Pushing Pixels to Cranking Code

HighEdWeb 2012

Abstract

The web browser as a design medium is truly coming into its own. For years web designers have created designs in fixed widths, much like our paper-bound cousins. Wonderful methods like the 960 grid system have helped refine designs and communicate with developers. The rampant use of mobile devices, especially amongst our primary audience, no longer allows a common window width to have as a standard. Our medium is now an unpredictable behemoth with screen sizes ranging from phones to HDTVs and beyond. Designers must begin modifying their work methods and incorporating newer tools into the design process.

At Notre Dame, Photoshop has increasingly become a single tool, as opposed to the primary, in the process of creating a web design. For years our team has had a silo approach of design and development: a designer is entrenched in Photoshop creating a web design, then the PSD is given to a developer to cut into a website. However, as we have furthered our reach into Responsive Web Design the line between designer and developer is blurring. It is the designer who needs to take on the most and encroach into what is perceived as the developer’s territory. Let’s explore how designers need to evolve the design process in order to create effective websites that take full advantage of what our canvas has to offer.