Andy Clarke at Smashing Conference

In his talk at Smashing Conference, Andy Clarke talks about how responsive design needs to transcend designers, we need to rework our design process, and we need to be more honest and open with our clients.

  1. Responsive design is not just our problem
  2. We need to fix our design process
  3. How to tell your client they’re an idiot to their face and not get fired.

Responsive design is not just our problem

  • We’ve been focusing on the design and technical problems of responsive design. We’ve been treating responsive design as a creative challenge. However it’s more of a business problem. Other people beside designers and developers need to figure this stuff out.
  • UX > Visual > Development > Implementation is what we’re used to.
  • Sign off on wireframes months ago isn’t a design process. Rigid waterfall process doesn’t work.
  • If the client changed their minds, they could charge for it. It’s a dishonest practice
  • Each one of those arrows in between waterfall steps.
  • It’s impossible to predict all the complications of a responsive design up front.

Post-PC Responsive Workflow

  • Planning is still incredibly important, but it needs to be open-ended
  • We need to have combined design and development processes.
  • Facilitate iteration
  • There’s a difference between design testing and device testing. As designers, it’s about interacting with the design you’re making. The device doesn’t matter as much. It’s more about testing the device types.
  • Testing to see if a menu breaks in Android 2.1 is different than where or not the navigation is effective.
  • We need to refractor every aspect of a responsive design.
  • Pure visual designers need to learn new skills. Photoshop and Fireworks are like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

The Client Participation Process is Fundamentally Broken

  • You can’t demonstrate CSS support in
  • You can’t demonstrate percentage-based layouts
  • No animation, no states, no pseudo-classes
  • Time spent tediously trying to do that is time not spent being creating.
  • Atmosphere: Typography, color, texture. Graphics programs are great for designing atmosphere, but then you need to get into the browser.
  • Atmosphere is about feeling. It’s about something you can’t really describe, you can only feel it. None of that is about layout. All of it is about the other elements of design.
  • Typography – type choice and how you treat them
  • Color – What have I clicked on? What are the primary colors and secondary colors
  • Texture – is a box round or square? Does it have gradients? Does it have a linen background?
  • Start off designing these components and take content inventories before starting to worry about layout.
  • Client sign-off has resulted in rigid designs. That’s our own fault.
  • Set the right environment for constructive feedback. Focus clients on the issues at hand.

How to call your client an idiot to their face without getting fired

  • Never get defensive. You’ve been hired to solve a problem. It’s not about ego, it’s about respect for your work.
  • Make client feedback constructive. Set time and scope limits.
  • If you don’t show up to a design review, you don’t have an opinion. If you don’t show up, you are silent.
  • Leave your personal feelings at the door. It’s all about the work. There are no stupid questions. Frame conversations in a way that facilitates collaboration.
  • Be passionate. Your clients will enjoy the process that much more.

One Comment

  1. It was a great workshop. If you get the change to see him, I highly recommended it!

Comments are closed for this post. If you've got something to add, feel free to reach out on Twitter.