Let's discuss the latest techniques in web development, that will allow you to design and deploy your WordPress website to multiple screen sizes, without having to design a completely separate mobile theme.
While so many are focused on building apps for mobile and there are some very strong use cases for doing so, as we move into an era where the mobile web will dominate our web browsing experiences, many news organizations are rolling out mobile web experiences, which will help render websites in mobile devices, without having to replicate those experiences in expensive mobile applications that need maintenance and upgrades. Sure, WordPress sites need maintenance and upgrades as well, but having to maintain TWO experiences: a site and an app, can be costly.
Thinking about responsive design in a WordPress world will help your organization save money and time by deploying one experience to all screen sizes - desktop, laptop, iOS (iPad/iPhone), Android and Blackberry. You can even deploy to the Kindle. It's a "write once, read everywhere" world, with your site modifying itself on the fly to fit into each screen size.
Remember, it's easier to give someone your URL then it is to tell them to download just one of a million apps that they have to launch each time they want to see your content. Why make it hard for people to find your information? A simple URL and a web browser has always been and will continue to be the easiest and most efficient way to access an organization's information.
While websites can crash and have bugs, I have experienced far too many times an app crashing, where I have to reinstall the app and reset all of my preferences. And, the more apps I have on my phone, the harder it is to remember which app does what. It's far easier to pull up Mobile Safari, type a URL, and I'm where I need to be. I can bookmark web pages, but with apps, I always have to start on the home screen.
In the meetup, we will discuss design principles and CSS @media queries, to allow your site to resize media on the fly and fit the screen resolutions of your audience, while keeping clean layouts and viewing your site's fonts in the appropriate sizes for each device.
I will demonstrate examples from the Boston Globe (http://www.bostonglobe.com) and some WordPress premium theme developers, who are now moving toward developing all new WordPress premium themes in "responsive design" mode. We'll look at premium theme shops, as well as developers who are selling their themes on theme aggregator sites, like ThemeForest.
When people ask you, "What's next? What can we expect from the web tomorrow?" This is IT! If you miss this WordPress Chapel Hill Meetup, then you'll miss the future of web development and when your boss asks you what's next, you'll can either say, "uh...mobile apps!" or you can say, "I took the time to go to WordPress Chapel Hill and learn about why responsive design is important. Here's how we can apply it to our website to save both time and money."
I think this is going to be the first time "responsive design" has been discussed on the campus of UNC, so DON'T MISS OUT!
Now, remember, I'm not throwing aways apps as a viable alternative. I love my FourSquare app, which allows me to tell the world where I am. I like my Twitter and TweetDeck apps, which help me switch between Twitter accounts or cross post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace all at the same time. But, when I'm drying to find directions to WordPress Chapel Hill at the Health Sciences Library, I'm going to Google "UNC Health Sciences Library" and I'm going to get directions from the web site, not from an app.
Speaking of which, here is the URL for the UNC Health Sciences Library Conference Room 527:
Here are the directions to the UNC Health Sciences Library:
And, in an HTML5 world, many websites will soon be able to replicate app like experiences. Let's not forget that. You never have to download an app, which might require you to be on a wifi connection. Anyone ever try to update Skype over 3G? Can't do it. Apps that are too big to be updated over 3G need to be updated over wifi. That doesn't happen on the mobile web. A site is a site that will always remain a site and render in your mobile web browser.
Because this Meetup is taking place on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, a public University, I am not allowed to charge for the Meetup. However, if you would like to make a $5 donation at the door, I will kindly accept your gratitude, as it will go to paying for my quarterly Meetup fees and my time to put these events together.