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As I think more about mobile, I wonder if the best use of responsive layout should be in an attempt to do away with the concept of a mobile site completely. Design your site architecture so NOBODY downloads content they don't need, then use responsive layout to tailor the views to the screen size/orientation.

But in my mind it starts with architecture that gets the right content, and only the right content, to everyone, no matter how they're coming to your site. Why do we give mobile a clean simple site, and serve a 1MB stock photo to the desktop?

Larry King

You last paragraph reminds me a lot of Luke Wroblewski's concept of design for mobile first (http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?933), which seems to be an ideal approach, especially when doing responsive web design.

It really is just another form of progressive enhancement. Get the content and functionality right for the lowest common denominator platform, and enhance based on browser capability, screen-size/orientation, etc.

Colin Eagan

Responsive Design raises a lot of good questions about how we approach IA: how do you sketch a responsive interface using a static wireframe, for example. Design approaches have to be more modular by definition, and focus on individual components of a page layout as opposed to the overall landscape. Curious to hear if anyone has recommendations on tools.

Larry King


Good points. Modular design is key to making responsive web design work. The most effective ways to represent this type of approach early in the design process is an interesting problem I am looking forward solving!

Chris Seamon

I am using this technique right now on a project. I really like it because I have covered just about every device within one style sheet and one javascript file. When doing IA for mobile a wireframe should just incorporate the basic areas you want to contain for a phone (the main content minus ads and other information that really isn't looked at much). The tablet devices and computers will more than likely have the same dimenstions (1028 x 768). So you just need to keep smart phone dimensions and dimensions that are a normal screen resolution to a larger one in your file. One last thing to note is don't get crazy with laying out information in a multicolumned table type of format. This might cause some headaches or for someone to create some javascript functions and server side functions to deal with displaying tables in a special page since the information inside will more than likely break the mobile layout.

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