A couple of weeks ago we held the second in a series of Roundtable events, where we invited a small group of individuals working within brands to join us at the Hospital Club to discuss a defined topic for a few hours under Chatham House rule. The goal of these events is to gather people working on the front line of UX - delivering products and services within large (or small and punchy) organisations - to share experiences, troubleshoot, debate and share ideas. And so far the attendees have seemed to most appreciate the catharsis of just being in a room with peers facing similar challenges!

Our last gathering was titled 'Going Responsive’, and we invited UX leads, product owners and creative technologists from organisations at varying points of the journey of going responsive; from early consideration to having successfully delivered a fully responsive redesign. Attendees included folk from The Guardian, Auto Trader, Ticketmaster, Daily Mail Group, RBS, Pearson, Discovery Education and Future Learn.

In the second half of our time together we ran an Open Space session where we invited attendees to pose a question, which the group could offer ideas and answers to on post-its. This was a really interesting exercise, as it helps to surface some of the common challenges and issues people are facing.

A little summary of a few of the questions and answers from our Open Space session at the 'Going Responsive' roundtable:

How do you begin the journey of deploying a responsive version of an existing website?

  • Do the homepage LAST / Test on a low-profile area first
  • Cease to work on current version of your own site
  • Your m.dot site can be a seed where you can test responsive

Given we believe cross-functional teams are beneficial to responsive design, what tips do you have for breaking silos and encouraging collaboration?

  • Shared spaces / war rooms
  • Get as many people out of the building (and with users) as possible
  • Being part of one product team with a common goal and purpose
  • Run a user story mapping session with the team
  • Print out page designs, cut out and group patterns together as a team
  • Getting representatives from different functions together early for brainstorming and discovery workshops so everyone feels their voice can be heard
  • Paired working

How is content best managed when designing for responsive sites?

  • Optimise for readable line-length
  • Test, test, test
  • Break points always based on content, not device
  • User research to understand the most important content for the context of use

How can I help colleagues stop thinking Desktop first?

  • Provide mobile templates for sketching
  • Force mobile days - test and design just on mobile
  • Think 'tablet first'
  • Think fluid system rather than fixed frame

Other questions that came up...

  • Context vs Consistency in responsive design: which side wins?
  • Would every team (platform, service, website) benefit from a design system? Is it always worth the investment? Why? Why not?
  • How do I handle responsive ads?
  • How do you design for wearables?


Our next roundtable event will be in March, subject TBC. If you'd like to be considered for future events do get in touch to register your interest.