Flashbacks from WebVisions 2013
¡Hola! I saw the future of the web and it was mobile, user-centered and fun to develop. I also saw Barcelona and it was loud, sunny and amazing, but you don’t want to read about that, right? So let me share some of my thoughts after WebVisions and a few ideas that seem most important to me as a web developer.
It seems like by now everyone knows the importance of responsive design. This is an old idea. Yet a lot of developers – and clients – just don’t care enough. Mobile devices are still something to consider only after the desktop version of a web app is ready and rolling. Contrary to common sense, responsive web design still isn’t the default way of doing things. Why? Let it finally be the rule, not just a feature.
Both from a materialistic, business-like point of view and from a moral, open-sourcey perspective, taking mobile devices into consideration is worth it. As Dave Shea pointed out, it’s super-safe to say that mobile design increases sales 2 times. In fact it is usually much more, closer to 3, 4 or even 5 times. But also – think of everyone, think of Africa, target new markets where there’s just no good desktop base, but a pretty good mobile infrastructure is emerging (Chris Heilmann).
Yes, creating responsive layouts is hard, and that’s why new cool web standards are being developed to make our work easier and more fun. At WebVisions we could hear about them straight from the friendly hardcore-looking blokes that are making it happen.
For example, check out flexbox. It’s only partially supported at the moment, still difficult to use and may hit performance, but man, it will rock when it’s sorted out! Imagine easily reordering and resizing elements with a few lines of CSS instead of resorting to time-consuming workarounds and dirty hacks.
We know that devices lie – that’s why we have to remember about meta viewport. But like Bruce Lawson said, forcing the way of presentation in HTML is what Satan does and that’s why there’s a proposal of a @viewport CSS rule.
Soon we will be able to use much more precise media queries, such as
@media (hover) for detecting if a device can hover, or
@media (pointer: none/fine/coarse) that would tell you whether a device has a fine mouse pointer or rather limited pointing accuracy, as with touch screens.
And how cool are viewport units? Very cool. And you can almost use them :)
Just one more thing: FirefoxOS is out and if you haven’t heard about it yet, you should read why Chris Heilmann is so psyched about it. It’s awesome because there are no native apps – they are written in the same web technologies we use and love. This new system’s goal is to provide high quality experience while being accessible to everybody, with regard to both users and developers.
Here are some beautiful, beautiful slides from the conference that are totally worth checking out:
- Responsively Responsive by Javier Usobiaga and Marta Armada
- Future Layouts by Chris Mills
- Mobile Web Design Anti-patterns by Dave Shea
- Make Some Space for the Next Few Billion Users by Chris Heilmann
- Web Standards for Cross Device Design – What Next? by Bruce Lawson