Thursday Keynote: Designing the Sustainable Web

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This is a live blog of the keynote presentation “Designing the Sustainable Web” by The Standardistas at DrupalCon London.

Surveying the Landscape

We’re going to look to the past a little to map our way to the future.

Proliferating Devices – we’re no longer just browsing the web on our desktops. We should have been designing for these devices all along. We have phones, tablets, desktops, laptops, and really old phones. When we bring that together – it poses a number of challenges.

Changing Contexts – we consume the web anywhere. We’re not tied to our desks anymore.

Content Shifting – how we’re presenting content is changing as well – we can Instapaper it to read later without distractions. We might start to read something on our desktop, continue on our phone on the way home, pick up the tablet at the door and print it out for granny who doesn’t have a computer.

So how do we confront this challenge?

The Secret Formula! – It’s not about sprinkles… or the latest trends…. our latest css3 coolness isn’t the issue. They are just the icing.

It’s the Fundamentals! – hierarchy, typography, semantics, device independence and openness.
(this is a section of the video you’ll really want to watch – just too much to blog here)

None of this is new… they all date back to 1990… and even further – all the way to Gutenberg.

The Iceberg Metaphor: We need to care about what’s above AND below the waterline.

The Markup Timeline

  • 1990 – Today – markup hasn’t changed all that much.
  • 2000 – Jeffrey Zeldman – web standards project. Browser makers tried to make more features available and we strayed from standards. The project brought us back to proper markup. People started pulling together to make resources that we could use. In October 2002, Wired Magazine did a redesign using CSS and XHTML. (showed csszengarden.com – love that site)
  • 2011 – Chairman Hickson – standards are now an accepted thing.

HTML5 offers new semantics, device independent open markup that lasts. HTML is a design element.

The presenters went through the same timeline for typography, grid systems, etc.- very interesting…


About the author

Rod holds two masters degrees and has been training people how to do "things" for over 25 years. Originally from Australia, he grew up in Canada and now resides just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.