The pain and gain of responsive design

The Responsive Design session at the Media Port SoLoMo was crowded Tuesday afternoon, a good indicator of how important the topic has become for news publishers.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | October 8, 2013

After a general introduction to the German situation by moderator Lukas Kircher, founder and owner of KircherBurkhardt, a company specialised in editorial design and concepts, Brona Kernan, Chief Information Officer of the Irish Times Group, took the stage.

The Irish Times was the first major publishing house in the country to implement fully responsive design on all platforms, from smartphones to tablets and PCs. After extensive user experience testing and design phases, the project team managed to improve legibility and readability, and ultimately the browsing experience for online users, through the use of larger fonts, simplicity of page layout and better navigation.

But the process was not painless, Kernan said. “We made the big mistake of not starting with the mobile version.” The Irish Times began with the desktop and ran into trouble when trying to scale down for the tablet and mobile versions. She advises to start with the simplest layout – single-column for smartphones – and then scale up to the more complex versions.

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