Tag Archives: mobile web

“Against” Responsive Design

Responsive design is all the rage. But should readers be given the chance to view the shrunken site as if using a desktop browser? Are there limits for complex websites?

Mobile responsive website designs are all the rage. And for good reason. Designing sites and web applications that preserve their basic content and mark up across devices of all sizes, using now well-supported CSS (and very judicious additional client-side scripting) to adjust their behavior based on the end-user’s device, just “makes sense.” Ignoring small-display devices is not an option. Isn’t this so much more elegant than having completely separate and device-dependent code deliver entirely different website versions to mobile devices? Mobile-responsive designs are heralded as an advance in terms of user friendliness over both websites designed only for the full-sized browser window and over cut-down mobile-specific sites. But are there times when the responsive design itself limits end-user options in an unfortunate way? Unlike with “mobile only” site variants there is simply no way, in a responsive design, to have a button or toggle to allow the mobile user to see a shrunken-down version of what she would see in a large-screen browser window. Is that something we should be allowing for?
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