Nobody outside of our Web Design world cares if the site is responsive, they just care if it works. And they probably have some battle scars from fighting anemic mobile sites.
Sure, it will take some time to change peoples’ mental model of what it means when a site looks different on their pocket-sized screens. But we must be doing something to help encourage that change, right? It’s not like we’re just silently launching responsive sites under the cover of night!
What methods do we use tell our audience that the new site we’ve just launched is new, improved, Responsive, and not one of those awful mobile sites you might be used to?
There will soon be a HTML native method to retrieve a device appropriate
<img>. It too will repeat the very same environment tests that both our CSS and JS have performed in order to modify their behaviour to the client’s capabilities. And in the case of HTML it will repeat these environment tests for every single
<picture>on the page.
This is incredibly inefficient, and has the potential to make hand-authoring web documents implausible. Not to mention the problem that’s really to blame: Our technologies need to sense the environment in unison and adapt to a design, not to a device.
Made with HTML/CSS (no images, no JS) this is a simple interactive experiment with responsive design techniques. Using simple layout wireframes, this illustrates how a series of pages could work across these different devices, by simulating how the layout of each page would change responsively, to suit the context.
It seems to me that we are slowly switching from publishing content for the Web, to making content accessible to Screen-Readers (SR) – from targeting users, to focusing on devices and modern browsers. We write about new techniques without considering fall back mechanisms, we use ARIA “hacks” that look like anti-patterns and we use frameworks that have chosen to ignore oldIE.
I’m afraid to say we’ve lost a few battles. As of today: “responsive design” beats “progressive enhancement”, “multi-device frameworks” beats “basic core support”, “screen-readers” beats “text-based browsers”. How did that happen?
With Government making rapid progress towards a single domain, we’re presented with a fantastic opportunity to start from scratch. So… GDS is turning to responsive design – a solution that we think can offer a high quality user experience that is both easy to use and performs consistently across a massive range of devices and screen sizes.Simply put, responsive design is the discipline of building a website based on a flexible grid system, where the elements on the page rearrange themselves depending on the size of the browser being used.