Responsive and Adaptive Web Design

Adaptive mesh refinement illustration

Should your website be adaptive or responsive in its design? The takeaway from a post by Veronica Raducan on that questions is that while responsive and adaptive aren’t superior to one another, they are different designer tools.

I would disagree somewhat and lean much more to responsive as I see few reasons to use adaptive design. Currently, adaptive is the less common choice.

Responsive designs work by creating a single version of a web page, which then “responds” to the resolution and screen size of the visitor’s device and rearranges elements of the page so they comfortably fit the dimensions of the device.

Adaptive web design, on the other hand, requires the creation of multiple versions of a web page, usually desktop, mobile or tablet. Once the site identifies the visitors’ type of device, it then displays the version optimized for it.

Responsive has wider support and adoption, and is certainly less work for the web designer.

Responsive is also more flexible in that there are many existing screen resolutions used across all devices, and new ones are always appearing as screens on smartphones and monitors continue to evolve.

So, why would anyone choose adaptive?

One reason is if you want to target certain users or devices. If you are building a site for iPhone users, a responsive design will adapt the best it can, but you could design specifically for the iPhone X at 2436 X 1125 pixels.

Also, an eCommerce site may use adaptive design because they rely heavily on conversion optimization and apparently responsive designs aren’t as well suited for this because what works on Android, might not work on an iPhone and what works on Macs may differ on PCs.

Who Is Abandoning Facebook?

access application browser connection

Photo by Pixabay on


  • A new survey of more than 3,400 U.S. Facebook users finds that 44 percent of users ages 18 to 29 have deleted the app from their phones in the past year.
  • Overall, 26 percent have deleted the app.
  • 42 percent have taken a break of several weeks or more.

But what the survey does not measure may be just as significant.

  1. How many of those who left have switched to Facebook’s Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger as their preferred communication channel?  All of those Facebook-owned alternatives are popular, especially outside the U.S.
  2. How many who left decided to come back to Facebook after some time off?  Facebook makes it a bit difficult to just delete an account Sort of like trying to drop your cable provider or a credit card.

Source: Facebook exodus…

Retiring Fonts


Did you know that a font can retire? Adobe retired a group of fonts from their subscription library recently.

Font retirement may happen for a variety of reasons, but is typically at the request of the foundry, when a typeface is no longer available for licensing and distribution. The majority of font retirements are because the font family has been updated with significant changes that necessitate replacing it with an entirely new family. For example, Alverata PE from TypeTogether was overhauled, retired, and replaced by the family Alverata.

If a site is already using a retired font, it’ll continue to display, but once you change the font, you can’t go back to using the retired font.

Here’s a list of the retired ones:
Chemist Rough
Couture Sans
Fanwood Text
Intruder Alert
League Script No 1
Luxi Sans
Luxi Serif
New Cicle
Simply Mono
Vera Sans

More at

Social Media 2020

four people using smartphones behind glass wall

Photo by on

Social media in general had a tough year in 2018. Criticisms of fake news, private data being sold and made public by hackers and other issues gave it a bad reputation in the general public. Even the media that uses, perhaps even relies on, social media was critical. But social media is not going away.

Hootsuite made some predictions for 2020 social media (jumping right over this year)  that are pretty safe bets to make. For example, based on their annual global study of internet, social, and mobile adoption across 239 countries, social media usage will continue to grow.  I agree.

In 2017, one million new people joined social networks every day. Nearly a quarter of a billion new users came online for the first time in 2017. Where is the fastest growth? No surprise that it is places like Africa. Five years ago it would have been the emerging Chinese market, but that country has been pretty much conquered. Though Google, Facebook and others would still like a bigger piece of the share.)

Product discovery becomes more visual and social, according to GlobalWebIndex, because about half of internet users follow brands they like or brands they are thinking of buying something from on social media.

Again, the fast-growth markets are in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. In  the Philippines, Kenya and Morocco, social media beats the big search engines as a way to research purchasing and so it is a good bet that by 2020 search’s grip on product research will be even less. I have to believe that search engine companies are looking hard at that trend. And we know that Google never got social right. We saw the end of Google+ in 2018.

Have you done searches in the past year using voice via Siri, Alexa et al? Visual and voice search are also growing and Baidu expects half of searches by 2020 are going to be through images or speech by 2020. Baidu has the second largest search engine in the world but (like the leader’s company) this Chinese multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence, is also involved in lots of other tech, such as autonomous vehicles.

Pinterest – which I find myself using less and less – has Lens which uses machine learning for brand and product discovery and could really help broaden their reach.

On the commercial user side of things, I don’t think we have really seen much innovation in areas like customer service and support using messaging apps and chatbots. That may be a 2020 trend.

Some would say that social video is at a saturation point. I agree. So if it is to grow there needs to be some evolution. We know that watching videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram is commonplace. How much of your time doing that is for social or pleasure and how much is coming from commercial and promotion?  I suspect the latter uses will increase. I read that for some late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live video replay on YouTube or their own sites now accounts for 20% or more of their advertising income. It’s no wonder that Jimmy Fallon urges you after every clip to subscribe to their channel.

With all this growth, there are still trends that point to possible declines. The video saturation may not cause evolution but instead just mean that people are tired of all this video hitting them and stop watching.

Privacy is a huge concern and people are sharing less personal information on major networks. I disconnected many social services from others. I don’t share my contacts as readily. I don’t use Google or facebook or Twitter to sign into other services if I can help it. Companies know this. facebook has disallowed me from automatically sharing posts from other networks on my profile.

I keep hearing that Gen Y and Z will drive increased adoption of technology like VR and AR. But that is not what I see in my students that fall into these generational groups. Like myself, they just don’t see compelling reasons to own and use expensive glasses/goggles or add apps yet.

I think it is a given that AI and mobile will continue to grow and slip into our daily lives in many almost unseen ways.

You can read Hootsuite’s report on Digital in 2018 and make your own plans to join (or rebel against) the rise of social in the year ahead.

Interaction Design IxD


There are new job titles emerging in digital design every year. Or so it seems.  UX design deals with how a user feels about an application. UI design is the what, where and how elements work on the apps, Information Architecture is how an application is organized.

Interaction Design is the newest abbreviation. ID or IxD is how the user and application act and react to each other. Interaction design defines the relationship between people and the product they use, from computers to mobile apps and beyond.  In theory and definition, this seems to me to be the most important job.

One mistake some designers make is a tendency to focus on how things look, when the focus should equally be on how things work.

IxD is the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services. It is often associated with digital design, but it is also useful when creating a physical product and considering how a user might interact with it.

Some crossovers of interaction design include human–computer interaction, and software development.

It’s not that interaction designers don’t consider form, but they are also concerned  with analyzing how things are, how they could be, and satisfying the majority of users.

If you have never heard of IxD, don’t feel bad. The design fields are changing very fast right now. A future post might have to look at another job that I only discovered this month: chief experience officer (CXO). A CXO is an executive responsible for the overall user experience (UX) of an organization’s products and services.

Not everyone in the field likes this flourishing of new abbreviations. I saw an article “Why UX, UI, CX, IA, IxD, and Other Sorts of Design Are Dumb” which opines that we should “stop setting up definitions for overkill terminology and start doing the job.”

Still confused? Take a look at this short explanation of UX vs UI vs IA vs IxD.

Designing For 2019

On one of my demo sites that I use with clients, I do a post each month on what is happening in web design trends. It is hard to keep up as the web evolves. Certainly websites from back in 1989 look VERY different (thankfully!) from today’s sites. The new year always brings predictions of new directions for web design. Some of those predicted trends end up being fads and lasting very briefly.

Here is a look at a few predictions for web design trends for 2019. Which ones will stick?

The blog at comes from this Iowa-based digital company that works with businesses on web design, development and marketing.

Their predictions have a lot of color, animation and movement.  I have to say that some of this doesn’t work for me. It is overwhelming. One trend is the popularity of long web pages and seemingly “endless” scrolling. They point to the site for which I think has too much going on.

color branding by Camden Town Brewery

Color branding is another trend they list. Of course, using colors as prt of your branding is hardly new. It’s about as old as branding had colors available after we got past black and white newspapers, magazines, color TVs and monitors and computer printers. The example above uses multiple colors and animated backgrounds to show the colors coordinated to the beer labels – Belgian White having a yellow label, etc.

Blue Compass’ own UX testing found that rather than horizontal lines, using diagonal line design is not only visually intriguing, but it creates a directional purpose for the user’s eyes to follow down the page or to point to a call-to-action. The example below from TaxiNet illustrates this trend.

The blog at has its own list of trends for 2019. One that I agree on is breaking the grid. That grid is the symmetrical, graph paper kind of balance and design that came from engineering. We like its harmony. It is logical. But it can be boring and restrictive.

Broken grid layouts actually don’t use a grid, or if they do it is to be able to overlap and see where you are breaking the lines. Images, backgrounds and text elements can seem to drift into and across the gutters that we are used to having form the boundaries. This trend is great for people who never liked to color within the lines.

A broken grid on

Not animated but still striking is the use of big, bold lines that can draw attention to a point or a complementary image. With thick lines, the color(s) and intersection points pull the user’s attention – sometimes to and sometimes away from the lines creating a focal point.

Big, bold, thick lines are central to this Mountain Dew and the NBA campaign.