The Ideatorium

Random thoughts on web design & development

Need a responsive image carousel for Shopify? Here you go.

As you might be able to tell by our Twitter feed, we really love the developer community. Rather than be boxed in some proprietary, closed system, we embrace open-source and open community frameworks — if we need to solve a problem, there’s a chance someone else already solved it.

Sometimes, though, no solution surfaces, which gives us the opportunity to build a solution, and give back to the developer community.

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Site Launch: Peg Perego USA

Peg Perego Homepage BreakpointsIt’s been a big month at Reusser Design. A short while ago, we launched Peg Perego USA’s new website. Two additional sites to support multiple languages (one for Canada, and one worldwide) will be launching soon.

We’ve loved working with this international company (they make strollers, high chairs, and other baby products, as well as riding toys for children). With a long, family-owned history with Italian roots, they’ve expanded to a headquarters in the US (right here in northeast Indiana!) and Canada as well as their global headquarters in Italy.

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Responsive website launch for Hoosier Pattern, Inc.

Breakpoints of Hoosier Pattern's responsive website: from left to right: a desktop view, a tablet view, and a smartphone view.

It’s rare that a manufacturing website can garner so much excitement from a group of internet professionals. But when we saw what the fine craftsmen and women at Hoosier Pattern, Inc. in Decatur, IN were doing, we knew we had to take this project.

Hoosier Pattern makes, as their name would suggest, patterns and molds. The product they make will go on to serve as the form for parts in cars, trucks, boats, consumer appliances — you name it. How the heck do we help them reach a targeted industry if they target every industry?

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An interview with Andy at the GatherContent blog!

We love GatherContent. It stands out among the array of web tools that exist to make our jobs easier. When we build websites that have a complex content structure, GatherContent lets us present the client with a very simple, easy to understand way of collecting it.

We love their blog, too! Rather than publish post after post about how great their product is, they provide helpful resources for content strategists and web-focused copywriters. Our content strategist, Andy Welfle, geeks out about most of the articles they share.

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Content Blobs vs. Chunks: a real life example

by Andy Welfle
Reusser Design Content Strategist

I’m loving this article over at A List Apart that talks about the battle for presentation control between a web designer and a web content creator. For someone (like me) who has to try to explain this division every day to clients who don’t understand why they “just can’t make this font different and tweak the color a little bit”, it gave me a lot of good, simple reasons why clients should turn over as much of the style over to the developer as possible.

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Responsive Site launch: Fort Wayne Airport

The newly-redesigned FWAirport.com views, from left to right, in a desktop view, a tablet view and a smartphone view. Site design by Reusser Design, LLC.

Northeast Indiana is home to two great airfields: Fort Wayne International (FWA) and Smith Field (SMD). They’re overseen and managed by one entity, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority.

The Authority (as we like to call them) came to us last year with a problem: How do they take three separately branded websites for each of the airports plus the over-arching Authority site and merge them into one unified site, while still clearly indicating separate facilities?

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Nate Reusser is a “40 Under 40″ young leader!

IMG_2757Every year, the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly holds a “40 Under 40″ award — honoring the year’s most innovative business leaders under 40 years of age in the Fort Wayne area. We’re proud that our own Nate Reusser made it to the list this year!

From the nomination form about why Nate was a great candidate:

It’s cliche to say, but Nate thinks globally and acts locally. He’s constantly innovating Reusser Design’s practices and technology. His company uses open source web technology, and frequently contributes to the developer community at large.

An event honoring the nominees will be held on Thursday, March 14. If you’d like a ticket to come cheer Nate on (and the other 39 amazing people on this list), click here to register.

Google prefers using responsive web design for mobile

Keep calm and #RWDNick Wilsdon, head of an SEO and Content Marketing firm in the UK, recently blogged about different options for website development for mobile devices (click the headline to check it out). While several options exist, he points out that in most cases, a responsively designed website works best for SEO.

He pointed out Google’s Developer Site, and specifically what they list as different approaches to mobile sites:

  1. Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration. [emphasis not mine; but Google's]
  2. Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.
  3. Sites that have separate mobile and desktop URLs.

Why does Google recommend RWD? Well, as Nick pointed out, it saves resources for Google (and your site). From Google’s recommendations:

Why responsive design

It saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents needs to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.

While we realize that there are definitely other approaches to mobile-friendly websites, RWD is, in the majority of scenarios, the best one. You have one codebase, and it ensures users on all screen sizes are getting the best experience. Even with a site where users perform different actions based on their context (and therefore, with different screen sizes), like e-commerce, RWD is often the best solution. (See this success story with SkinnyTies.com and its newly integrated responsive e-commerce functionality.)

As we mentioned in a previous post, Nate Reusser spoke at a local Fort Wayne Advertising Federation luncheon about responsive design. With more than 80 people attending, the talk was a hit! And after we posted his slides to Slideshare, it made the front page and was a hit there, too! For your browsing pleasure, here are the slides: