Design, CG Graphics & Inspiration
Responsive Web Design: Is It Really So Good?

Responsive Web Design: Is It Really So Good?

Anyone who can get three words in a line was trying to present the benefits of responsive web design, but what about its drawbacks? It can’t be perfect and have only pros and not even a single con. At this moment responsive web design adherents can get their tomatoes out of fridges and throw them at me. In this blog post I’m going to tell you why responsive web design does not fit some resources and especially blogs!

Website usability main principle is to give user what he expects, still responsive web design kills user’s mental model with a headshot. When you open a responsive website with your smartphone’s browser what will you see? A dried out version of a full-size website that in 65% cases does not contain what you need. Even though, your smartphone is capable to render a desktop version, even a Flash-charged one. Let’s take any blog as an example, its structure is a result of years of development, what we see is what makes it comfortable to browse through. In a responsive blog the first thing to disappear is a sidebar; it may appear in the least expected place, like a footer, or header where we don’t need it at all. When I browse with my tablet, responsive websites simply make me mad; they render the resolution of my screen and load the version they’re optimized for. Why would I need it if I want to see the desktop version, I’m not lazy to pinch and zoom!

Now let’s talk about the finances. There is no need to compare prices, even a child understands that a responsive website will cost more than a non-responsive one. Still, a responsive website is cheaper that a non-responsive + mobile, anyway check your statistics, how many users come to your website from a smartphone, not many? …any? Huh!

And don’t forget about time, it will take much longer to build a responsive website, + beta testing, + bug fixes, + unexpected errors and lots of other things that you can’t foresee.

Let’s take any non-responsive website and see how it looks like when viewed on a desktop and on an iPhone, we’re gonna see two peas in a pod, cause iPhone is built to render heavy websites, so why does the iPhone user need a mobile website, or the one that is optimized for its resolution if the Retina display easily “shows” even the tiniest elements. When the text looks way too tiny the page can be zoomed without causing any inconvenience for the user. More often than not, a well designed desktop site is perfectly readable on a mobile device, without you having to lift a finger to accommodate it.

The biggest argument behind RWD is that mobile devices are operating on the sub-broadband speed, what increases the load time of the website. Unfortunately, lots of responsive designs don’t decrease the load time. It is a habit of many designers to hide elements, but hiding does not mean preventing them from loading. A pretty good solution is a lazy loading, that is essentially a trick in which you choose to load the heaviest elements last.

You see, no matter how great something is, one can always find something bad in it. For some reasons people do not tend to see not-so-good sides in responsive web design. Any way time will show.

What you have just read is a fly in the ointment, that’s why I’d like to get smiles back to your faces offering something you will definitely like. This is an Interactive Infographic on Responsive Web Design that is a totally great thing even for non-supporters of responsive approach. It reminds an interactive game where each cell is hiding some valuable information – simply click-to-open. The infographic includes 15 blog articles, 5 quotes, 11 free PDF books, Google recommendations, as well as 65 tutorials, 20 plugins and 19 tools. Just check it out and you will definitely find something new about responsive web design and decide for yourself if it’s worth a try.

Responsive Web Design: Is It Really So Good?
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  • Alex Bulat,
  • August 20, 2012

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Alex Bulat is a Blog Columnist working for TemplateMonster. What he likes most is writing inspirational and “How to” articles. Alex Bulat on Google+

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  • I disagree with this article, and i think you should talk with someone like Luke Wroblewski. I agree that responsive patterns are not perfectly defined and that we need better tools for modern web, but i really think we should embrace it.

    Not far from now, they’ll be too many devices (watches, refrigerators, mirrors, etc… ), and we’ll absolutely need techniques to avoid designing specifically for each device.

  • Seems strange that someone who works for template monster will slag off rwd and then promote their own rwd infographic.

  • fjpoblam

    Well, then: if you’re going that way, consider this possibility. Should one design for mobile first, and then consider *whether* one needs to add media queries and have the website respond to display on a wide-screen device?

  • I disagree with this article, and i think you should talk with someone like Luke Wroblewski. I agree that responsive patterns are not perfectly defined and that we need better tools for modern web, but i really think we should embrace it.

    Not far from now, they’ll be too many devices (watches, refrigerators, mirrors, etc… ), and we’ll absolutely need techniques to avoid designing specifically for each device.

  • Seems strange that someone who works for template monster will slag off rwd and then promote their own rwd infographic.

  • fjpoblam

    Well, then: if you’re going that way, consider this possibility. Should one design for mobile first, and then consider *whether* one needs to add media queries and have the website respond to display on a wide-screen device?