The Responsive Web: Book Review

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Responsive Design for WordPress

The Responsive Web by Matthew Carver is about the technique of designing websites that scale for various browsers – Responsive Web Design or just Responsive Design. Matthew Carver explains everything about this topic from the very beginning. This makes it very easy to get in touch with the topic even for readers who have never heard about it before. Furthermore he put many graphics in the content. Almost everything is visualized so it is even easier to get the points. There are also many code examples, basically HTML, CSS and JavaScript. So in case you are not the very best programmer you can take the examples from the book and use them for your website project. Especially the JavaScript examples helped me a lot for my projects. But now let me give you a more detailed impression about the 171 pages Matthew Carver wrote down in this book.

The Responsive Web basically covers these 5 topics:

  • Responsive design concepts
  • CSS preprocessing
  • Rapid prototyping techniques
  • Fluid typography
  • Future-proof-designs

The content is divided into 9 chapters. Every chapter has a short summary section in which Matthew Carver sums up all the important information of the chapter. There is also a section called Discussion points which will help you to review the content you just read. Those two specials really helped me a lot while reading the book. I will now cover them one by one so you can get a deeper insight into the book. I hope this will help you decide whether this book can help you or not.

  • Learning to work responsively
    The first chapter takes you in the world of Responsive Web Design. Matthew Carver explains the main points of Responsive Design and so you can get a detailed overview. Furthermore he explains how to create a first basic responsive website. So after you read this chapter you are already able to design your first responsive website.
  • Design for mobile first
    The second chapter covers the important technique Mobile First. You will get to know why you should design websites and web applications with this technique, which basically means that you should design for mobile screens first. The author shows you how to design headers for small screens and also gives you a deep insight into important information of the design of touch interfaces.
  • Using style tiles to communicate design
    This chapter mostly is about style guidelines. The importance of a clear style guide is discussed so you can understand why it is so important to use a style guide for your project. The next thing that is covered in this chapter is style tiles. After you read the chapter you will be able to build your own style tiles. It helped me to rethink the way I designed websites before.
  • Response user experience design patterns
    The fourth chapter is filled with CSS examples that will help you build your own design patterns. Design patterns are very useful, once created you can use them over and over again. Matthew Carver gives you some examples of responsive navigation designs that you can directly use for your website. Furthermore it is explained how you can use the whole space of your website in the most efficient way.
  • Responsive layouts
    In this chapter you will learn the core fundamentals of building responsive designs. You will learn the basics of percentages to create a fluid layout and furthermore you will get to know the difference between fluid and pixel-based layouts. Another point that is covered in this chapter is fluid grid systems. You possibly already know one of those grid systems from Bootstrap.
  • Adding content modules and typography
    You will learn how to add a content module to your layout. The content is an important factor that you should not forget when designing a website.
  • Adding graphics in the browser with CSS
    In this chapter Matthew Carver explains you how you can use CSS as a design tool. You will get to know how to maintain proportions in a responsive website and how to add responsive media data. Furthermore you will learn some modern design techniques such as font faces and SVG to create responsive websites. You will learn how to implement scalable background images and videos and also how to use icon-based font families to create buttons and UI elements. Last but not least you will be able to put vector-based graphics in your website with CSS.
  • Progressive enhancement and obsolescence control with Modernizr
    This chapter is about obsolescence control with focus on the methodologies of progressive enhancement and graceful degradation. Furthermore you will be introduced to Modernizr, which is a great tool for controlling obsolescence in websites.
  • Testing and optimization for responsive websites
    After you read the last chapter you will be able to test the responsive website that you just created. Matthew Carver gives you some great techniques for testing and optimizing your website. When talking about optimizing, the issues covered in this chapter basically cover the topic of page load time, the pagespeed of your website.

And that’s it. I covered all the 9 chapter of The Responsive Web. I hope this book review helped you to decide whether this book is a good choice for you. For me it really was a great help to improve my websites and make them look better and more modern. Since mobile friendliness is a Google Ranking factor I am convinced that after reading this book (and of course after following the recommendations) your website may get a traffic boost from organic search engine traffic.

The Responsive Web: Book Review
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