[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 27 September 2013]
As the Chinese curse goes, these are interesting times in Web design.
The Web changes furiously fast, and sites start to look stale and dated in no time. This is both bad in that you can never stand still, and good in that the state of the art and the tools are constantly improving.
So, some time has passed since the last redesign and it was time to roll up my sleeves and take The Core Dump into if not the future then at least the present.
The goal was to make the site feel a little lighter, crank up the fonts a bit and above all to showcase images better—the “old” way of shadowboxing is starting to feel passé.
Here, have a random image of a prickly pear cactus.
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, you know the au courant thing is responsive design—making sites adapt to as many device sizes as possible, from tiny phones to huge desktops, without the kludginess and extra work of special mobile versions. (Browser sniffing, shudder.)
This is far from an easy task and involves giving up more control than Web designers are used to. As a Web designer, you’ve always had to accept a certain level of browser incompatibilities and stubborn user settings throwing spanners in the wheel of your vision, but depending on how much work you were willing to put in, you could still get pretty close to that Photoshop comp somebody threw over the wall.
But now, the comp can’t be much more than inspiration and guidance, and instead, intent becomes the key thing. How much branding do I need to carry over across devices? Which content is needed on which device? What is a visitor on a cell phone most likely to want to achieve?
Not only understanding this yourself, but also educating the person who gives you a check to build a site, can be, cough, challenging.
And of course the time needed for testing goes through the roof with the logarithmic explosion of options.
The good news is that we have an awesome new tool. Version 3 of Bootstrap is sheer magic. Magic, ah tells ya! Magic!
Rock solid, takes care of most browser incompatibilities, and provides all the most commonly used pieces needed to make a modern site.
I can’t praise it highly enough. If you build sites, Bootstrap makes things so much easier it almost feels like cheating.