Jakob Doesn’t Get RWD

Apps vs Responsive Sites

jakob neilsonNote: this post was published in July 2012!

Everyone agrees the future of the Internet is mobile. However, why is usability guru Jakob Nielsen, pictured here, arguing for a move back to separate apps ?

He believes Responsive Web Design(RWD) is not fit for purpose. Maybe he doesn’t understand it. To be fair, this year even web developers have been falling out of love with RWD.

Ground-Breaking Responsive Web Design

With the recent rise in super sized monitors and smartphone browsing, RWD seeks to solve this problem.

RWD was trailblazed by Ethan Marcotte (pictured here) in his tutorial, ‘A list apart’. It allows developers to group CSS rules into ‘media queries’ based on screen size. This means content can be displayed in a variety of ways, depending on screen size.

Jakob’s main argument is, whilst RWD allows you to change how the content looks, you can’t change what the content is.

Oh oh. Sounds like Jakob is in need of some technical education! Jakob, please go to your first lesson in the grey box.

Jakob’s First Lesson in RWD

Write this down Jak: Element{display:none;}

You can chose to show or hide anything on a web page, for any particular screen size you want. Just give it a class or ID.

  1. Want to hide a particular menu item? You can!
  2. Want to display something only on mobile? No problem.
  3. You can even shorten an article or post if you want.

This gap in knowledge is probably why Jakob has failed get on board with RWD.

Updating Content

Why RWD trumps a mobile app and a ‘full’ site is content is updated in one place.

We are still learning how best to present mobile content. I don’t believe we are there yet. Creating mobile sites is the most challenging and therefore exciting aspect of web design right now.

For me, RWD seems to hold all the answers… or am I missing something ?

2017-04-25T22:16:21+00:00 Jul 16, 2012|Digital Affordance, Fad or Innovation?|