Dan Davies{ Front-end Developer }

Responsive web design 50/50

23rd March 2014

Some days I love responsive web design and some days I hate it.

It’s weird as up until I moved into the UX side of the company, I was all for it. Now though having spent a while looking at content heirarchy, what clients want and what I have to work with, I’ve realised that working responsive causes a lot of headaches that need not be an issue.

it’s been done to death the whole responsive web debate and I don’t want to really become one of them people. It still has a place and it comes down to the popular answer when people wonder if they need a responsive site. “It depends!”

And yes, it’s 100% true. Some sites are made for responsive. Some simply are not.

An example I always talk about when asked about responsive web design is a theme park. There is a case for a different experience for mobile and tablet/desktop here. One, for when you are lounging at home looking at something to do, booking tickets and so on and then we have the mobile for when you are in the park and looking for the rides or maybe the nearest toilet or whatever.

Is this possible in a responsive site? Maybe but there are certainly two different experiences there. Browsing at home and browsing there and then in the park.

Do we serve a mobile site? Maybe yeah. I see nothing wrong with that really.

It depends.

Aside from the experiences, I think we’ve fallen into a trap that we used to see and still do with people filling space with crap that simply isn’t needed. Sometimes, things flow just right whether it be 2 columns, 3 columns or full width. Sometimes, we fight the gaps that might appear.

Recently I was working on a fairly big project and I found myself trying to fill gaps with stuff. But this just caused problems at other breakpoints so we made the decision to leave space. Fuck it. We are being made to do something when really, we should accept it for what it is and move on.

Design it right and it won’t look that bad. Otherwise it starts to get a bit like a bad game of Tetris where we try and fit all sorts of stuff in.

Responsive web design is still pretty new. Images are still an issue and the punters are not really up to speed yet. I reckon we’ll see something new come along that sorts a few problems out but for now, it’s here. We shouldn’t let it determine what we do though.

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