A yearly look back: Web Design 2011


2011 Web Summery

Before 2011 is a distant memory I want to take a little time to look back and see how far the web design industry has come, for me it’s been a hectic year combining working on loads of different things and getting the chance to be part of some new and interesting projects that have helped me to develop more as both a designer and as a coder.

One of the big things that I delved into was HTML5 and I’m still not convinced that it’s the future of markup! Now before anyone starts complaining, I am fully aware that if I don’t have a need for the new elements, no one is forcing me to use them – I can still use HTML4 and I’ll be just fine. However I’m just not convinced that having tags that are so complex in their usage scenarios is a good thing as there is always people that are going to be using them in the wrong context. Maybe I’ll do a full post on this subject soon.

One of the things that I have been convinced by is Responsive (or Adaptive) Web Design. I’d already read a lot about it, but after getting the excellent book by by Ethan Marcotte (http://www.abookapart.com/products/responsive-web-design), I couldn’t wait to get building my first responsive website!

Leading directly on from that I’m also a convert to the ‘Mobile First’ way of designing and I’d suggest anyone who’s looking into it to read the great book by Luke Wroblewski (http://www.abookapart.com/products/mobile-first).

I’ve finally started using RSS feeds/Google reader to keep track of all the many blogs I like to follow so that I’m alerted when they publish a new post, and I can’t understand why it’s taken me so long to realise the benefits of this!

After working on a big project (Step Success) that required a user registration process and apps that they can use, I now fully appreciate how invaluable ‘user testing’ is! It also made me realise how much we sometimes expect users to know and understand the web, because as we spend so long using a computer we take a lot of things for granted. It has also made me agree very strongly with the following quote!

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Einstein

2011 has been the year that I attended my first web conference which was in Bristol , and with it being such a great experience, I’m happy to say that I have managed to fit in another two (FOWA in London, and the lovely Bristol based WDC2011), and have another one lined up in January!

In a related point, I have met some great people throughout the year and have been amazed at how friendly the majority of web people are! It really is stunning just how amazing, precious, and endearing our web community is And how incredibly lucky I am to be a part of it.

I feel that for this year and the next, (and the next, and the next ect…) it’s going to be an incredibly exciting time to be creating things on the web. The way browsers keep pushing to become more advanced, the way they’re taking web standards more seriously, and loads of brilliant ideas from smart thinking people in general have enabled us to finally begin to web design. We’re no longer forced to think of the web as a digital reproduction of physical pages, but rather to finally embrace it as its own thing.

Remember the web is an ever-changing beast, full of imperfections and limitations, but it is also full of progress and experimentation. And that’s why we love it.