Develop Responsive SIte w/o Smart Phone?

I’m not going to say anything about my own situation but I will say 1.5K/month is VERY low on a full time schedule. That is lower than the amount most interns would be paid…

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When you say “designer” I think of people like @PaulOB or @RyanReese

But I think my strength is doing business logic via programming and database design.

(In my free time, I was working on a website and business before the economy started to get bad. I have written tens of thousands of lines of code and built a pretty complicated database as well.)

I don’t mind doing web design, but I guess I have always seen myself more as a business analyst and developer.

That was my thinking too, and why I started this thread.

It is my hope that my current knowledge and experience with PHP, HTML and CSS only needs to be tweaked so that I can start building “responsive” sites.

If I could leverage my current knowledge of HTML and CSS, and learn how to do basic responsive websites in the next 30 days, then maybe I could start approaching small-to-medium businesses and selling them on the idea for needing a “responsive” website.

It seems like there might be a real opportunity for that?

One thing I did learn this week while looking at websites from local mechanics and construction companies and so forth is that I have an uphill battle if I want to sell people on my “web design” abilities…

You see, @Mittineague, I think I am more developer than designer.

Why do I say this?

Well, I am VERY good at taking complex business processes and using web applications to solve them. On my own website, I have built things like private messaging, surveys, photo uploads, social media, CMS, and so on with good success.

And while the site I built for this local garage looks professional, I wouldn’t say it looks “sexy”. :confused:

To be blunt, it is hard for me to compete with WordPress templates galore… Again, my websites look nice, but I wouldn’t say they look like they were done by a graphic artist.

I think my advantage is my ability to make websites actually do something versus just look pretty f that makes sense?

Anyways, what I saying is that I see making a static website more dynamic and making it responsive is something I could be good at - as long as I don’t need to turn into a graphic artist.

Just curious why you recommend that?


Well, some comments might sting for a while. But once you get past the initial cut and look at it objectively there’s no quicker way to become aware of any short-comings that should be addressed. Not the gentlest way to learn, and not for sensitive types, but darn fast and an eye-opener.

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So is it still “unprofessional” as you stressed earlier?

I don’t mind finding someone with an iPhone or Andriod to test, but there is no way in my current situation where I can afford getting a smart-phone and expensive telecom plan with it. (I have a hard enough time paying AT&T on time as it is now!!)

Well, the reason I have been trying to do so much with my current client is because I don’t want to be seen as one of these bottom-feeders you describe. I have been trying to position myself as a full-service consultant that offers everything from business and marketing plans to coding and web design to SEO.

My account makes $125/hour and my doctor probably makes over $100/hour and this mechanic I work with charges $90/hour, so why in the hell am I struggling to get people to pay over $500 on a website? And why is it I am struggling to compete with kids that haven’t been alive as long as I have been in business and IT???

Does it absolutely require JavaScript??

Or is it more about HTML and CSS?

My advice is that if you’re not a designer don’t try to be one. When it comes to freelancing you’re fighting a loosing battle and here is why. The freelance market is riddled with low paying jobs for creating simple, one off-sites which can be made by a designer using something like Wordpress. That is the wrong market to be targeting if you’re a programmer. The real market is in full time or contract jobs maintaing existing websites that run on complex CMS platforms which require continuous change to meet new business needs. That is not something a designer or twelve year old with a little HTML and CSS knowledge can do. There is a lot of work to be had in maintaining software. Especially, maintaining systems built on open source platforms that require constant changes to meet new demands.


If someone has solid Web Development or Web Design skills, I would think it would be easy to make $70-80k in most larger markets… And as I said above, I know a lot of people in IT who would cry if they ever dipped below $100k/year…

My problem is I was knocked off the horse, and I am starting to see that I got painted into a corner at my last job. Had I been somewhere else, maybe I could have added things like Agile and JavaScript and AJAX and responsive design to my skill set. But companies - and particularly government - seem to be more focused on “getting by” versus being “cutting edge”… :smirk:

Sorry, still not understanding you…

Are you saying you are recommending I become a web designer because you think I am incompetent as a programmer or database designer or as an SEO person?

I’m somewhat surprised that you are having trouble finding a job as more a project manager if that is what you have been doing. Specifically, due to the fact that project management is less about technology and more about communication, resource allocation, time estimates, etc. All of which are language agnostic. I’ve never been a project manager myself but have worked with several and it is rare to be working with one who is technically comparable to even the mid-level dev on a team. I would tend to think in that type of role experience counts for everything but limited to that of companies who actually need a pm which isn’t most projects posted on a freelance board.


Let me be clear. My current income has nothing to do with computers or web dev in any way.

I won’t go into any personal details, but my previous employment was as a Medical Technologist in a local major hospital clinical laboratory.

I resigned from that career as a matter of conscience given the options that I was facing. I gave up a good income and good benefits and not one friend nor family member thought it was a wise decision. Yet I resigned just the same.

Programming is a Love. Whether or not I ever pursue income from it (remote only as I must be at home) remains to be seen. I’m satisfied with having “only enough” and don’t feel the need to earn more. And BTW, our home is not paid off yet.

It’s hard to say what I am any more. Sadly my career has turned me into a jack-of-all trades…

I was very good at what I did, but it was proprietary/specific to the department I was in. And it doesn’t translate to most other situations.

All I know is this… I look at any job listings and they ask for experience in 3-4 roles. If you look at .Net roles they want you to be an expert in responsive design and use-cases. If you look at business analyst roles, they want you to have 5 years experience on Java projects and prefer a PMP cert. If you look at web design spots, they prefer experience also with server-side langyages also.

Will I get back to a “real” job? Yes.

But since it is summer and vacation time, will I get there before running out of money? Not looking good.

And I also think that working for companies is a dead end in the U.S. I see people who run their own businesses from mechanics to florists to hair stylists that make a killing. (Think about it… had a haircut on Saturday. Took the owner 15 minutes and she made $20. That is $80/hour, and even with overhead that is $40/hour and $80k for cutting hair… Shouldn’t someone with over a quarter of a century of business and IT experience be able to match what a hair stylist does?) :confused:

Well @Mittineague, I think you are a stud nonetheless. :smile:

And I respect you for taking a moral stand - whatever that entailed. :thumbsup:

Maybe related to your situation, I think I would be much happier if I could be an independent consultant working in IT in some means…

After losing my job, I thought working with small businesses was the way to do that.

But considering how things have turned out, now I question that. And @oddz 's comments seem to be sadly true… :disappointed:

And yet I would like to think there is hope doing something like becoming a guru in responsive design?

Who knows?!

I’m definitely NOT a designer. Paul and I are actually very similar in many regards. We both can’t design worth crap. We are web developers. Front end web developers. Designers (IMO) are the ones who go into Photoshop or whatever and create the mockup wireframe and then they hand it off to be coded.

Responsive site.

Look into It allows for mobile testing.

0 Javascript is needed. This is pure CSS. Even the hamburger menu can be done in pure CSS.

So if I upgrade my skill-set from HTML4 to HTML5 and from CSS2 to CSS3 then I should have all I need to build fully responsive websites?

Don’t think of HTML5 / CSS3 as being new things. They are only additive to CSS2/HTML4. Majority of what you NEED to know comes from “CSS2” or “HTML4”. The basics. It’s constantly being added on.

You need ot understand concepts, not “CSS3”. You still have trouble figuring out how to do some stuff in CSS, when in actuality (no offense), it’s not all that advanced. Certainly not something that’s new in CSS3.

So based on your response, it sounds like what I need more than memorizing what is new to HTML5 and CSS3, is starting to understand how Responsive Web Design (RWD) leverages things in HTML and CSS to make websites “responsive”, right?

It sounds like it is more changing how I conceive websites than the languages themselves…

It’s hard to pinpoint ONE thing that you need work on. You need to understand how to make sites that automatically adjust without media queries (fluid websites). No widths if possible, or max-width if possible. That’ll adjust as needed. Then you need to know what’s thebest way to handle the screen sizes that break once you’re done that.

Overall, there isn’t just ONE thing I could point at that you need work on.

I’d agree with that entirely. Over the years, HTML and CSS have grown in capability, whilst discarding (depreciating) a smaller number of things that have ultimately proven less useful. RWD though, is less about the newer features of HTML and CSS than it is about applying what’s been there for a long time in a different way.

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My personal website does use a fluid design, so it’s not like I don’t understand that. (Sure, I relied heavily on @PaulOB website and tutorials, but I have tweaked it and it works.)

Now the website I built for this auto repair place was not fluid, but then for what they paid me, oh well.

The good thing about the web is that its not cast in stone, you can change any site to RWD once you learn how.