I'm always learning. The first thing I think when I start a new project is, "How can I do this differently". There are certain standards in place, which should be there, but I like each project to be a unique experience of exploration and learning, to be something we grow from.
The idea is to always get better and always deliver a better product by learning from mistakes and exploring new ideas so that not only ourselves, but the people who use our products, are happy to use them again.
Unlike mobile first the device agnostic approach puts content first by engineering systems that flow around content naturally allowing them to adapt to the medium they're being displayed in. Unlike print products which are static, web products behave organically, reacting to the environment they're displayed in along with the users preferences.
To take advantage of this we look at our product as a multi-state system, a series of elements with instructions to behave a certain way under certain conditions. This way, we have one set of elements, content, styles, etc, which adapt to the environment automatically. The lack of extra code keeps the load times down as well.
The fact of the matter is more and more people are using website readers and saving the content for later. Users who wan't to view your site offline or for whatever other reason are all going to make changes to your site from within the browser in order to view your content in the format they feel most comfortable with. Millions of people are doing this, putting even more importance on what we are designing around.
If contingincies aren't created to naturally account for and adapt to the users ability and willingness to manilipulate the viewing experience such as font size, resolution, and window size you'll find your content is viewed by the end user differently than intended.
"The russians used a penicil" is a common phrase I've heard used in web design when refering to the importance of simplicty. Basically it sums up an old story that NASA spent 12bn developing a pen that worked in space due to the lack of gravity while the russians opted for a more elegant solution, a pencil.
Although the story isn't actually true, it makes a great point by illustrating a perspective I don't often see in web design. Look for the elegant solution. It will save you time and money and allow you to focus on other more pressing matters.
In the end no matter what kind of opinions we have, we aren't creating a product for ourselves. We have to keep in mind there is an end user the product is intended for, therefor everything from content to the design should stem from what they want or expect to experience.
This lets the user feel comfortable going through whatever actions it is your product is intended to encourage.
Before we can do anything we really need to find out what we should be doing, and in the designing of web products the answer isn't so obvious.
That's because each product is intended for a unique set of users with their own likes and dislikes and on top of that, marketing goals have to be met, preperation for upcoming changes in technology and contingency plans for unforseen errors must be made and put together into a cohesive model.
It's Alive! Prototype development is probably one of the most fun areas of product design. We get to tinker, toy, and play with ideas and concepts which we then turn into a tangable model.
We get to breathe life into these creations and watch them behave and react. We do this through wireframes or ideally interactive models with look and feel elements stripped allowing me to focus on interactivity & usability.
A product needs to be thoroughly tested before it can be deployed. Cognitive walkthroughs, pluralistic walkthroughs and heuristic evaluation allow early insight into usability problems. If the product doesn't pass this inspection it's sent back to R&D.
If a product were to remain untested and an issue were to be found during the latter phases you'll likely find yourself re-doing work or losing users. A simple usability inspection will allow issues to be addressed on the drawing board before they become problems durring deployment.
There is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to designing web products. Each challenge requires a unique mix of technologies in order to accomplish their goals. There are countless tools available and being developed every day to enhance efficiency and quality. I use everything available to get the job done, and build my own tools when that's not enough.