Matters of size (yes, size matters!)
1 December 2012
The world is rapidly evolving technologically: the market is flooded with new cellular devices, iPads, tablets, etc. Before we're even finished paying for our new device, we find ourselves paying for a newer one. The big companies are competing for our hearts, trying to sell us the best "surfing experience". Surfing experiences are obviously affected by the device itself (user interface, size, display, etc.) and equally important: the content. This is where we, Knowledge Management (KM) personnel, come into the picture.
Making content accessible has become complicated due to a variety of devices and the subsequent need to adapt the design to various resolutions. Try surfing a regular website from your cellular phone: The display is illegible.This isn't simply a cellular problem; multiple computer screens generate a similar problem. More than once, I've built a website or content page that on my screen looked just fine. Yet on the clients' screen the display seemed
distorted, the scrolling was extremely long or included smaller scrolling in windows. Does this sound familiar?
What can we do?
In the recent past (as in the present), web designers would design several versions according to the various existing screens. Programmers were expected to program various websites, one for each resolution. The quick turnover forces us to think differently and work differently. The most recent development involves Responsive Web Design.Responsive design is website design that alters according to the browser size and resolution of the device used. Various elements in the website adapt themselves to the size and location automatically, while others are omitted. Rather than creating different designs for each device/browser, we must relate to them all as different facets of one surfing experience and generate "flexible" websites than can adapt themselves to the media through which they are being viewed.
How is Responsive Design created?
Responsive Design requires 3 main components:1. An outline based on a flexible grid2. A use of flexible media and pictures3. A use of media queries from CSS codeSimply put, web designers need to think more openly when planning the website and programmers need to program differently.
Current state in organizations
Typically, the web substantially precedes organizations. Organizations invest in responsive designs and cellular apps when dealing with their internet websites, yet do not regarding their intra-organizational sites (to my knowledge). The resolution problems therefore remain unsolved regarding these organizational sites. This is probable due to a combination of several components, including the following three:
Firstly, the responsive design requires greater investment of time on behalf of designers. Organizations aren't always interested in this investment, especially if during the setup process the organization doesn’t hold multiple screens or doesn't have the intention/ability to display the website in cellular settings.
Secondly, some might be still unaware or practically unknowledgeable of the matter and designers don't always offer this service when designing intra-organizational websites.
Thirdly, this is a shift in the way programmers and HR works, which is an extremely complex issue.In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of the multiple resolution problems that exist in organization and consider them when planning websites. It's best to invest in responsive design from the start to save the resources invested in adaptations and amends usually required in later stages.