I’m going to say it: responsive web design annoys me on any device apart from the iPhone. Often when I’m browsing the web I’ll resize my Safari window for a reason, maybe it’s so I can focus on an individual image without the distraction of content or it could be because I want to just see a column of text whilst I’m coding a website. Regardless, the reason why I resize my browser window isn’t important, the important reason is that I do do it.
The sudden surge of individuals and companies making their sites “responsive” means it’s sometimes impossible for me to do what I like to do. I’m not saying they can’t make the decision to do it; it is their website and they have every right to do what they want… I’m just saying that, as the user, I prefer to make the choice whether everything is fluid or not.
The only time I appreciate responsive website design is when I’m on my iPhone. Anybody with a smartphone will understand my frustration when it’s impossible to read a column of text on a site because it’s too wide. Applications like Instapaper have provided us with an easier way to read on the device, but sometimes it’s just not appropriate and responsive design is the only way we can read content of a page on our device.
I can’t wait for the day the trend of responsive design dies out.
Update: 16 July 2012
This blog post was written when I was young and foolish. I hit the ‘publish’ button too quickly without reading my post to see if I got my point across clearly. In all honestly, I was pretty much wrong. But I still stand by some of what I said.
Throughout 2010 and the beginning of 2011, even now to some extent, I was/am seeing poor implementations of responsive web design. For example, some sites may be completely fluid whilst being responsive and not have a max-width, so the measure (line-length) of the body text is hellishly long… other sites may have enormous headers or typography at illegible sizes.
In short, I was trying to tackle the issue of bad responsive web design. If you want to make your site responsive, then practice and test on as many devices as possible. Make sure the experience is always a good one, if you’re finding it difficult to read text… modify it. If the user has to scroll down a lot because your header is too big, figure out a new way to display your menu! It will take you time but, in the words of Ron Swanson: ‘never half ass two things, whole ass one thing’.