commute, tapping through pages on your phone, or swiping along on a tablet. Or maybe you don’t even see these words as I do: maybe your computer is simply reading this book aloud.”

The constitution of the book, and larger still, the very ways in which we read and write, and engage with thought, well, as we all know, these structures of interaction, and our relationships, they’re changing. Which is to say, a radical transformation is afoot.

It should come as no real surprise, then, Ethan Marcotte, long a pioneer of the internet, is on the cusp of these major shifts. Also, it has become increasingly clear that aesthetics will play a vital and timely role. How material is presented, let alone how we come to experience this content, is quintessential for absorption and dissemination. 

Happy to learn that the future of the web is in such thoughtful hands. A new ubiquity, singular and different, is emerging. 

Facebook and the Responsive Web

Facebook’s mobile moves are part of a larger trend called responsive web design. It won’t just be the code bases that change either. We, the users, will notice the differences too. For example, it’s likely that Facebook’s desktop website will over time utilize more of the design patterns in its mobile apps and site.

Responsive web design was a term coined by Ethan Marcotte on A List Apart (a long running and popular resource for web designers) in May 2010. He coined it in response to the increasing number of devices and browsers on which to view a website, which was kickstarted with the iPhone in 2007 and has since expanded to include the likes of Android and Internet TV browsers. … Marcotte followed up with an entire book on the topic. He summarized:”

This is our way forward. Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices, we can treat them as facets of the same experience. We can design for an optimal viewing experience, but embed standards-based technologies into our designs to make them not only more flexible, but more adaptive to the media that renders them. In short, we need to practice responsive web design.

A Book Apart: Brief Books for People Who Make Websites

I have to give thanks to my co-worker Avery Banguilan for pointing this site and these books out to me.

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A List Apart, a webzine for web designers has started putting out these books that look at issues involved with planning for and executing digital experiences.

Avery loaned me Ethan Marcotte's Responsive Web Design book, and I’m finding it (code heavy but) very interesting. It’s already influencing how I think about how I approach my job and projects I am involved with. (Which I hope says more about the content/approach/thinking manifest in the book than it is about how easily influenced I am …)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Luke Wroblewski and his Mobile First approach, and that’s another book on this list I’m interested in checking out.

HTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy Keith also piques my interest, as, really, does every book offered here, for one reason or another.

Here’s how this series’ editors describe their efforts:

“Web design is about multi-disciplinary mastery and laser focus, and that’s the thinking behind our brief books for people who make websites. We cover the emerging and essential topics in web design and development with style, clarity, and, above all, brevity—because working designer-developers can’t afford to waste time.”

“A Book Apart publishes highly detailed and meticulously edited examinations of single topics. We produce brief books of about 100 pages—the perfect size in terms of subject depth and coverage for topics like HTML5, CSS3, content strategy, responsive web design, and more.”

“The goal of every title in our catalog is to shed clear light on a tricky subject, and do it fast, so you can get back to work. Thank you for supporting our mission to provide professionals with the tools they need to move the web forward. Let us know what you think about our books.”

Recommended. Check it out.

anonymous asked:

Eric, what books/readings on web design do you recommend for graphic designers? So we can better understand what a makes a good website (usability, design and how to work with different types of sites, eg how to approach designing a responsive site) and work with developers better.

Usability, User Experience

Information Visualization: Perception for Design by Colin Ware (2012)

Observing the User Experience by Elizabeth Goodman (2012)

The Inmates are Running the Asylum

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand (1995)

Systematics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail by John Gall (1997)

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman (2013)

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug (Revisited Edition, 2014)

Design Patterns

Designing Interfaces by Jennifer Tidwell (2011)

The Humane Interface by Jeff Raskin (2000)

Dark Patterns

Thoughtful Interaction Design by Jonas Löwgren (2007)

Responsive & Mobile-First Web Design

Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski (2011)

Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte (2nd Edition, 2014)

History & Context

As We May Think  by Vannevar Bush (1945)

The Mother of All Demos

Dispersion by Seth Price (2008)

Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge (2007)

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (2009)

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander (1977)

Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse (2013)

The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs (1992)

Change Aversion

Designer-Developer Collaboration

Designing Together

Design for Continuous Experimentation

User-Interface Algorithms