Lately, I've been getting pretty familiar with the whole concept of building the "Responsive Web". There seem to be several schools of thought out there.
Some people approach RWDesign from a 'top-down' perspective. This implies the idea of building your next application to work and adapt to the desktop browser. Then, after applying several client-side tricks (media-queries, %'s, etc.), your site will adapt to smaller screens like tablets and smart phones.
Others adopt a 'bottom-up' approach often referred to as 'mobile-first'. This concept is identical to the 'top-down' approach but only in reverse. You build for mobile first and through a combination of feature detection routines and resolution checks, you can provide a more appropriate experience to the desktop user.
But lately, I've been in discussions where both of these schools of thought are hemmed and hawed over to the point where people feel as though in each case we are short changing the user. "The desktop user deserves more", and "Mobile web needs to be fast!" etc...
I know I've read this before, and I am certain someone way smarter than me came to this conclusion months before I did:
So I Propose:
The solution is not 'design-first'. It's not 'experience-first' (experience == 'mobile' || 'desktop' || 'tablet').
It's content first. I propose that we consider the UI from the 'content-up'. What are the most important points in our content? How can we get them to the user in a direct, effective, and efficient manor? If this content is important, then how do we deliver it across all platforms with same level of poignancy? Does our content require the use of 'responsive' to be delivered?
Here's an example of something I put together recently that attempts to address first, the content, and then the layout. It's a dynamic grid system that (*appears to be*) smart enough to know what kind of page real estate it has, and then position the content appropriately.
Take it for a spin?