Nathan Leigh Davis is a designer and developer who writes about design, technology and things that inspire him.

Journal

Addressing issues outside of project scope

I've been busy the last couple of weekends coding a website for a freelance job I'm currently working on. While I can't reveal a lot about the project, it's made me consider our responsibility as designers and web developers to support devices and browsers outside of project scope.

In this instance the brief is to create a website that is optimised for tablet and desktop devices, however the particulars of the supplied artwork would render the final site unusable on smaller screens. As developers we encounter issues like this everyday, whether it's considering ancient browsers, touch devices, print style sheets, alternatives for Flash content etc.

The dilemma therefore is whether to disregard such considerations or spend extra time addressing them.

I believe that as professionals we have a responsibility to address such issues, even if they may fall outside the scope of a project. Subscribing to methodologies such as progressive enhancement help enormously, however there are still situations in which we're required to go above and beyond.

Addressing such issues allows developers to build lasting relationships with clients and reduce future support requests. The goal should and always be to provide sites that work for all users. This doesn't mean spending hours or days optimising a site for situations outside the scope of a project, but simply ensuring an adequate and usable alternative is offered.