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The post-PC era: where does Web Design go from here? Cards

by  David Dwyer on  29/10/2013    3195 Reads

The simple and humble card approach can help develop sites that work

In web design, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Take ‘cards’ for example. This simple concept has already revolutionised how we design websites for mobile devices. It’s also starting to have an effect on how we create desktop sites.
 
‘Cards’ in web design are much like cards in everyday life: flexible ways to convey small nuggets of information. Think birthday cards, Post-it notes and recipe cards. Short and sweet, they tell you what you need to know, or say what you need to say. 
 
Put lots of individual recipe cards together and you have a cookbook. The same principle applies to cards in web design. Put lots of cards together and you have a website. But instead of listing all the ingredients for your family meals, a web card each contains an important component of a website: contact details, marketing banner images, product descriptions and so on.
 
I’ve written in earlier blogs about the challenge of designing websites for mobile devices. And with experts predicting that the majority of online traffic will come from tablets and smartphones next year, we web designers have had to up our game. 
 
Small screens and slow downloads put pressure on us to keep to the basics. Images and links to other pages need to be kept to a minimum. The ‘card’ approach solves the problem. It breaks the necessary information (or images) down into individual ‘cards’ that can be reassembled into a webpage by a mobile device’s browser. The cards automatically sort themselves out into the best layout for the device’s screen size and orientation. The revolutionary Google Glass uses the card approach to project the right bits on information onto the lens. 
 
As it happens, ‘cards’ are quite a useful way to arrange information on desktop sites too. The fact that mobile-friendly website design is now influencing desktop design says a lot about where the future is heading. The challenge for us designers is now to find the best way to lay mobile-specific cards out on a bigger screen, rather than trying to shoehorn a desktop site onto a mobile or tablet.
 
Web communication specialists Intercom Inc. urge business owners to remember that “mobile devices are the heart and soul of the future of your business, no matter who you are and what you do.”  more info

By taking on board the latest techniques in web design, Inspire has made sure that designing effective and affordable mobile-friendly websites is at the heart of soul of ours too.
 
David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society.
Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services, Mobile Websites, Responsive Web Design, The Evolving Web
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