Planning Adaptive Interfaces

This deck was delivered at Build Right Maker Series on

How do you plan for the unknown? The answer is obvious—you can’t—but that’s not a bad thing. Unknowns can be scary, but they also create opportunity.

On the web, it’s tempting to focus our effort around what we know (or think we know) about our customers based on analytics data we’re collecting and our own experience of the web. Similarly, we often get hung up on trying to give every customer the exact same experience of our product. What we need to realize, however, is that analytics and anecdotal knowledge only get you so far. Our customers’ access and experience of the web is highly variable, deeply personal, and, more often than not, completely out of our control.

But take heart, all is not lost. By being flexible in our approach and embracing the unknown, we can create user experiences that are intended to vary from device to device, browser to browser, and network to network.

In this workshop, I explain the ins and outs of crafting rich web experiences that adapt to the capabilities and peculiarities of our customers and their devices, while maintaining your sanity in the process. You’ll leave with:

  • an understanding of the challenges (and possibilities) presented by the wide range of browsers and devices being used to access the web;
  • a fresh perspective on interface design, grounded in the progressive enhancement philosophy;
  • ideas around how to tailor experiences based on device capabilities;
  • solid strategies for determining how common UI components can be re-imagined in an adaptive fashion; and
  • a practical knowledge of how HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can be deployed in the service of adaptive user interfaces.