The web moves on at a rather astounding pace for such a relatively young industry. This is inherent in our industry as it was borne out of a still rapidly evolving technology industry. In our little corner of the technology sector, we see constant updates to browsers, new elements and properties being added to HMTL and CSS specifications, and much, much more besides.
As a result, our methods and process have to evolve just as fast to keep up with current trends and new developments. But how do we keep our processes up to date? I don't think there's another industry out there that has to "wing it" as much as we have to when designing and developing in this "responsive" era of the web.
Almost every day, I come across a new problem to do with web development which needs solving, and yes, some people out there may have already done it, and shared their thoughts so that we are all able to learn, but there are times when you can find no distinct answers and this is where we get creative.
An issue that seems to be popping up on numerous blogs and at a number of conferences at the moment is that of our processes. How do we adapt our workflow to these new challenges we face with responsive design?
And from this, so many other questions arise; How do we begin planning a project to be viewed in any size viewport? How do we get clients to sign off on our ideas? What do we produce as deliverables? There are so many other questions, and these are all before we even get to building anything in HTML.
Which brings me to prototyping.
I love prototyping. It provides the client with a deliverable they can interact with, and which can demonstrate the concepts of responsive design far more clearly than we can by simply verbalising or documenting. But rather than seeing this as a new evolution in parts of the design process, I have come across a number of articles on the web that this was "the death of wireframes".
Now we have the capabilities to design in the browser. This was a good enough reason to announce the demise of the use of Photoshop in web projects.
Finally, at long last, the argument that all designers must be able to code can be put to bed, no longer do we need paper, pencils, or Photoshop!
Of course, I'm being over-the-top there, but you get my point.
Just because a new method, approach or process comes along, and is touted as the next big thing, it does not make the tools you've used over the years obsolete in one swift, crushing blow. This hasn't happened with software.
Internet Explorer 10 is out in the wild, and like it or not, there are still people who (don't necessarily choose to) use IE6. Windows 8 is available, and I know people who happily use Windows XP as it works for them. And it's that few words of that sentence that really strikes home with me. "It works for them".
Prototyping is not a replacement for wire-framing. The ability to design in the browser does not eliminate the need for Photoshop in the design process. The processes we have developed over the years, and the new methods we are creating and discovering now will always be in flux, that is inherent with the nature of the web.
Our old processes don't have to die as a new, seemingly revolutionary concept takes a hold of the web industry by the throat, screaming "USE ME! I'M AWESOME!".
We evolve and adapt out workflows to incorporate the new ideas, without destroying that which we trust and has delivered for us in the past. Please stop trying to kill off those things that have been so good to us with the 'new messiahs' of web design and development.
Let's have them all snuggle up, let them find their rightful places in our workflow, and we can crack on making amazing things for the web.