Well, it’s December, so the season of yearly wrap-ups has begun. One of the first pieces to cross my path was A List Apart‘s “What I learned About the Web in 2011“, a collection of short (1-3 paragraph) thoughts by various members of the web community. It’s a nice read, and covers a lot of ground, ranging from standards to what constitutes a book in these Kindle/Nook/Kobo saturated days. My favorite was probably Jon Tan’s “We Who Are Web Designers”, and his article of the same name he linked to. It’s a nice little manifesto of the field, and definitely worth a read. That being said, I think that the big issue of the year was mobile, and the development of responsive design. The List Apart article has plenty of thoughts on those issues, but here are mine.
First of all, I think that this is the year that the mobile web has detonated. I don’t think it has exploded yet (mobile still only accounts for about 7% of online activity), but the button has been pressed, and I expect that next year will be when it really starts to blow up (it’s being suggested that mobile will overtake the desktop by 2014).
To prepare for this, we’re going to have to start adopting responsive design. It may seem like it’s more work, but after dabbling with it a bit, I’m wishing I’d started looking into it earlier. Not only does it make it easier to tailor design for different users, but it’s also helped me break structure away from design. It forces you to start thinking of the page in terms of functional units; the things that have to stick together somehow no matter how the page might change. It’s really helped me see what exactly a page is, rather than just a flow of content. In a way, it’s doing the same thing that my adoption of semantic markup got me doing. That, however, is a discussion for another day (soon).
In the meantime, happy reading, happy coding, and a happy holiday season to you all!