World wide wrist

After all the hubbub with WWDC over the past couple of days, Ethan Marcotte is excited about the news that the Apple Watch will be able to view web content.

He writes:

If I had to guess, I’d imagine some sort of “reader mode” is coming to the Watch: in other words, when you open a link on your Watch, this minified version of WebKit wouldn’t act like a full browser. Instead of rendering all your scripts, styles, and layout, mini-WebKit would present a stripped-down version of your web page. If that’s the case, then Jen Simmons’s suggestion is spot-on: it just got a lot more important to design from a sensible, small screen-friendly document structure built atop semantic HTML.

But who knows! I could be wrong! Maybe it’s a more capable browser than I’m assuming, and we’ll start talking about best practices for layout, typography, and design on watches.

I had this inkling for a long while that there wouldn’t ever be a browser in the Watch due to its constraints, but instead I hoped that there might be a surge of methods to read web content aloud via some sort of voice interface. "Siri, read me the latest post from James’ blog," is probably nightmare fuel for most people but I was sort of holding out for devices like this to access the web via audio.

Another interesting aside is that both Safari OSX and iOS have had a reader mode for a long time now, but have it as an option enabled by the user while viewing the content. Bypassing the user-enabled option would be the difference on watchOS and where our structured, semantic chops are put to task.

New CSS Features Are Enhancing Everything You Know About Web Design

We just hit you with a slab of observations about CSS Grid in a new post by Manuel Matuzović. Grid has been blowing our minds since it was formally introduced and Jen Simmons is connecting it (among other new features) to what she sees as a larger phenomenon in the evolution of layouts in web design.

From Jeremy Keith's notes on Jen's talk, "Everything You Know About Web Design Just Changed " at An Event Apart Seattle 2018:

This may be the sixth such point in the history of the web. One of those points where everything changes and we swap out our techniques ... let’s talk about layout. What’s next? Intrinsic Web Design.

Why a new name? Why bother? Well, it was helpful to debate fluid vs. fixed, or table-based layouts: having words really helps. Over the past few years, Jen has needed a term for “responsive web design +”.


Responsive Comments

Meaning like <!-- these kind of comments -->. You put a media query in a data-* attribute of a parent element and it will determine if that block of commented HTML should be un-commented or not. A form of conditional loading. If the HTML bloat bothers you, I suspect it could be easily adapted to load the comment from a URL at another data-* attribute instead.

Transformer Tabs

Tabs are a simple design pattern in which a row of links are obviously clickable navigation and when a link is clicked, new content is shown. There are loads of variations of course, but it's one of the most ubiquitous navigation design patterns out there. When arranged in a horizontal row, it is also one of the least small-screen-friendly design patterns out there.

We can make it work though.