things we learned

lessons from working in the design and web development business

“Beyond Media Queries” – Notes from Brad Frost’s Talk At Smashing Conference in Freiburg


Principles of Adaptive Design

“What’s under the Christmas tree in two years? That’s what we’re designing for today.”
Brad Frost


“The things we don’t know are more important than the things we do know. Design for the future.”


  • Embrace diversity as an opportunity
  • The web on mobile devices is not the ‘web light’
  • Give people what they want! Don’t give them stupid error messages or limit access to certain devices
  • Responsive web design is only the tip of the iceberg and there’s much more to it


  • 71% of mobile users expect sites to be as fast as their desktop counterparts and 74% will abandon a site after 5 sec
  • 2min and 46 secs is too long for a site to load ;)
  • Test your mobile sites on MobiTest
  • You can’t design performance in Photoshop – Performance is invisible
  • Good Performance is good design


  • Go mobile first, assume less and build up from there. Progressive enhancement FTW
  • Don’t build for, but start at the lowest common denominator.
  • There is a difference between support and optimisation.
  • Today’s landscape is the boot camp for tomorrows insanity.
  • Get to the meat and give users what they want. And they want to reach your content. Fast.
  • Navigation should be like a good friend. Be there when you need it, but not bother you all the time.
  • In case of large navigation structures, prioritise search and make it visible to users.
  • 79% of smartphone users use their phone while shopping to help with their decisions.
  • About Carousels: Make sure you really need one. Only load what you need when you need it.
  • Treat touch as an enhancement. Include a (carousel) navigation as fallback for less capable phones.
  • Loading social buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) can use up to 19 requests and up to 264Kb.
  • Ask questions: Why, how and what does the user want?
  • When we scroll on mobile we scroll through a single content type.
  • Progressive disclosure saves users from endless scrolling and limits load time. Give it to them when you need it.
  • Include a back to top link for easy and fast navigation.

This is future-friendly.

Holger Bartel

Author: Holger Bartel

Digital Strategy & Design // Front-End Developer // Reg Ex Fanboy // Skateboarding Revisited // Work: // Personal Blog: // Photo Blog: // Twitter @foobartel

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