Category Archives: Web conception/design

Responsive web design: a project-management perspective (article on Opera Dev)

Opera_512x512I am aware that i haven’t been around much, lately, but i do happen to have decent reasons.

Personal reasons, for sure (don’t decide to get married within 6 months without thinking it’s another part-time job!). But also professional, since the very visible Dev.Opera webtech blog (run by Opera Software, yes, the web browser) offered Sophie Taboni (you know her for other stuff) and myself to write a full blog post about the fight we’re fighting: Responsive Web Design issues in feature design and project management.

Here’s a short extract to get you interested, but nothing will give you the taste of it like reading it fully on !


What strikes many people about responsive web design, the first time they hear about it, is the simplicity of the syntax. As Rich Quick said in his recent talk at Front Row to introduce the basic concepts:

“it’s all roughly about learning one single line of CSS code!”

Of course, it would be unthinkable for any self-respecting web geek to hear about this and not immediately try to manipulate that one magical line of CSS code everyone is talking about to the limit! What most of us discover then is that after the quick technical introduction there’s an ocean of best practices to learn. These are covered rather nicely by Ethan Marcotte’s now classic Responsive Web Design book and several good online resources, including the rather good Love your devices: adaptive web design with media queries, viewport and more by Chris Mills, on this very website.

This is where many people stop. After all, many of the challenges with responsive design are fairly similar, regardless of project size and budget. There are, however, additional challenges to consider on large projects, which are too rarely addressed: this article will aim to address those.

These challenges mainly have their origins in how the usual roles and profiles on a project blur on larger projects, with graphic designers having to understand HTML, or front-end developers ending up making design choices. These problems are solved by assigning roles to everyone on a project team more wisely, and finding ways to communicate through the team that fit the end result better. But before we mention that further, perhaps we should ask ourselves a few basic questions.

Read the rest on Dev.Opera!

Putting back some reality to Responsive Web Design — my talk in the Front Row conference

Today, i gave my second talk in a week, which is a very unusual talk frequency for me!

The purpose here was double:

  • using the momentum on Responsive Web Design, and the blurriness of the buzzwordiness, to kill some myths and put proper accurate definitions back on words.
  • explaining why the design process can get very messy, and offering a few ideas to start from; also, since this is still very experimental to date, interesting people to try to find their ways to make that process better, and share them as well.

Continue reading Putting back some reality to Responsive Web Design — my talk in the Front Row conference

No one ever tells jokes about ergonomy and usability testing!

Picture from Josh Janssen, under the CC-BY-ND license

So, i heard you were having a hard time trying to get your clients or your associates to figure out how ergonomy and user experience matter so much on your web project? And i heard you can’t get them to realize why usability testing is in most cases an ultimate solution for it?

All in all, you would agree, there are three kinds of projects:

  1. those who had usability testing during the prototyping/conception, and are a close match to the target users’ expectations
  2. those who had a single ergonomy expert, who is nothing but an attempted replacement for usability testing (ergonomy experts are nothing but people who guess as well as they can what the usability tests could have turned out to say)
  3. those made by people who believe they can guess usability testing results as well as, or even better than ergonomists!

If you are involved in the latter, know that i understand your sorrow, and i cry for you…

But do not panic! For here i am standing before you, arms wide open, with a peaceful solution: no shouting, no hassling from the PM (oh i’ve been there too!), just a plain old little joke.
One little joke you should keep in mind to make ergonomy and its drastic importance understandable to whomever you’ll tell it to.

And of course, the joke is of the “man walks into a bar” kind of jokes, because they’re my favorites! Continue reading No one ever tells jokes about ergonomy and usability testing!