IXD301 – Responsive Web Design Book Review

One of the books Kyle has recommended to us is a short book by Ethan Marcotte called ‘Responsive Web Design’. This book does everything that it is set out to in the title. One of the biggest challenges in web design for me is to create a fluid and responsive design as I am new to this type of design although know enough to acknowledge the problems. Ethan goes into detail in this book talking about the design principles of media queries fluid grids and interactive images.

Most of the information is organized into the first five chapters. However, the first chapter ‘Our Responsive Web.’  shows many modules of architecting websites. This can be extremely beneficial when converting to different devices such as smartphones. He shows how layouts can be made flexible with additional font sizes specified in character widths and positioning is specified with certain parameters. Additionally, he talks about flexible images and how percentages can be used to create a responsive design. In the second chapter, Ethan talks about flexible grids and demonstrates how grid-based layouts can be implemented to create greater visual consistency. Ethan goes into great detail showing how layouts can be created in a flexible manner along with type sizes. Eventually, we come to the third chapter where we delve into the world of media queries, this section ultimately is the face of the book.

However, in the fifth chapter “Becoming Responsive” Ethan talks about real-world scenarios of responsive design. Interestingly enough, Ethan mentions how websites on mobile devices should not be simply scaled down from their large screen predecessors. Instead, should be catered and customized to fit and navigate smaller devices. This is one of the problems I have encountered while using viewport width/height units on typography. Ethan has said something that caught my eye (similar to what Kyle has said) about designing on mobile-first. However, I haven’t done this for my portfolio project I will keep it in mind for future projects.

Although, this book is still an ongoing read. I have found most of the content in this book extremely helpful so far in contributing understanding to responsive design towards my projects. Additionally, it is also beneficial to future projects involving web design which I would like to pursue.



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