Sneaking responsive in under the radar using an mdot site.

Let’s face it, there’s the right way to do design, then there’s the pragmatic way to get things done within your organisation. The two are often not the quite same thing. Let’s say you want to create an elegantly minimal responsive site that focuses on the core UX and privileges the reading experience over ads, cross-links and clutter – but can you achieve it?

In some organisations you’ll have to pry the above-the-fold advertising real estate out of the cold, dead hands of the senior execs. As Leisa Reichelt said a few months ago: “Politics and egos are the main reasons that great design goes awry” […] ‘Show, don’t tell’ is a design principle that seems to work well.”

Some organisations just have too much invested in their full-fat desktop sites. A messy tangle of revenue streams, too many job roles and too many egg shells make disruptive change feel almost impossible.

The mdot site seems like a perfect candidate for bringing in change. It typically doesn’t get much attention as it’s not a great source of revenue. It’s often dated, and the organisation knows “something” needs to be done. This allows you to quietly go about creating a beautiful responsive site. You’re free to streamline the user journeys, ditch all the crap that’s accumulated on the desktop site over the years and do things the right way. It makes sense to start with a focus on smaller viewports, and gradually expand your attention to larger sizes until one day – maybe, just maybe, once the benefits have been proven with your mdot testbed, you can flick the switch and turn off that old desktop site completely.

Credit to Jeremy Keith and Josh Emerson for the ideas in this post.