Responsible Responsive Web Design


  • In early 2012, my wife and I rented an apartment in Siem Reap, Cambodia. She was volunteering at a children’s hospital; I was clocking in remotely to build websites with my Filament Group colleagues back in the United States. I worked this way for months as we traveled the region, passing through some of the most resource-strapped places in the developing world—Laos, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Each stop offered an opportunity to use the web under the same, often constrained conditions that people who live there do. It tested my assump-tions as a designer and my patience as a user.
  • You’ve likely read that mobile services are the primary means of internet access for many in developing parts of the world, and my casual observations confirmed that. Glass cases displaying mobile devices I’d never seen before filled street market stalls (and helped stock my backpack with test devices). But while seemingly everyone had an internet-capable phone, I was sur-prised at how frequently people used cell networks to connect other devices to the web. A prepaid SIM card and a USB dongle was the usual means to get a laptop online. So it was for me too.
  • Using the web this way was an exercise in patience. I wasted hours toggling between partially loaded browser tabs and hitting refresh to watch another web app’s loading message spin atop a blank white page, eating away at the limited data I was allotted within my prepaid SIM card. As an advocate of best practices like progressive enhancement and responsive design, I would sometimes indulge in the thought that if only these sites had been built the “right way,” these problems wouldn’t exist. But if I was honest, I’d concede that many such best practices weren’t working as well as they could. Sadly, it appeared that the basic promise of access on the web is one we have yet to fulfill.

What you will learn:

  • Understand two responsible tenets: usability and accessibility.
  • Detect browser features and constraints to deliver an appropriate user experience.
  • Plan for good performance.
  • How to deliver HTM, CSS, images, fonts and JS responsibly.

Who should read this book

Front-end web developer want to learn about responsive design.