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jakob neilsonUsability ‘guru’ Jakob Nielsen says we should ignore responsive websites and build separate apps instead. Seriously?
(Note: post was published July 2012)

Everyone agrees the future of the Internet is mobile. However, why is Jakob Nielsen, pictured, 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

Ethan Marcotte ElasticRWD seeks to solve the recent issue of visitors browsing on both super sized monitors & smartphones.

Trailblazed by Ethan Marcotte (pictured) in his tutorial ‘A list apart’, developers can group CSS rules into ‘media queries’. Depending on screen size, content can be displayed in a variety of ways. Jakob’s main argument is, whilst Responsive Web Design 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 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;}

What that means is, 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.

Syncing all your Content Updates

Why RWD trumps a mobile app and a ‘full'(desktop) 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 ?