Rehan Butt

"You put water into a cup it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot."

-Bruce Lee

How can we expand on responsive design to account for non-screen based interfaces such as voice, and how do we design for all of them?

I propose a new design tool that looks to aid designers in creating the overall experience over designing for a platform.


History of Responsive Design

“Developing fixed-size Web pages is a fundamentally flawed practice. Not only does it result in Web pages that remain at a constant size regardless of the user’s browser size, but it fails to take advantage of the medium’s flexibility.”

James Kalback wrote in 2002

Game Controller

The need for responsive design came out of the growing number of devices, where mobile browsing would overtake desktop browsing. Input devices were changing from T9 keypads and mouse and keyboard to touch or game controllers and many more devices were connected to the internet.

Responsive Design Gif

World Mimicry

Mimicking parts of the physical world in digital experiences aids the users understanding. This is the idea of Skeuomorphism.

Skeuomorphism Icons from Microsoft Word


Many current tools allow for some form of collaboration. Fluid Design needs to acknowledge these collaboration functions and address it.

Sketch Logo


Adobe XD Logo

Adobe XD

inVision Studio Logo

inVision Studio

Figma Logo


Tool Sites

Why is real-time collaboration so important?

“We use Google Drawings to create wireframes because it allows us all to work in the same file at the same time and to instantly see changes made.” (“Collaboration on Same Document.”)

Voice Tools

Siri Logo

Apple's Siri

Alexa Logo

Amazon's Alexa

Assitant Logo

Google's Assistant

Dialogflow Logo


Sayspring Logo


Dialogflow and Sayspring Screenshots

Voice frameworks set several rules to address within a voice context. Such as what voice is allowed to do on each of the platforms.

The voice tools start to break down these rules. Allowing the designer to address specific user requests and the scope of the voice application.

Flexibility (Material)

“I have an old climbing rope that could be labeled as 'broken'. It’s not suitable as a safety device while climbing anymore but I have woven it into a door mat” (Maestri)

Flexible Rope in Different Context

Which got me thinking…

What would be the digital equalvalent of the rope, a digital flexible material?

Mario at 2 different resolutions

And what is the scale of this material for appropicate modularization?

Process & Methodology


Most defintions for responsive design address one consistent aspect “an interface that responds to the changing screen size”

"A responsive design is made to fit all types of screens depending on size, rotation and way of use (touchscreen vs mouse or keyboard)"

"Responds to a different environment, so if there is different lighting condition it may change, responsive design for Waze so when it’s night it changes to a black background"

"An interface that responds to the changing hardware or software that’s being used whether that’s screen size or operating system, seamless transition"

smartphone and microphone

I wanted to choose two distinct and existing platforms to use for benchmarking. I decided to use mobile and voice, leveraging a screen based interface and a voice based interface.


Chatbot Conversation Flow


“[Responsive design is] always going to be a problem when we’re designing using static pixel tools instead of declaring relationships between things”.

Shouldn’t our design tools be as flexible as the platforms and environments they are deployed in?

I think so!

Breakpoint Bar Prototype Callout
Breakpoint Bar Prototype Callout
Autosize Callout
Autosize Prototype Callout
Axure Logo

Axure RP

Axure Adaptive View

The issue with both of my prototypes is that they only take into consideration screen based interfaces and only screen size rather than more environmental considerations such as touch vs mouse and keyboard.



Setting the Stage Icon

1Setting the stage

Mobile Post-it Flow Icon

2Mobile Post-it Flow

Voice Post-it Flow Icon

3Voice Post-it Flow

Fluid Post-it Flow Icon

4Fluid Post-it Flow

Fluid Wireframe

5Fluid Wireframe

Wireframe Test

6 Wireframe Test

Group Discussion

7Group Discussion

Fluid Material?

8Fluid Material?

The goal of the workshop was to test how designers worked in a platform agnostic way through several exercises and to see what their takeaways were from this process.

Post-it Flows

"I am more likely to buy when using voice and browse on my phone."

"Payment on voice would be strange for a first time [purchase]"

"Why don’t I use both platforms together?"

"voice and mobile [used together] could be a great experience?"

Workshop Process Photos

Fluid Material

The workshop concluded with the group addressing what they thought the Fluid Material should be; a core action, an action that must exist on each platform in order to complete the experience.

Core Action Block

Core Action

Action Stack

Action Stack

Action Stack Equation

Designed Scenarios

The next step was to implement the Fluid Material and the process of designing an interaction flow that is propagated to several platforms, in this case a mobile and voice platform.

Rideshare Icon


Movie Icon

Movie Purchase

Pizza Icon

Pizza Order

Rideshare Experience

Rideshare Interaction Flow First Pass Rideshare Interaction Flow Final Pass Rideshare Propagation to Screen Rideshare Propagation to Voice

Movie Purchase Experience

Movie Interaction Flow Movie Propagation to Screen Movie Propagation to Voice

Pizza Order Experience

Pizza Interaction Flow Pizza Propagation to Screen Pizza Propagation to Voice

User Feedback

"The application functions in a logical order and provides good feedback"

“speaking is far more natural”

"An exit or escape once the ride has been ordered needs to be added"

“[Voice is] much slower than on the phone unless it was to repeat order, the process was too long”

"Can I check the status on my phone after the request from voice?"


I propose a new design tool that looks to aid designers in creating the overall experience over designing for a platform. Allowing designers to consider non-screen based interfaces

Fluid Design Tool

Fluid Design Application Icon
Fluid Design Action Icon


Lights! Camera! Action! No movies here, but lots of actions. Actions make up the main interactions of your experiences.

Fluid Design Platform Icon


Design for any and every platform out there. Fully connected to all the other propagations all linked to the core actions.

Fluid Design UI Icon


Give all your experiences a fresh coat of paint! Whether colors and drop shadows or accents and tones.

Fluid Design Application Hero Image

Your Design Experience Elevated.

Action Stack Image
Core Action Block Icon

Actions Start your Experience.

Actions build the base of your experience and help to keep functions crisp and clear.

Add Platform Modal
Platform Icon

Multi-platform Support

Propagate all your actions to any platform. Create beautiful multi-platform experiences.

Screen Design Tools
Screen Design Icon

Screen Design Tools

All the tools you need to craft the best application on screen. Everything to create a great visual language.

Screen Design Properties
Phone Icon

Screen Design Properties

Adjust until your hearts content with all the expected properties for any screen interface element.

Voice Design Tools
Voice Icon

Voice Design Tools

All the elements in one place to assemble the perfect voice flow. From system responses to variables to the user requests.

Want to get started with voice design in Sketch? Check out my voice design template.

Voice Design Properties
Voice Icon

Voice Design Properties

With the voice design properties you are able to create just the right character for your application. Specify an accent or a tone really matching the mood of your users.

Link Feature Icon

Form Links Between Your Designs

With the Link feature connect all your actions to their respective interations. Helping you keep track of every action on every device.

Linked Interface
Handoff Feature Icon

Create Seamless Experiences Regardless of Platform

With Handoff you can create experiences that bridge platforms. Helping you design for the way we live everyday. Whether on our phones, or talking to our voice assitants.

Handoff Interface


Welcome Screen
Interaction Flow Interface Empty
Interaction Flow Interface Populated
Main Interface Empty
Main View Populated


Fluid Design is helpful in designing across different platforms, but showed the limitations when designing in a platform agnostic fashion.

Not all experiences should be propagated to their fullest extent on all platforms.

It also exposes a process of updating and propagating design decisions from one level of abstraction to another and back again.

Fluid Design helps to address what the future of our design tools may look like.

Future Works

Fluid Design addresses some of the questions around designing platform-agnostic experience, but could afford further study with more details and nuances for designers and their users.

Future Works: Context Aware Icon

Content Aware

Explore what a content aware design space would look like. Allowing designers to handle user environmental cases such as day or night modes.

Future Works: Motion Design Icon

Motion Design

Give designers the tools they need to animate at the object level. Allowing for high fidelity prototyping of all your screen designs.

Future Works: Sound Design Icon

Sound Design

Share the love of sound with your users. Sound design tools give you the power to share all kinds of sounds with your voice experiences.

Future Works: Development Handoff Icon

Dev Handoff

Create a clean and smooth process to handoff your design to developers. Share screen and voice specifications and from wireframes to fully rendered applications.

Future Works: Future Platforms Icon

Future Platform Test

Test out future platforms with Fluid Design. Ensuring that all the necessary tools are in place for the designing the best possible experiences.

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