Responsive Web Design: 6 Experts, 4 Questions

Note: this piece was originally published on Net Magazine, who recently nuked about 10,000 articles when they moved over to Creative Bloq. In an effort to preserve the writing I did for them, I’m republishing those articles here on my blog. This interview is still alive over at Creative Bloq, so you can also read the full thing there. I’m just reposting my contribution to the article.

Helen Bailey: What questions do you ask a client to make sure he/she really needs a responsive website and not a mobile site or application? Or do you believe any website should be responsive?

Brad Frost: I think ‘responsive by default’ is a good mentality. Creating a single codebase to serve to all users is a better way to preserve your sanity. In almost every situation, an organization choosing to create a separate mobile site has everything to do with the organization, process or project scope rather than for technological reasons. I’d say that very rarely are there instances where separate sites are necessary from a technological point of view. As for native apps, that’s a whole different conversation. Unfortunately, many organizations conflate apps and sites, so it’s important to educate them. I typically ask, “what’s this thing supposed to do? Does it need access to device capabilities like your camera or contact list?” If yes, I’d recommend making a native app. However, it’s importance to capitalize on the ubiquity of the Web, so even an app strategy needs to have a strong Web counterpart.

HB: Are there any tools/frameworks that help you build responsive sites faster and easier? Have you ever used Bootstrap?

BF: I typically shy away from prebuilt frameworks. It’s not that I think they’re worthless, it’s just that you’re subscribing to how someone else has set things up, and they might not do what you need them to do. I’ve created a tool called Pattern Lab, which allows designers to create their own design systems. The goal is to allow designers to create powerful systems without really giving them a lot of dependencies or the answers.

HB: Is your personal site/blog responsive or not? Why?

BF: Of course my personal site is responsive and for a lot of reasons. First, it’s how I earn my living, so it would be silly for me to talk about responsive design and not have a responsive site. Secondly, your personal site is the perfect place to experiment with new techniques, patterns and more. I highly encourage everything to have their own personal playground where they can continue to evolve their skillset.

HB: Which great resources on responsive web design would you recommend?

BF: I’ve rounded up and categorized a lot of great resources about responsive design right here in one handy location.

You can read the rest of the interview over at Creative Bloq.