With all the attention on mobile devices lately, have we forgotten our desktop experience?

Did that get your attention? While I’m not about to tell you to throw all your tablets and phones in a river, I do think it’s interesting to think about the range of effects that the last year of additions to CSS has had on our workflow. Responsive design has really rejuvenated the front-end landscape. This, of course, is awesome.

Surely though when we transition static designs to fluid, add breakpoints to target column stacking, and drop in JavaScript-powered navigation fixes for smaller screens, we’re also certainly adding to our scope. When adding multiple design states to our sites and including more devices that demand quality assurance testing, do we have to change some of our traditional approach? Here are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself lately:

  • Do we keep the same level of standards and allow our timelines to expand? Will this mean our projects will last 3 years?
  • Do we cut hours in other areas, like testing in Internet Explorer 6 or making our sites work without JavaScript?
  • Does anyone even test for text size increasing/decreasing anymore or are we all now used to text zoom?
  • How about accessibility and source ordering with screen readers? How will that effect our mobile to desktop content reflow?
  • Are we using frameworks and skinning our designs in a browser? Are we stretching our imaginations in Photoshop? Is there a mix of both?
  • Are we choosing web fonts that will still look good on PCs without font smoothing?
  • Are blurry images ruining our designs? Are retina images worth the download time?
  • Are we focused on smaller screens? Are we focused on huge resolutions? Did we remember the middle guys?

There’s no shortage of things to discuss with your team. Lots of times I find it’s not a one size fits all answer. Looking at questions like these on a project-by-project basis, examining analytics, factoring which CMS will power a site; these are all things that influence decisions on what serves the time spent on a project best.

By this time next year, I’m sure there will be a completely different set of questions we’re asking. It’s been fun to embrace this unpredictability.