Stuart Marlow; Status
This morning, @StuMarlow, from Status Digital came in to College to give us an insight to his company as well as talk about responsive design. The reason that he was here to talk about responsive design is because Status have set us a live brief for our current module, Alternative Techniques.
Status Digital are a Web Design Agency based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Stuart is the main Design Director and he overlooks the UI Design team, UX Design team and also takes care of the Front End Dev group. He is basically top dog round at Status, although he disagrees!
How Status approach simple websites…
For a basic website, Status do very little UX work as it becomes unnecessary for smaller projects. The users already know what will be happening, the experts obviously know what will be happening so they just move on straight to the visual side of things. Once the visuals are complete, the design team would pass on visuals to the developers to build. If the website was to be built responsive then wire frames for those layouts would be done along with the original . Nowadays, a lot more people are using mobile so it makes sense to build responsive websites.
The guys at Status work in what they call an Agile Project Environment. What they mean by this is they complete work in small chunks at a time; send to the client, get them to use & test it and then that way they will know whether things are going right or not. An advantage of doing it this way is that problems can be fixed very quickly.
How Status work…
Status aim to build the desktop version of a website first using a grid system, (usually semantics.gs, which is a CSS Framework that basically allows you to write much less CSS). Designing on a grid is very important for when you are designing with the aim of the site being responsive. It’s very logical for you to understand a much larger design scaled down onto smaller devices/screens.
Stuart then went on to talk about Media Queries, which is a line of CSS which helps you with break points in CSS. It’s important that you don’t look at responsive design and think “oh, it’s just desktop, tablet & mobile”. We have to ensure it changes at each point on the line. At the end of the day, we never know what devices will be brought out in months or years to come. Screen sizes will all be different!
Status Digital follow a set of Responsive Design Guidelines that they have set. It’s basically a load of principles that they stick to, to ensure their responsive design process is consistent.
What we need to consider for our brief…
– Ensure that everything on the desktop site is achievable on other designs/layouts.
– All goals much be achieved on mobile/tablet versions.
– Call to actions must be thought out in-depth to ensure the users can do what they want, when they want.
– Maintain a site orientation; the user may come into a page straight from Google and not know where they are. They have to know where they are within the site, so including a ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ is important.
– Colour is very powerful, make sure it is constant across all devices.
I am very grateful of Stuart coming in to speak to us this morning. His talk was very interesting and I have learnt quite a lot. It’s always good when people from industry come in because you get to see how people work. It’s amazing how much agencies differ in regards to work processes. I’ll definitely be keeping in touch with Stuart, he is a nice guy and his company are the “Mut’s Nuts”!