Reactive web design

This article first appeared in issue 229 of .net magazine – the world's best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

For a while I’ve been thinking (as well as talking) about the context in which a site is viewed and how that can change things. Consider the different information people might need depending on the distance they are from a London cinema. Timings of today’s showings are going to be less relevant, for example, to those planning to visit the UK some time in the future than they are to local residents.

What about those who are within commuting distance of the cinema? Knowing whether they’re likely to get to a showing in time, based on average driving times and traffic updates, for example, could prove extremely useful.

What if they’re already at the cinema and viewing the site on a mobile device? In this case, things like parking, accessibility and where popcorn stands are located are more likely to be on their mind.

Ideally, the cinema’s homepage would adapt its content priorities to reflect all these contrasting demands, and more.

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