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Feb 10

Card design – the next step in the evolution of responsive design

Not sure what card design is? Think about how you find information on Pinterest. Basically, it's where each element on a site is its own card, making it easy to navigate on anything from a desktop to a smartphone without compromising usability. It's not new, but its use has been growing dramatically in the design of responsive websites.

For sites that have a lot of items to highlight (e.g. clothing retailers or restaurant review sites), cards keep all the elements organized and easy to access, allowing users to click on them for more details. They make it simple to sort through info, providing one manageable bite at a time. And in an age where we're having more and more of it thrown at us, it's an approach that makes a lot of sense.

That's why the web is moving to card design. Twitter has jumped on the bandwagon, and so has Google. iPhones use cards to switch between apps. It's because cards are super flexible. They can be any size. They can be stacked vertically so you can scroll easily on a phone or organized horizontally on a tablet that's been turned to its landscape view. You can have five cards or 50.

Cards are a great way to tell a quick story. They are doorways into bigger stories, all compiled in one place. And the possibilities for personalization is staggering: more and more sites are pushing tailored content to users and card design offers users aggregated content in a manageable way.

So what sorts of small business sites should use cards? Retailers. Artists and photographers. Real estate agents. Anyone with chunks of information to share. It's an incredibly simple idea with tremendous possibilities.

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