Responsive Design 2.0
As creators, it's our responsibility to keep up with the demands of users and build the best possible experience for them. As time goes on, users' expectations rise as they see what is possible with current technology.
It only takes one innovator with one great experience to show what is possible and to change our users' expectations forever.
Consider dark mode! Just five years ago it was somewhat of a rare feature. But now, users expect the option from almost every website they use.
That's what makes building a product so difficult: our users' needs are always changing. It is our job as creators to respond to our user's needs and provide the best experience for them. And like I said before—if we don't, our competition will. And users will always go where the best experience is.
It you go back to 2010, you'll see the emergence of Responsive Web Design; the process "that makes web pages render well on a variety of devices". While the title is referring to a web page that responds to different viewport sizes, I like to think that term has another meaning: the ability of a web page to respond to users' needs.
In 2021, we're entering a new stage of user's needs and expectations—Responsive Design 2.0. Today, users expect a certain amount of theming abilities and accessibility features. Take a look at this Tweet below covering the new WhiteHouse.gov:
This is becoming standard across all websites and applications. Designers and developers have to adapt their process of building new products to account for this new demand. And if they don't, your company will lose users, and subsequently lose value.
So, how can developers and designers meet this new need of theming, accessibility, and customization? Think about it from the very start. Prepare your code to handle these types of features. Focus on creating a reusable design system from the very start, and consider how design tokens might power the components to create beautiful experiences like this.
Don't put it off either. The longer you wait to face this challenge, the harder it'll be to fix later on. And the longer you take, the more time you give your competition to eclipse your functionality.
So there you have it. Looking for something new to learn and master? Responsive Design 2.0: themes, accessibility, and customization. Let the user specify their preferences and respond to their needs.