To continue our Digital Expert Series, we checked-in with Isaac Huijink, a Freelance Mobile Specialist & UX Strategist from Amsterdam. Isaac shares with us industry tips and trends to look out for as web design ventures beyond responsive.
1. Tell us a little about the work you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of all projects that have added real value for my clients because they either met business objectives or – even better – brought new insights throughout the process that have been put into action. Looking at all I have done in the last few years, I’m happy to see that quite a few projects fall into at least one of those categories.
2. Which tools or frameworks have you experimented with recently or want to get your hands on?
One of the tools on my list of services still to explore is Pixate. It promises to create sophisticated interactions that can be transformed into native iOS and Android prototypes. In general I think that these kinds of tools should be easy to understand so you can focus on the bigger picture instead. To me personally this is also beneficial since I don’t use them on a daily basis!
3. Finish this sentence, “Every website must….” And why?
Every website should serve a clear purpose. This sounds right in theory, but it’s very easy to get lost between concept initiation and final execution because of the complex landscape of stakeholders and different objectives. The hardest and eventually most rewarding part is to stick to the primary objectives by reiterating them time over time, while allowing flexibility to integrate new insights that prove to be a great addition to the original set of objectives.
4. What questions do you ask when talking to clients about going responsive?
What is the goal that you would like to achieve? Reducing costs may be a driver for going responsive, while this is actually only the case when it concerns brand new platforms. For existing, non-responsive platforms it may only pay off in the longer run because migrating your existing platform can be quite a challenge.
Going responsive is what you hear all the time. While I definitely agree with this approach I am in great favour of doing it in a good way from the early start. This means that you have to prepare well by mapping your audience, objectives and content strategy first. Also, make sure to not only keep your design and development team close - and work with them in the most agile way - but get the business involved on the same level as well. That’s the key to success.
5. What can we look forward to in the future on web design?
We’re going to move away from “designing websites” and “going responsive”. This worked pretty well in the era of desktop computers, 3.5” phones and 9.7” tablets. Apart from the fact that we are facing a continuous stream of new devices, most of them mobile, the distinction is shifting away from use moments to how these devices will interact with their users.
This trend requires a whole new mindset: instead of “web design” we must move towards “purposes”. Think of “productivity” in case of desktop devices, laptops and tablets, while “consuming” applies more to phones, and tablets too. On top of that there’s a brand new category coming up that’s all about “informing”. This refers to both wearables (mostly human interaction) and connected devices (mostly cross device interaction and some subtle human interaction also). For instance, your watch tells you to get in the car for your appointment right now due to traffic congestion, while background services notify your home devices you won’t be home anytime soon.
The landscape of how we interact with devices must therefore be broadened, both in terms of designing for purposes and divided into whether it’s human-device or device-device interaction. This translates into a shift from “web design” into a re-definition of user experience design and design languages.