Breaking the grid
It’s clear that responsive design has technical requirements that have steered its course – but can this be pushed further?
I believe that it can, by once again working to a technology’s strengths but in more innovative way.
Take a look at this example site, created by Burger King as part of a joint venture pitch with McDonalds:
Its visuals style is very consumer-led, almost as if it’s an advertisement or poster. But what’s interesting as you scroll down through the site is how the designer has tried to break the conventional grid of a website at every opportunity – from realistic textures, through to softer, hand-crafted boundaries between the content.
And here’s the real surprise: It’s a fully responsive design!
With clever use of graphics, textures and coding, the designers and coders built something that looks like a custom, skeuomorphic, visually rich experience, but still within the rules and requirements of a responsive framework.
And I believe that’s the direction we need to move as we head into 2016 – taking what we’ve learned from our experience with responsive design and trying to ‘break the grid’ with every trick in the book we can.
And it’s not just breaking the grid – I think there are a few other areas that will be huge influencers in upcoming design…
A third dimension
Google’s Material Design guide, which lays out a toolkit of visual design for its many applications, has a ‘third dimension’ at its core. By using design and technology, they see that though a screen needs to graphically look flat, it doesn’t need to act flat. Interactions and animations can be employed to bring content closer and further away from the user, creating a whole new experience.
This rise of 3D will also play into the growth of Virtual and Augmented Reality. On top of the gaming industry, engineers and visionaries are exploring more and more uses of an interactive 3D space for creative applications – in very real terms, this could lead to sites requiring to become Three Dimensionally Responsive in the not to distant future.
Bringing graphics to life
Animation, video, clever interaction. These are all tools that we should now be including wherever we can. We live in a visually rich, content on demand world – if you want to grab attention you need to do two things: be smart and be pretty. By this I mean that we need to address the technicalities and be sure things work as cleanly and efficiently as they can, be we also need to catch the eye of passers-by as they glance fleetingly across our work. Full-screen, immersive video, animated icons and graphics triggered in smart ways to catch attention (eg. scrolling midway down a page) are already popular – but in conjunction with ‘breaking the grid’ I believe it will complement the experiences we need to achieve.