22 March 2013 · Stephen
Some readers might know that many of my presentations the last few years have been related to responsive design workflow (I've also written a book about the subject which should magically appear at the beginning of April). Every so often one of these posts pops up about how people are dealing with the workflow issue. Dennis hits the nail on the head here with some of the more important workflow considerations when dealing with responsive design:
- The waterfall/assembly line workflow will fail you eventually. Waterfall creates silo-working and theoretical design (design mockups and wireframes based on device fantasy) as opposed to device-testable deliverables. The earlier we accept that fact, the better.
- We need a better way to manage client expectations.
- We need to increase collaboration. This is arguably the most important point. Waterfall workflow gives lots of design decision power to the first people in the assembly line, effectively circumventing potentially valuable input from visual designers and developers early in the process.
Dennis' workflow differs slightly from my own, and that's fantastic. The fact that these workflows are different is a great thing. It means people are experimenting and finding out what works for them in real time and on real projects. As Dennis says,
None of this is set in stone. It's imperfect, and we're still figuring a lot of it out as we go. But what we've tried to establish through the process is the idea that design exploration doesn't have to be relegated to the earliest stages of a project, and that approvals don't (and shouldn't) have to preclude change later in the game. When both the client and dev team aren't hung up on getting the design locked down through an early sign-off, it gives the design a chance to evolve into something a bit more prepared to survive in the real world.
I really value posts like this, giving useful bits of personal insight to a huge but under-discussed challenge in responsive design. I hope to see more posts like this in the future.