There’s an important part of painting on the web canvas often missed, and the following is a thought dump with that in mind.
Responsive web design has been called a return to the web’s roots, but I don’t think that’s true at all.
Design for the web went in the wrong direction, that’s clear, but the return to building a web that works everywhere for anyone merely brings us back to where we always should have been. It’s a baseline from which to work in the future.
However, the word responsive is, for me, the spark of a future dream. Truly responding to the user and their behaviour and context is something that I would like to explore and see explored, and the web is – perhaps uniquely – positioned to do so.
My location, my mood, the weather, my recent tweets, friend’s activity, time of day, recent behaviour… these are all context that we have ready access to but are taking little advantage of. We could do so much with them.
A button I never press, a menu I never open, a feature unused… these are contexts and behaviours that we can design for and respond to.
My point is that we know so much about a user yet we do so little with that information. A user’s device is not their context; their environment and behaviours are, and I believe we can use these to design experiences that emulate the malleable and responsive real world.