I don’t care about Responsive Web Design

Since Ethan Marcotte first lit the fire at An Event Apart in Seattle last year and later in that article, we’ve gone crazy about Responsive Web Design. But the more I think about what this means, the more CSS3 Media Queries I write, the more I realise something. I just don’t care about Responsive Web Design. I’ll tell you why.

When I started making websites in the late ’90’s, everything I made was “best viewed in Internet Explorer at 640x480px” because I didn’t know then that web design was any different from print.

Over the years screen resolutions got higher. 768, then 960, then 1120. Every step was an opportunity to make designs wider, but our thinking didn’t change much. We carried on designing single layouts for everyone. With a few notable exceptions, fixed-width, one-size-fits-all designs ruled the web.

Then the iPhone happened (and… you… knowtherest).

Today, anything that’s fixed and unresponsive isn’t web design, it’s something else. If you don’t embrace the inherent fluidity of the web, you’re not a web designer, you’re something else.

Web design is responsive design, Responsive Web Design is web design, done right.

And that’s why I don’t care about Responsive Web Design.

(Inspired by Jeffrey Veen.)


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