Responsive Interview with Andy Clarke & Brad Frost

Andy Clarke & Brad Frost

Welcome to the third week of the responsive design interview series. Each week we ask our two guests the same four questions about Responsive Design and listen intently with what they have to say.

This week we are going to start in the United Kingdom with Andy Clarke before we fly over to the United States and finish off with Brad Frost.

Lets get started!


Andy Clarke

Andy Clarke runs Stuff and Nonsense, a tiny studio that designs fantastically flexible websites and mobile. Andy’s a renowned public speaker and presents at web design conferences worldwide. He teaches techniques and technologies through his own workshop masterclasses, For A Beautiful Web and is the author of the best-selling Transcending CSS and highly acclaimed Hardboiled Web Design. He writes a popular blog, And All That Malarkey, mostly about the web, and tweets as @malarkey.

What was the best implementation of RWD you saw in 2012 and why?

I know many people would point to The Boston Globe or Starbucks as their favourite responsive site, but for me it has to be Grey Goose. It‘s visually stunning, implemented cleverly and not bad vodka either. I’m a Beluga man myself.

What are 2 RWD Frameworks/Plugins/Shims/etc that you recommend/couldn’t live without?

I start every project with my own ’320 and Up’.

What is the one thing with RWD you would like to see improved/developed in 2013?

We definitely need a solution to the inline responsive images problem. Retina or high resolution displays are no longer a novelty, so browser vendors and standards makers need to move faster on this.

If you could offer 1 piece of advice around rwd what would it be?

Consider vertical orientation and in-page navigation. Ask yourself, how are people to know about the interesting content that’s possibly thousands of pixels out of sight?


Brad Frost

Brad is one of those awesome people that does a lot of good for the web community.  He writes some amazing articles over on his blog and started a responsive newsletter of his own. If you haven’t seen those then you MUST have seen This is Responsive which includes a responsive pattern libraryresponsive resources andnews.

What was the best implementation of RWD you saw in 2012 and why?

I’m a big fan of the Build Windows site. It’s a simple site that has a lot of character and works really well for the medium. The Paravel team did a great job packing in a lot of nice subtle design touches in what was apparently a very short timeframe.

I also think my colleagues at R/GA did a fantastic job with the Grey Goose website. When it launched, there weren’t too many responsive sites that were really visually heavy – big images and all the dressings. They did a great job with the execution.

What are 2 RWD Frameworks/Plugins/Shims/etc that you recommend/couldn’t live without?

I typically shy away from frameworks, plugins and all that jazz. But I would recommend Mobitest, which is a tool for testing your site’s performance on real mobile devices.

I’ve also gotten really into Codepen as a way to quickly demonstrate an idea or technique. I’m using it to display the patterns on the responsive pattern library and it’s an absolute joy to use.

What is the one thing with RWD you would like to see improved/developed in 2013?

Performance all the way. Right now 86% of responsive sites send down the same payload to small screens as they do to large screens. You could design the coolest, parallax-to-the-gills site in the world, but if it takes ages to load no one’s going to hang around to see it. Performance, like flexible layouts, is another critical step toward a better user experience, so don’t treat it as an afterthought.

If you could offer 1 piece of advice around rwd what would it be?

Don’t get religious about any of this. This is a huge puzzle that we’re all just starting to figure out, so don’t get tied down in the “right way” to do things. Techniques will evolve, others will die, and we have to be willing to let go of our own best practices to keep up with the times. Also, things take time to develop. If I hear one more “Great article, but isn’t it ironic that their site isn’t even responsive?” I’m going to hunt someone down. Projects take time to develop, everyone has priorities and whether or not a site is squishy or not isn’t the only thing that goes into a good user experience.


Wrapping up…

That’s it for this week, a big thanks to Andy and Brad for their time. Next week we will head back to the UK with Jordan Moore & Stu Robson wowing us with their awesome intellect.

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