Back in December of 2011 I wrote (which is almost impossible for me to believe);
“[I]n searching for alternative methods of access — which essentially means [the] ways [in which] I input my intentions into a computer, and I’ve also begun to experiment with a trackpad, too — I discovered the keyboard is my ideal method of access. I had to change a few [Operating System] OS specific key commands, for usability’s sake, but using the keyboard to control a computer cut way down on the time I used to fumble with the mouse.”
Habit is powerful thing. I’ve spent virtually the entire time on my computer “fumbling” around with various input devices. Specialty mice (specifically programmable mice), not so special mice (the Apple hockey puck comes to mind), trackballs (I hated using a trackball), Wacom tablets and most recently an Apple Track Pad. All had their pro’s but each had a lot of con’s. Mainly in terms of my ability to use them. More often than not, the trackball especially, they were just awkward for me to use in any productive fashion.
The irony of it all is the most productive means of access was sitting right there in front of my face, the whole time. The keyboard. And as time lapsed I was gravitating my use increasingly away from those various input devices I was trying to use to the keyboard without realizing it. Not because it was more natural feeling, rather it was just easier for me. Read “The Applicability of Keyboard Access” in its entirety
Frankly between the two of us, while I do see the merits in designing a mobile website first — in terms of a website’s information architecture as well as the aesthetic appeal, especially for the sake of its usability and appearance on a small screen — I’m not sold yet on whether a mobile site has to be designed first. That said, it does need to be designed at the same time. Semantics, eh? I’m hilarious, I know. But thanks for thinking it.
So what’s this “mobile first with a twist” schtick? Basically it’s a bunch of borrowed idea’s from Ethan Marcotte’s amazing little book, Responsive Web Design, Luke Wroblewski’s “equally” little book, Mobile First, (by the way, me calling each author’s book “little” isn’t a slight in the least, both book’s strength lie in their size, and that’s the point) and something I’m sure Harry Roberts wrote a little while ago but I can’t relocate now. About designing for less capable browsers first then adding on top of that base for more capable browsers — or specifically how such an approach plays with Internet Explorer 8 and below.
Anyway the “mobile first with a twist” approach is quite simply a matter of designing a website for mobile, meaning for small screens (not just visually but functionally too), then tweak it larger, with the least amount of effort and the most basic — yet responsive — CSS possible. This as your starting point. A base from which to build. The thinking is this is what a visitor will see and use who is using a less capable web browser. Read “Mobile first with a twist” in its entirety
Inclusivity isn’t anything easy to come by. I’m well aware of the efforts involved. In fact, I feel completely justified in declaring, more than most. And not in the capacity that I assume most might expect — there’s that ugly word “assume” again. Rather I’m coming at inclusion from the other side. Not having to accommodate, but needing to be accommodated.
I needed to be more like the mainstream enough to participate in… well… the mainstream. Meaning I had to adapt the way I behaved in order to make somewhat productive use out of a computer, generally, but the internet, specifically. (Which may sound vague at this point, granted, but Ill be addressing this in much more detail very soon in upcoming blog posts. Please bear with me.)
Don’t get me wrong, there was, and still is, a certain amount of technology needed to be able to interact with the internet — as there most obviously is with any individual. And the onus wasn’t entirely on me. What I’m saying is behavior and technology are never a mutually exclusive means to any end. Neither is to blame. They both are. It’s a fact we need to come to terms with and accept before “we” attempt to improve anything. Nothing is, or ever will be, perfect. Read “A reason for being” in its entirety