How responsive design frequently goes wrong
At smashing magazine there is an article called „Is there ever a justification for responsive text?“
So there are some people thinking about taking away content from users of small devices. In the comments some people really discuss about leaving out texts for users of mobile devices! What the heck!?!
Will people who own „just“ an tablet soon get a different web – with less content? A censored web?
Responsive design already very often means: Content removed.
And responsive design sometimes means a reduction of features. What is this good for?
I hate seeing crippled sites on my mobile device – even more: I have serious problems with responsive design, when it is not explicitly triggered by the user. As a user I want to find all functions and texts at the places I know from my desktop experience! Smartphones have easy-to-use zooming functions. It’s a piece of cake to read any part of a page designed for an ordinary screen, as long as I am able to find all parts of the site, where I am used to find them. So please leave the search form on the top right, don’t hide the nav at the bottom of an endless column of articles (which I for sure do not want to read completely!) – Why do I have to scroll for hours, when I want to leave a page?
Because someone said – and unfortunately wrote it in some well visited blog – that this is good user experience? To hell with that guy!
Good user experience is, when I get everything, I want – even on a small screen!
There is one more thing: a lot of devices can read the texts to the user. Why somebody who uses a screen reader on a device with a really small screen (let’s talk about screen resolution of 1 by 1 pixel!) should not be able to listen the whole text?
Again, and again and again, I want to ask all this strange responsitivity lovers: How you can know my needs and how you dare to decide what content I want to get – and what not.
So what do I suggest? Moderately change the layout, when you are running out of space. Use em instead of pixel to decide, when space is getting a problem. Give everybody the option to choose a linearized version of the content, shorten the texts to teasers for the people who decided to get a compact version of your site, with the possibility to chose, which texts they want to read completely (read more links) and a way back to the normal version any time.