What’s been happening with MSUESCTO?

It’s been a while since we’ve updated our blog! But there’s been a lot going on. Here’s a small sampling of some of the things that have happened since our last update. We’ll have more soon, including robotics, IMPACT2, Distance Education, and more! For up-to-the-minute information, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Apps

We continue to expand our app offerings available for Extension professionals and clientele. For a list of our current iOS apps, visit http://techoutreach.msucares.com/apps. We’re also excited to announce we will have more Android apps soon!

Web Outreach

Our web outreach team, lead by Sarah Pittman, continues to roll out introductory websites for communities and organizations in need of their first web presence. There are many underserved organizations and governments in our state without a web presence at all, and we’re working to get everyone online! Here’s a small sampling of sites that have gone live:

Extension Websites

Our internal web team has also been busy with new site launches, here’s a few:

That’s all for now. Check back soon for more of what’s happening with CTO!

New MS Horse Park Website Launched July 1

The Center for Technology Outreach worked with the Mississippi Horse Park to design and build a new (and responsive!) Horse Park website, which was launched earlier this month. Check it out at mshorsepark.com, and be sure to like the MS Horse Park on Facebook!

ConnectMS Broadband App Released

Things have been pretty quiet here on the CTO blog the past few months, but we’re constantly working on new developments! The Center for Technology Outreach has been hard at work the past few months developing a new broadband app and website to help Mississippians find access to broadband Internet. With a focus on initiatives from expanding telehealth capability, e-commerce utilization, early years coding education, and more, the ConnectMS project is the springboard for all of it—and you can check it all out at connectmississippi.org!

You can download the iOS Broadband App directly from the Apple App Store, or you can try out the Broadband Web App if you’re on an Android, Windows, or other platform.

The Importance of Responsive Web Design: Part 1

01_Responsive-vs-Adaptive

Our world is more connected today than ever before. The Web can be accessed from all types of different devices, with even more yet to be imagined. Yesterday was the Internet of Things Day, a day dedicated to the advancing trend of the Internet (and, by extension, the World Wide Web) being accessible and integrated into our everyday world. While mobile apps may be the “in” thing right now, the Web has been around for far longer, and isn’t limited to the walled gardens of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and so on. The Web was designed to be device-agnostic, viewable on as many devices, and as many screen dimensions, as possible.

What makes this possible today? The answer: Responsive Web Design.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design is a term that was coined by Ethan Marcotte, a designer/developer, in his landmark article on A List Apart, Responsive Web Design way back in 2010.

According to Wikipedia:

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

Wikipedia.org

The basic building blocks to a responsive web design are:

  • Fluid grids (a layout that adapts based on screen size, for example)
  • Flexible images (images that expand or are replaced based on the viewport, for example)
  • Media queries (code that manipulates the elements on the screen, allowing for the two above things)

While I’ve already probably become too technical for the average reader, know this: if you want to have a website for your organization, then by default you should seek out someone who can build it for you using the elements of Responsive Web Design. If your website can’t adapt to the device that your customers are accessing it on, and things appear broken, the site won’t load, and so on, that is going to cost you customers and money due to a frustrating user experience. Your typical customer, citizen, user, or whomever your website’s market caters to is going to be viewing your website on a variety of different media—some on desktop computers with gigabit Internet, others on a several years old iPhone 4 with spotty 3G. While you can’t control all of the experience for your audience when it comes to your online presence, you can control how your site is built.

And the only solution that can cover all of your bases is to make sure your website utilizes Responsive Web Design.

To be continued…

Stay tuned for the next part of the Responsive Web Design series, where I will go into more detail on ways you can make sure your site can best reach your audience.