Episode VI: Return of the Designer

by Kean Richmond
See Dave Speak SMX London

As has become customary at this time of year there's a new design for Dave's blog for all to enjoy, and as the post title kind of alludes to this is actually the 6th time I've had my grubby designer hands all over Dave's blog.

A new design for Dave's website can be borne simply out of a desire to refresh the look of the site but before jumping into Photoshop there always needs to be better reason that this to warrant the time refreshing a site that most are perfectly happy with already. This time that reason came down to mobile.

Why now?

Dave has actually been mentioning getting his website more mobile friendly for a good few years and I've resisted for a reasons such as:

  • Creating an m.davidnaylor.co.uk is too much work with only a small return
  • The people viewing Dave's site will have modern smart phones and be fine with the desktop version
  • Designing to suit all mobiles has to be an impossible task

The second complaint is something I've still no reconciled within myself as I still think if you want the internet on your phone you have something like an iPhone or Android which all have browsers that are as good as their desktop counterparts.

This being said advancements in CSS within the realm of responsive design means that creating a site that is either responsive or adaptive to multiple screen and device sizes is much easier. For those not following happenings in the web design world, think of Responsive design like those fluid width websites that fill the width of your browser, like Amazon does still.

Responsive or Adaptive design (I'll not get into the difference's here) is like fluid design but with the use of Media Queries that allow a designer to implement new CSS for specific screen or device sizes (and much more). That's as simple as I can think to summarise it anyway. But what this means is that without all that much extra work we could get Dave's site to hopefully look great on mobiles, tablets and even widescreen monitors.

Simply put it's the ease of implementation of responsive design (when building a new website as retrofitting is a bit more difficult) that meant I was now happy to create a site that could tailor itself to each device.

But that's not the only changes

Well actually that's not all that true. The mobile stuff is the only real advancement within the website, the rest of the changes are simple refinements on what already existed or removing some stuff that seemed unnecessary. The blog posts have been redesigned to put a greater emphasis on the content of the post, with the goal to improve readability and sharing while the homepage has a little more activity with the addition of a scrolling banner. The Who We Are page has also had a spruce up with larger images of the team, which I'm sure they'll love.

There are even a couple of Easter egg's hidden in the site for pretty much my own amusement.

Sacking off IE6 and 7

The argument for supporting these browsers is still a very valid one but for Dave's website there is little to convince that these browsers still need considering. The traffic these browsers send is low and the intended audience of Dave's site we can safely assume don't use these browsers. Instead the site was built in Firefox and tested through Chrome, Safari, Opera and IE10, 9 and 8. Though to be honest the site isn't looking fantastic in IE8.

At Bronco we no longer support IE6 so it was right to drop support in our own sites, these sites instead get a universal style sheet that makes sure the content is readable but the design is stripped back and much of the imagery is missing.

That's it

I can't think of anything else to mention without getting into uber-geek mode and mentioning all the different CSS3 and jQuery stuff going on in the website, so feel free to leave a comment, it would be great to hear thoughts about the mobile version too.

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