Future Friendly Fruition

Disruption will only accelerate. The quantity and diversity of connected devices—many of which we haven’t imagined yet—will explode, as will the quantity and diversity of the people around the world who use them. Future friendly

It’s been three and a half years since the the Future Friendly manifesto was drafted, and yesterday’s Apple Watch announcement got me thinking about how the manifesto and its principles are coming to fruition. After all, here’s an emerging device class that has people simultaneously excited and skeptical about its utility and potential.

Will people access the Web from their watches? Who knows. But by designing things in a responsive, device-agnostic way, we’re not only able to better accommodate today’s connected devices, but also prepare for a future landscape yet to be conceived.

These watches do have browsers, and it’s been proven time and again that people will use whatever device that happens to be nearby to get things done. I recently saw a video of a smart watch user firing up TechCrunch’s site–a site I helped make two years ago–on their watch:

I’m not saying that grafting the traditional Web browsing experience onto new device classes is going to save the day, or that responsive design is a silver bullet for addressing all future connected devices. What I’m saying is that by acknowledging and embracing unpredictability, we’re able to better prepare for whatever the future has in store.

The projects you’re working on this very moment will be interacted with on devices that didn’t exist at the time you made them. It sounds weird, but this is quickly becoming our reality. The sooner we embrace this uncertain future, the sooner we can help the Web live up to its true potential.

Once again, responsive design is not about “mobile”, “tablet”, and “desktop”. It’s about creating experiences meant to look and function beautifully on anything that can access the Web. We don’t know what gizmos will be sitting underneath Christmas trees two years from now, but there’s a damn good chance those gadgets will be able to access the Web. It’s up to us to create a future-friendly Web.