Read and heard

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my head down in the weeds of learning python and improving my JavaScript skills over the past week or so, but I’ve also been taking breaks to read and went to an online conference, so here’s a few tidbits that have been making me think over the past few weeks.

I was lucky enough to get to sit in a room of geeks and hear the CSS Summit conference earlier this month. It was a fantastic three days of info and I am grateful to Christopher Schmitt and Ari Stiles for letting me be in the room as they conducted it here in Portland. Dave Rupert spoke about fluid media in responsive design, but what he said about the whole concept of responsive has stuck with me.

Think of responsive design as a system of ratios and percentages.

That may sound obvious, but after an experience I had last month working on a responsive site, it just isn’t the way many designers are thinking, sadly. It’s the only way to move this forward though, pixel perfection has always been a myth and finally with responsive design more designers are finally seeing that.

I’m also reading through Tim Kadlec’s new book, Implementing Responsive Design: Build sites for an anywhere, everywhere web. I am about half way through and there will most likely be more on this blog about the book, but for now I have been continually thinking about something Tim writes:

The problem is that basing the future on past experiences limits the evolution of new ideas and media.

As I learn more in the realm of programming and use new devices and interact in new ways with the web, I keep thinking about this. How limited are we by thinking about the way things are now or were when we try and tackle new problems? How do we shake ourselves of this mindset? I don’t really have answers, but I’m ruminating on it in between battling code.

Lastly, I just read this post from Whitney Hess this morning, How “When I…” Reasoning Poisons a Team. I reminded me of my own post from quite a while ago, but the value of Whitney’s is not to be missed. How many times do we make decisions about products because it is what we would do or how we would use it? How often do we skip over the user testing that is so necessary. Also, how many times does a stakeholder or team member with more power get to overrule that research? Again, just thoughts, but I know that we need to be better about distancing ourselves from the things we are making in order to see them as our users see them.