Jordan Moore (who wears rattlesnake skin shoes) on how to give users the option to “Toggle a Responsive Design On and Off”:
After years of m-dot websites users have been conditioned to feel that “View desktop site” means that the page is hiding something from them. That’s why I think trying to add language to the switch won’t work, it may create the feeling of deception that exists with many m-dot sites. Also using terms like “fluid” and “fixed” will mean nothing to the average user. The language would need to feel familiar and create an expectation – although in this situation, the user’s expectation is that the button will reveal a “full version” revealing the stuff that the page is hiding.
I agree with Jordan’s conclusion that a picture’s worth a thousand words, but not his choice of icons for fixed and responsive. His ‘fixed width’ reminds me of a list and his ‘responsive’ the (becoming a defacto standard) icon for revealing navigation.
Me? I think we already have icons for what Jordan wants to show. You’ll find them when you use Safari in landscape orientation on an iPhone. You’ll find them other places too, including Symbolset.
I think Symbolset’s keywords sum up the intent too, ‘expand’ and ‘contract’. Plus there are entities for these symbols too:
(I love how responsive design is prompting discussions like these.)