Responsive Website – The Cobbler’s Child Gets New Shoes

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By Craig de Fasselle

After years of telling clients they should have a responsive website, Blitz Media Design has finally practiced what we preach with this launch of our own mobile-friendly site.

The old platitude “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” is a common saying among designers and other professionals. Many of us are too busy to practice what we preach within our own fields–that’s been true of Blitz until now.

Although we’ve been creating responsive sites for our clients since 2011, we just never made the time to convert our own. With the increasing use of smart phones and tablets to surf the web, we could not ignore our own site any longer.

A Brief History of Our Responsive Design Journey

Our first responsive site came long before the term was coined, as well as long before the first smart phone! In the mid-90s, America Online had a PDA Forum that published a monthly newsletter. As some of the handheld devices had crude browsing capability, we created a website for that newsletter than could be displayed on any web browser or device of the time. When that forum faded into the sunset, so did one of the earliest examples of a responsive site.

Over a decade later, iPhones and Droids were gaining popularity, and the iPad was a few months from being released. Websites were showing up in multiple versions–one for desktop browsing, and others for phones. A snippet of code detected which specific device you were using, and directed the browser to the appropriate version. Blitz Media Design created our first semi-mobile-friendly site with this approach in January 2010.

That was our first and last site using the “device-specific site” approach, as it necessitated a means to update different versions of the website and make adjustments for each new model. It quickly became increasingly complicated as more–and different sized–portable devices began to flood the market.

The option we embraced was presented in Ethan Marcotte’s 2011 book “Responsive Web Design.” He recognized that the number of devices, platforms, and screen sizes would continue to grow, making device-specific web design impractical. He presented a new approach of making a website “device agnostic” where page content would seamlessly adapt to any device.

Marcotte was preaching to the choir when it came to his philosophy, but he was the first to offer the foundation for our own responsive site designs. Although we’ve continued to refine our approach, every responsive site we’ve built, starting in 2011, reflects the basic methodology Ethan outlined.

Three years after adopting that approach, we’re pleased to say that includes our latest responsive site, Blitz Media Design.

Written by Craig de Fasselle

April 29th, 2014 at 4:09 pm

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