Inside the Rise of Responsive Web Design: An Interview with its founder, Ethan Marcotte #PODCAST

January 27, 2016 Peter Baron

Measuring 3,000 private school websites in our report, Private School Digital Insights (August 2014), uncovered lots of interesting statistics about website navigation and design.

But one stat, in particular, answered some questions that I think many of us were curious about:

With the rise of mobile devices, how are private school websites adapting? More specifically, are they utilizing responsive web design (RWD)?

(Wondering about the mechanics behind RWD? Check out this post.)

Our research revealed that 22% of private schools sites (August 2014) utilized responsive web design — meaning their designs responded to whatever device was accessing it — mobile, tablet or desktop.

We took another look at this group in early 2015 and saw a 9% jump to 31%. Here we are a year later, and I think it’s fair to assume another significant leap in RWD adoption.

Here’s the takeaway — schools understand that they need to display their content in the best possible way across all devices, both in front of and behind the password.

Just imagine a parent visiting the admission section of a non-RWD site via their phone? What kind of an impression does that leave?

But have you ever wondered about the origins of responsive design and how it became a standard in such a short time? Who had the foresight to see the need for a better, more flexible way to display web content across the ever increasing range of devices?

Joining me to talk about the birth and rise of responsive design is the man who founded the concept, Ethan Marcotte. Ethan is a designer, developer, author, and podcast host in Boston, MA, who unveiled the idea of responsive web design in a blog post on a list apart in May 2010.

From that simple article, a more flexible approach to design has been adopted by a huge range of sites including the Boston Globe, Time Magazine, CNN, Starbucks, and of course 31% of all private school sites! His approach has redefined the way we all interact with websites today.

For a full breakdown of what we covered, make sure to check out the episode notes below.

You have a few listening options. Download the episode, listen to the podcast below or subscribe to our channel on iTunes!

If you’re a fan of the podcast, please do us a favor and rate and review the show on iTunes. Your support is very much appreciated.

Episode notes:

  • So let’s get into a time machine and head back to 2010. Ethan talks about the days, weeks, months leading up to his blog post for a list apart. What was going through his head at that time? How & why did his thinking about web design land on the concept of responsive?
  • Ethan introduced the approach, but lots of concepts get introduced every day. Hear how RWD emerged from an idea to design standard.
  • Learn how has responsive web design matured from 2010-2016.
  • “What does it feel like to know that you’ve changed the way people all over the world access websites?” A big question, hear his answer.
  • Let’s get tactical, according to Pew, 64% of Americans own a smartphone, plus the usage stats are interesting.  Knowing this, there’s a growing movement to design mobile first.  Ethan shares his take.
  • In his new book (http://abookapart.com/products/responsive-design-patterns-principles), Ethan talk about the future of RWD — hear his take on what the future holds for RWD.
  • Let’s get prescriptive. For someone about to jump into the process of creating a new site design to replace a non-RWD site, Ethan offers advice.

Previous Article
Generate More Leads & Enrolled Students through the Art of the Content Offer #PODCAST
Generate More Leads & Enrolled Students through the Art of the Content Offer #PODCAST

What if I told you that packaging existing expertise and materials into a compelling, gated content offer c...

View More
A Podcast Toolkit for 2016: 6 Episodes That Will Elevate Your School’s Marketing
A Podcast Toolkit for 2016: 6 Episodes That Will Elevate Your School’s Marketing

9.23.3806. It’s not some far-flung, futuristic date. Nope, it’s the main set of vitals for our Get Connecte...

Subscribe to our GET CONNECTED podcast series on iTunes!

SUBSCRIBE