Quite the Contrary: Non Responsive Websites Usually Work

The wikipedia describes responsive design as:

Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

You’ve all heard the big buzzwords, media queries, flat design and modular websites, our industry is thriving on these terms and everyone is chatting about them. A quick primer and touching base on some issues of repsonsive web design which we have all heard time and time again.

  1. Web Browser Performance
    1. Graphics
    2. Speed
    3. SEO
    4. Compatibility
  1. Complexity / UI & Other Limitations
    1. Building more than one site
    2. Time
    3. Money
    4. Mouse vs. Touch

I have another take on websites that aren’t responsive and I’ve based my facts on real word situations.

Medium - A responsive website
Today while at work I was speaking with my colleagues who were complaining that one of our standalone websites wasn’t being rendered well on an iPhone device. After showing me the responsive site, they proceeded to show me an example of a non-responsive site that they claimed responded very well on their device.

I listened intently, as I’m obsessed with what the user feels is a good experience from them. As a side note, many people out there try and confuse you for no apparent reason, and it’s up to us devs to make some sense out of. After all technology can be challenging to some, the fact still remains that people want to understand they just dont know how or cannot explain themselves thoroughly.

Responsiveness is great for image based websites, but for text it really doesn’t make any difference. Don’t get me wrong, I like using responsive techniques in my web designs and applications. To make a long story short modern mobile devices are developed to display non-responsive website designs effectively, and they actually do an excellent job. There will of course be exceptions that prove the rule, but those sites will look horrendous on a PC too.

So more often than not, a well designed desktop website will be perfectly readable on a mobile device, without you have to lift a finger to accommodate it. There are countless debates on responsiveness and if it’s just a fad or a UI pattern that will be over-ridden by another robotic like pattern, used, re-used and abused.

As a matter of fact some folks even think that media queries are a hack, while others are finding different ways to make websites respond.