First Coding Experience & Responsive Design

Responsive web design:

My current employer, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), is completing their two-year “responsive redesign project” of our external website. It wasn’t until 2015 that our leadership understood the important of UX design and the increasing use of smartphones as our primary web browser. Through the first reading, it explained how we need to consider not only the minimizing of a website on a computer screen, but also consider different size phone screens, tablets, etc. The width of the screen can alter the layout of the page, including the number of columns on a page, images and the content on the page. W3C created a list of media queries to help web developers when creating responsive designs.

Important concepts found throughout the readings:

  • Mobile browsers are the present and future. Web sites should be flexible enough to be able to adapt to new technology.
  • Media query: allows web developers to target certain device classes and “inspect the physical characteristics of the device rendering our work.” (from Responsive Web Design)
  • Fluid Grids
  • Flexible images
  • Viewport Meta Tag: <metaname=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″> (from w3schools) tells the web browser how to control/scale a webpage’s dimensions based on the scale
  • Design for a mobile application first.

Experience with coding homepage prototype:

If we are being honest, coding the homepage prototype took longer than anticipated and I have a new-found appreciation for web developers and complex websites. I can’t imagine the time and planning that would need to go into creating a webpage that is both responsive and complex. While coding for the homepage, which I created for a food blog, I ran into trouble translating some of what we learned through the Codecademy lessons to the assignment. I struggled most with the lack of being able to see in real time the effect that one small piece of code was having on my site and went into panic-mode when two lines of CSS code altered the entire feel of the site. My biggest struggle was finding ways to create exceptions to rules that I had created within the CSS code early on that affected the layout of the page once I began adding content. I couldn’t find an easy way to create rule exceptions within the code and instead found roundabout ways to add in additional lists. How can we create rule exceptions?

Secondly, what I struggled with this week was adding in an image. I spent close to two hours trying to link an image I had on my desktop to the code and have it display correctly. Eventually, I decided to choose different pictures that were already uploaded to my Facebook page and used those URLs instead. Despite searching endlessly on Google for an answer to my question, I still am unable to link an image that is on my desktop to the HTML. Does anyone have any experience or advice for how I may be able to do this?

Finally, uploading to GitHub was no easy feat. I had created a repository using the desktop app, but it wasn’t properly uploading the files I had created using Sublime. Through Google, this article and the help of my fellow classmates (thanks, Jaclyn!), I was able to upload the files successfully. The article has been bookmarked for future use.

Looking forward to creating a responsive design and using other coding languages, I’m nervous, but excited to see what I can create!

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