We’ve been working hard for the last three months on a new WordPress framework for responsive sites and we recently switched Never Ending Voyage over to it. If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, click through and take a look.
What Is Responsive Design?
Responsive web design is a new way of thinking about designing for the web that is much more user-focused in that the site adapts itself to your device’s dimensions rather than you having to adapt to the site’s dimensions.
Web Design inherited much of its thinking from print design. Many of the first web designers came from a print background and were used to thinking in terms of fixed page widths, so since the days of HTML tables, we’ve been using fixed pixel sizes and absolute positioning to layout sites.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t take into account the huge variety of devices and screen sizes that the world is now using. It used to be that you could create a site that was 960px wide and be fairly confident that 90% of your audience could view it without seeing the dreaded horizontal scrollbars or having content hidden offscreen.
But with the explosion of smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and ultrabooks, this is no longer the case. For example, our Analytics shows that this site is being viewed on over 400(!) different screen sizes, ranging from 320px wide smartphones to widescreen monitors at a massive 3940px across (this fact also puts another nail in the coffin of the persistent and mythological ‘fold’ in web design, another hangover from print tradition).
Enter Responsive Design. Responsive design uses percentage widths to adapt to screen sizes and CSS3 Media Queries to serve up different styles to different screen resolutions. This makes it much more future proof and device agnostic than previous attempts at delivering mobile content.
Take A Look
If you’re on a smartphone, you should be seeing the results of this already. If you’re on a desktop, you can see how our content now adapts to your screen by grabbing the right hand side of your browser and sliding it to the left to a mobile-sized width. Traditionally, content would be hidden as you decreased the width of your browser but with Responsive Design it now resizes and moves itself around to make the best use of the available space.
What This Means For You
Hopefully the benefits to you will be obvious. We deeply appreciate every visitor we get and we want to make sure that we’re giving you the highest quality site we can. Part of this is adapting to the ways that your browsing habits may be changing.
These changes allow us to serve larger, more detailed photos. If you’re on a desktop, you can visit our latest Photo of the Week or Photo Essay to see the difference this can make (these posts also use WordPress’ Post Formats to allow us to format different posts in more appropriate ways to the content being displayed).
This new framework also has a bunch of important features baked in like social media and a new photo gallery which has reduced the need for third party plugins. This means you spend less time waiting for our site to load and more time enjoying Erin’s pictures!
More New Features
We have also updated and added a few new features to the site:
- Our Map has been updated so you can now follow our journey over the past two years.
- We have added a Press page gathering together all of the websites we have been featured on, our interviews, and our guest posts on other sites.
- You can get details about our new ebook South America Highlights on our Free Ebook page.
We’ve worked hard at trying to make this site as well-designed and user-friendly as possible but, as with anything this big and complicated, there may be things we missed. If you find something that you don’t think works like it should, we’d be grateful if you could let us know.
It would be super helpful if you could include the browser you’re using (e.g. Mobile Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) and the Operating System you’re on (e.g. Android, Windows XP, Mac OS X Lion, etc.).
Thanks and we hope you enjoy Never Ending Voyage version 2.0!
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