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I am associated with a project and the design lead is attempting to take an existing desktop site and design the responsive breakpoints.

The one issue I ran across is that it seems that the screen to screen flow has been altered in some of the workflows. So I asked the question if that means we were creating a mobile only site vs a responsive site that just adapts to the viewport of whatever device you are using.

Does anyone have any experience with this or information regarding this topic? I strongly feel that the approach of altering the screen to screen flow is not responsive design.

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Could you add more detail (perhaps at the technical level) about what you're inferring with "screen to screen flow?" That may help with some better answers. Adapting desktop sites to responsive breakpoints is generally a bad idea, though. –  Nic Mar 14 at 23:31

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The main point of responsive is

  1. your site adapts to a variety of devices, based on screen size (specifically, width 90% of the time).

Responsive is better than dedicated mobile (imo) because

  1. It requires less maintanence, in that you only have to worry about "one" website.
  2. It gives the feel of the desktop version instead of a watered down "mobile optimized" version.

The drawbacks of course would include

  1. Higher load times, as desktop versions are more resource (read:media) intensive
  2. Additional tweaking may be required, specifically via JS, to make it seamless on mobile.

As far as "altering the screen to screen flow", I'm not quite sure what you mean here. What I do is make sure that it works on ANY screen width 240-1920, which I believe is the entire point of responsive.

I build the desktop version, then @media screen away to make sure it looks good at 1024, 960, 800, 680, 460, 320, 240, and sometimes even lower/higher. 1600 is a popular width for laptops, but I usually just cap the actual content at say 1200 width and let the colors fill all the way to the edge.

The point is, with mobile, less is often more. Responsive is about making it "less", so that you can give your users "more" [what they're looking for, without the hassle].

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When I said screen-to-screen flow I mean: On the desktop version you have a screen which is a list of people. You click on a person to go to a screen to view their details. There is a menu on this screen that lets you switch the view of that persons info (e.g. account info, profile info, their tasks, documents). Similar to tabs. On the non desktop experience you tap the person and you go to a screen that is just the view switcher menu and from there you tap an option and are taken to another screen that shows you whatever you tapped on. To me this is not responsive design. –  IczerX01 Mar 17 at 14:45
    
Without an example this would have been impossible to extrapolate.. but no, that doesn't sound "responsive", it sounds like an extra step. There should be a way to eliminate this step, unless it is truly useful (i.e., there are many other legitimate options they may want by clicking the person). User experience is more important than strict adherence to responsive, or any "rule" for that matter. –  kcdwayne Mar 18 at 2:09

By screen-to-screen flow I take it that you mean the process of getting from one state to another.

People interact with different form-factors in different ways (mouse vs. touchpad vs. touchscreen), and the screen size is no exception. This menu won't work on a mobile phone:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Do you use an email client on your phone? The compose experience is dramatically different on your mobile and desktop.

If you're designing something that is a web page rather than web app, the differences in experience can all be achieved via CSS and JS.

Please let me know if that answers your question.

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