Responsive Interview with John Allsopp

John Allsopp shouldn’t be a stranger to anyone, after all I think he was the first person to begin guiding us towards a responsive future when he penned A Dao of Web Design for A List Apart – April 2000.
John now runs the largest southern hemisphere web conference, Web Directions, and continues to build amazing things for the web.

What was the best implementation of responsive web design you’ve seen in 2013 and why?

I think i’m going to be a curmudgeon and say, I didn’t really notice any that are particularly out of the ordinary. But this is a good thing! It re- minds me a bit like back in the day when we celebrated sites like ESPN and Wired Magazine’s standards based redesigns, and then suddenly, we didn’t, because we didn’t need to, because this was what good designers and developers did.

What are two responsive web design frameworks/ plugins/shims that you recommend?

Again, curmudgeonly on my part, but I’m really old school. Media queries all the way down. Very occasionally I find myself using window.matchMedia, but in principle I always try to keep development as simple as possible.

What is the one thing with responsive web design you would like to see improved?

Well, I think we’ve got the idea of adapting designs to screen properties down pretty well. To me the next step is adapting to other characteris- tics of the user’s environment, including location, and motion, and time. I’ve experimented with this a little, and have some basic proof of concept code at github.

If you could offer one piece of advice around responsive web design, what would it be?

Think about the user, not the device. Too often we design for the screen, and base our design decisions on the screen, but really, what’s relevant is the impact on the user’s experience of having that particular device, in that location, at that time? That’s really what we should be thinking about, more than breakpoints (breakpoints are a means to the end of better user experience, not the end in itself)

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