Responsive Design is Useless

Modern mobile browser are becoming more and more capable. In fact, they are so advanced that you can use the one on your Android, iOS or Windows phone to browser the full web. Those very words were used by Google, Apple and Microsoft to market their respective browsers. You can open any page, then scroll around or zoom to the parts that you want to see more clearly, and it works very well because the browsers were made for it. There is just no sense to limiting what the user can do, when the browser allows him to do more easily.

From developer point of view responsive design is only trouble. You limit yourself to how you structure your page, because otherwise when the responsive design “turns on” on a smartphone it may mess-up the page.

Let’s assume that we don’t care for the developer, but only for the end user experience. What more does the responsive design bring to the table? Does the user see a better content? No, the content stays the same. Is it more readable or in better format for mobile? No, mobile browsers are really good at showing “the full web” and reading and interacting with it is a breeze. Can the user do something more or do something easily? No, in fact usually he can do less or in the best case just the same.

This is also true for separate mobile versions of web sites. The only exception is for web apps with lots of javascript like Basecamp or Gmail. Those two web apps have separate mobile version which provide a limited capabilities, in fact Basecamp Mobile is even a mostly static site. However, even they don’t use responsive design.

It becomes even worse when you go to tablets, especially the large 9”-10” tablets. For some unknown reasons on many web sites they trigger either a responsive design or a special mobile versions and you end up with a PC size screen but looking at something meant for phones. It’s ridiculous.

Smartphones browsers were made to browse the full web and there is no reason or need to provide a special version for them. Users don’t care about responsive design. Don’t solve problem that does not exist.

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