The Shackadelic site has been a great project to work on & I feel I’ve learnt so much – particularly from a responsive perspective. I’d definately work from a “mobile first” approach next time though. I think it is easy to get everything looking great for desktop, but not so easy for mobile – some things just wouldn’t work. The mobile-first approach will help focus and prioritise. There simply is not room in mobile for unnessary elements. This is stated in Ben Frain’s excellent book, “Implementing Responsive Design” (pg 160).
Having been a designer for a number of years I’d also have to say that with responsive design, design elements need to be “chunks” or “cards” of data that are self-containing. I realised this fairly quickly in the fluid design process. These “chunks” need to stack, adapt & move around the screen and all fit and line up on different screen sizes. There is also is not much room for “white space” or elegant, gridded layouts – these simply wouldn’t work from a responsive design perspective, like they would in print, for example.
I don’t think you can ever get everything perfect in web design (for HTML anyway). There is still an incredible lack of agreed standards and best practices. Everydody with a computer has an opinion & a lot of content online isn’t true, doesn’t work or very quickly “goes out of date”. My slider (SlidesJS) is an example of this – I will have to spend some time over the next few weeks trying to find an alternative as there are simply too many problems with it on mobile and tablet. This said, there is also an incredible amount of positive, fantastic material available, written by very knowledgable people.
Surprisingly, WordPress has been an eye opener for me. I’ve always had a (negative) opinion on it but never really got into it. I hated it at first because at least with my own designs I knew what was going on. Slowly but surely though, I started installing themes, trying sliders, plugins and editing a themes css – without really realising it. Going forward, I’m going to look more into develop sites with a WordPress backend. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
My feeling is that with HTML web design we are continually trying to design for a moving target with many, many variables. I remain positive for the future, however, as in the greater scheme of things, this is still early days for the web.