Standards.Next — “Mobile and Devices”, Manchester

Saturday 3 March saw our biggest-ever event, organised by Chris Mills of Opera and Richard Eskins of the Department of Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University.

As usual, we combined local talent and speakers from elsewhere in the UK, chosen not because they have big names or huge follower counts on Twitter, but because they're really doing the job, researching and finding solutions.

Our speakers were

  • Garry Byrne – The mobile/devices landscape. Garry manfully soldiered on through a severe cold to bring us a witty and fact-filled description of where we are and how we got here.
  • Patrick H. Lauke – Adapt and respond (adaptive layouts and control mechanisms). Patrick showed us different methodologies for mobile development. He then described how CSS Media Queries help with responsive design, and how the viewport meta tag works. He then talked us through the draft CSS viewport spec (CSS Device Adaptation) and how that allows us to nest viewport definitions inside Media Queries, for the full Inception-like web design experience.
  • Matt Wilcox – Adaptive images. Matt's been working on his clever Adaptive Images hack for a while. He explained why it's good (no hacking source code, easy to set up, no maintenance) and how he hopes that pretty soon it'll be unnecessary.
  • Rachel McCollin – Making CMSes go mobile. In an ideal world, all new web design would be responsive, and so would all old sites and pages you inherit. In the real world, you inherit a site based on a CMS like WordPress and have no budget for refactoring, content audits etc, so you make a separate mobile site hanging off the CMS. There are lots of plugins (90% of which are bad) that allow you to this. Rachel showed us the best of the bunch.
  • Wil Linssen and Sam Quayle – Responsive design: stories from the coalface. Wil and Sam develop gridpak, a Responsive Web Design tool for creating grids by Erskine Design. They discussed responsive grids, showed how to use their tool, and then, live on stage, open-sourced Gridpak by uploading it to Github.

Slides and (hopefully) audio will be available in a few days. Watch this space.

We’d like to thank the Department of Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University for their help in organising and providing the venue, and to the Faculty of Art & Design for covering the always essential tea and coffee supply.

And, of course, huge thanks to all our speakers, all the students who helped, and all the attendees.