As a designer at a tech startup, I feel very lost and out of place most of the time. I feel my coworkers do not understand design and why should they? The developers I work with think that I should work like them and they almost feel like I’m being silly when I suggest that designing is nothing like programming. This has taught me a lesson, I have to become a teacher. I have to teach the people I work with everything I know about design for them to understand why design does not fit into a 2 week agile sprint and why the colors being used will not be chosen in a sprint planning session.
Requirements for a responsive CSS framework
I have been working on a CSS framework for using when building responsive web sites. In the process, I have been thinking about the requirements for such a framework. Here is a list that I am following:
- Moible first: Mobile devices should only load the needed CSS, and nothing more, to optimize bandwidth usage.
- Fluid/Liquid layout: No questions about it, responsive sites have to be percentage based all the way. Doing it with pixels is simply not practical.
- Fixed/Elastic gutters: Design above technical perfection. Designers want the gutters to be proportional to the content and not the screen size. This is why the gutters should be defined in ems.
- Simple and flexible: I decided not to make guesses about how developers would be using my grid system, but instead, tried to make it flexible and usable for as many styles of web sites as possible.
- Stand-alone: Focus on the grid system and layout aspect, and not reinvent things already been solved, such as reset styles and mixing (although those things might be nice to have as an optional download).
- Compiled CSS: I think most developers should be using some version of a compiled CSS language by now. If anything else, it really does speed up the development process.
Spend your money on creating
The web is still a teen by all measures, and there is certainly much room for improvement in how web sites are created. I am not talking specifically about technology so much as I am referring to the web content that is currently out there, and more importantly, the web content that is lacking altogether! As companies morph into software companies of their own, they will need to re-think previous web strategy, which will likely require a shift towards greater emphasis placed on web content strategy. More specifically, companies will need to bring writers and content creators on board to manage their web sites, or to train their staff to effectively do so.
If your firm does not already have a blog, you may want to re-consider. Utilizing social media like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to traditional blog formats, make it easier for customers to find company information and share it with their friends. With open-source and free CMS systems, companies can now spend their money on writing good content, rather than wasting it on proprietary CMS systems. Better yet, does your business even need an expensive, custom-made web site? In many cases, custom-made CMS systems simply aren’t necessary.
These days, businesses can direct their browser to web platforms like WordPress.com or Tumblr.com, and start creating meaningful content right away. These easy platforms enable companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals to create an internet presence immediately and spread the word about a particular sector right away, as well as share ideas, and inspire others.
As internet usages continues to increase, many individuals are doing their shopping exclusively online and/or researching product information via the web. If your company does not have the right presence online, new customers are not going to find you, and existing customers might forget you altogether. Don’t be fooled by companies that try to sell you a web site in a box. It does not exist. Instead, spend your money on content and design. It’s an investment well worth making.