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11 Reasons why responsive web design isn't that cool!
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11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!

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Responsive Web Design

Since Ethan Marcotte published his seminal article on Responsive Web Design there’s been an explosion of articles related to this topic. The guy truly made a good work also publishing a book about it, deepening on what many consider, since then, should be a standard for web design. If you have no idea of what this thing is, this Responsive Web Design thing, but simultaneously you’ve been thinking and working on a way for your web projects to be viewable in multiple devices, then you are instinctively working on responsive web design. Here’s a little insight: The main objective of responsive web design is the inherent flexibility a website can acquire through the application of fluid grids, images and CSS Media Queries to adapt the content and design of the website to any device, even if it is a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPad or a Smartphone. You do not have to create a mobile version of your website; you do not have to create an application for every popular device on earth. Just one and it will adapt to everything.

The example below shows the responsive website www.cohenspire.com, and this is how we see a responsive website with different screen resolutions. The top of the image shows the website at a resolution of 1680×1050.

RWDimg

In its original size, the site displays on the left corner the main menu and in the right corner the social menu. Just below that is shown the title and description, which will have several changes thanks to media queries applied to fonts and images. In this image we find that the content tends to organize horizontally, from texts to images.

RWD1

With a resolution of 1024×768, the tablet version of this website does not differ too much. It displays basically the same content, with the exception that it rearranges the divs to fit the screen. It loses a 39 per cent of width compared to the size of the website shown before.

RWD2

With the next resolution (320 x 480), proper for Smartphones, there are relevant changes: we can see  that in the place where should be placed the social menu, it disappeared completely. This actually has a good reason to be since most social networks have applications to distribute its content on mobile devices, making a menu like that, if not irrelevant, misleading. The dark rectangle on top shows the main menu, which gets centered, and the highlighted rectangle at the bottom shows part of the content, which becomes vertically organized. The font size and images get smaller with this screen resolution. This image is perfect for an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S and its main characteristic is the shrinking of the texts, using the smallest font size possible, as well as a reduced size for the images. The website loses 1340px in width, making it almost 81 per cent smaller than the original width. You can actually see how different responsive websites look like with different screen resolutions with the web-based tool ScreenFly.

RWD4

“This is amazing!” Is what everyone might think. And yes, it is amazing: Just the promise to access a website from any device is kind of enough to make me start replacing my old HTML templates… or is it? Well, I don’t think so. Every proposal must have some weak points and this, as a “new one”, shouldn’t be considered the solution to the world’s problems. In the heat of the moment, not many people stop and think about the downside, the mistakes and the compatibility issues this proposal may have; and this is actually very normal. In the end, we’re just starting to know how this thing works, right?

However, the thing itself is not new. It’s been outside for quite a long time. In fact, if you use Adobe Dreamweaver frequently, you’d probably notice that a while back an update was released for the software, specifically the 11.0.3 Update. As noted on the description by Adobe, it includes HTML5 and Media Queries support, and also a Multiscreen button, allowing you to see how your website looks like with three different screen resolutions. This specific fact shows us two things: it indicates that Adobe was working on something related to responsive web design (it would be great to know how were they calling it back then) for a while before they actually release the update, and on the other hand, it gave us a hint on what should be the focus on mobile web design, or at least something to think through, like the fact that right now we’re not living in a desktop-based world anymore, instead of a mobile one. It is also very coincidental that Adobe’s update was released on August 31st 2010 while Marcotte’s book hits the streets in June 2011, almost 10 months after Adobe’s update. Would it be possible by any chances he was inspired by Adobe? We’ll never know. There’s no single mention to Adobe in his book whatsoever…

But speaking of sources against responsive web design, I realize I have found, though, only one article published in the blog Cloud Four pointing out important flaws to consider. Most of the rest consider the subject as the ultimate solution for web design. Negative points of view are as important as positive ones because the existence of a counterpart offers a vision to equilibrate the charges. It creates a debate and ultimately it helps us consider whether a proposal is good or bad. With that in mind, we’re going to point out the negative aspects we’ve encountered about responsive web design.

1. Image Resizing

This is a major issue considering that every good designer must rely on images to illustrate its concepts. In responsive web design this is the most problematic matter because resizing a desktop image to fit a mobile device’s screen implies downloading an image that’s been suited for a desktop environment. To view full images on a mobile device you need to download an unnecessary large file and resizing it to fit the screen. The next table shows an amazing example of the impact the load of large images has on mobile devices.

ORIGINAL RESIZED SAVED %SAVED
S. HOLMES holmesBig

33.9K

holmesSmall

10.5K

23.4K 69.0%
WATSON watsonBig

38.0K

watsonSmall

10.6K

27.4K 72.1%
M. HOLMES mholmesBig

29.8K

mholmesSmall

10.1K

19.7K 66.1%
MORIARTY moriartyBig

42.4K

moriartySmall

10.2K

32.2K 75.9%
ADLER adlerBig

25.4K

adlerSmall

10.0K

15.4K 60.6%
WINTER winterBig

33.9K

winterSmall

10.0K

23.9K 70.5%
TOTAL 203.4K 61.4K 142.0K 69.8%
A good practice, though, is that if your mobile project requires large images to be displayed but your target device only allows small images to be displayed, break those large images up into smaller sections and deal with them separately as recommended by the W3C in section 5.2.7.2 How to do it of Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 Basic Guidelines.

2. Resizing images forces CPU and memory

Viewing a responsive website on a mobile device forces the CPU and memory of it while resizing images because you are downloading a large image, uncompressing it in your phone’s memory and then resizing it to fit a small screen. This process takes about 3 bytes per pixel of memory, so a 1024×768 image will take about 2.36 MB of memory. Most clients only request 4 images in average at the time, but 9.44 MB is still a lot for a page load. A recommended file size for images in a mobile context could be 100×100, but this is kind of utopic since a suitable image for desktop websites exceeds that resolution.

On the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 Basic Guidelines, released by the W3C, at point 2.6 Device Limitations, it’s shown that:

“Some activities associated with rendering Web pages are computationally intensive – for example re-flowing pages, laying out tables, processing unnecessarily long and complex style sheets and handling invalid markup [T-MOB]. Mobile devices typically have quite limited processing power which means that page rendering may take a noticeable time to complete. As well as introducing a noticeable delay, such processing uses more power as does communication with the server.”

And they add:

“Many devices have limited memory available for pages and images, and exceeding their memory limitations results in incomplete display and can cause other problems.”

They also refer to the Adaptation Implementation Model on section 3.3, regarding to in-Network adaptation, indicating that:

In-Network adaptation is where the content is altered as it passes through one or more network components. Some network operators, for example, compress images before they are passed over the air to the mobile device.”

This specific fact forces the mobile device to uncompress and resize the image, using the memory and the CPU of the device to show a result in its screen.

However, if your project needs require resizing images, you can use the tool imgble, a web-based tool which could help you resize your images to best fit a mobile device screen. This is a great way for you to adequate images.

3. Mobile devices download non-viewable data

One good example for this can be viewed within the old dconstruct 2010 website. It displays, as the site grows bigger, bigger images of the speakers, which were not viewed on mobile devices thanks to CSS media queries placed on the div where the images are. Instead, labels are shown with the names of the speakers when the width is lesser than 450px, fitting perfectly some of the most popular mobile devices. Although this is kind of cool, images were still being downloaded on the device. This can be identified by making a copy of the website into a local server, loading it on a device and watching the web server logs to see what was downloaded. Other way is by setting up a computer as a proxy server and set the device with it to see if every request to the site was logged. Both cases showed the same result: the device downloaded 172K in photos that were not seen.

dConstruct

Now, they create a new version for their 2011 responsive website, probably learning by the positive and negative exposure they’ve got during the last months in the articles by Rachel Andrews of Smashing Magazine and the one by Jason Grigsby from the blog Cloud Four respectibly. The new layout does not remove the images of the speakers when viewed on a mobile device, it just makes them smaller.

dConstructNEW

When the website is accessed from a mobile device, it has two good improvements. The first is the fact that the images of the speakers do not disappear, but instead resized at a proper size to fit the screen. As we see in section two of this article, image resizing is not a good practice, but here we can apply the law of the lesser of two evils, since downloading images that would not be seen is actually worst than resizing them. The only change, also well planed is the removing of the hover on the images showing the description over, since it is basically worthless in mobile devices, but very useful in desktops.

dConstructNEWmobile

The second aspect is that the mobile version also highlights the location button. Previous versions of the website did not pay attention to this button, probably the most important one along with the register button. But it still has issues to work on, because if you click on it, it just shows you a map with some pins indicating where the conference, workshops, pre party and after party sites are, but it has no relation with the registrant whatsoever. No geolocation feature and no directions are included, making the map nearly decorative. On the other hand, the info below the map is very difficult to reach, since the map is within an iframe, if you sweep, what you are going to see is more  of the map; you actually have to tap and sweep the border of the map to scroll down.

map2011

4. Mobile speed vs. Desktop speed

There are several factors that affect mobile speed. With 3G connectivity, being the greatest feature the type of coverage. For this there are as well several types like GPRS, or 2.5G, which has a download rate of 64 Kbps and a 20 Kbps upload rate. UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) or 3G, which has a download rate of 14Mbps and is the most popular nowadays with several releases and updates. HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) is the 5th revision and optimization of UMTS, also known as 3.5G, 3G+ or turbo 3G. It has a 14Mbps download rate. There is also HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access), which is the 6th release of UMTS and the evolution of HSDPA, also known as 3.75 (3.75G) o 3.5G +; this technology offers improved rates of voice and data.

HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) is the combination of previous releases, HSDPA and HSUPA, and it has a theoretical download speed of 14.4 Mbps and a 2Mbps upload rate. In addition, HSPA+ is an evolved state of HSPA. It was released in 2008 and has a download rate up to 84 Mbps and a 22Mbps upload rate. Finally, e-UTRAN (evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network), possess low data transfer latencies and download rates up to 299.6 Mbps, not being yet widely implemented.

If we have the possibility to count on a good mobile internet connection, there is still a secondary factor for mobile speed to consider: the type of device in which we’re connecting to the internet. These devices could be of any kind and they will be connected to the fastest network when the device and the network itself allow to.

OK. You manage to have a good type of coverage and an excellent device. But that’s not all. There are still some other aspects that affect mobile speed like the intensity of the signal, which could be at its full potential depending on the coverage area and the obstacles the device finds while trying to reach a 3G node. The mobility of the user affects speed since the device has to leave a 3G node to reach a new one if the user is, let say, on a car or a bus. Also, you have to add up the saturation of the network’s 3G node and the node itself you are connected, because the more users a node has, the slower the service gets.

These features are regarding 3G connectivity, but what about WI-FI? Well, WI-FI networks have a greater capacity to transfer voice or data thus making you web experience better. One might think a WI-FI network is a good choice, but it is actually worst because these are usually protected by its owner and because of its local condition, they are not everywhere; in order for you to find one, you’d probably have to go or get near to a café, an airport or a shopping mall, and this fact is not going to guarantee the connection is going to work fine.

This infographic from the blog Marketing Tech Blog is amazing to understand the difference and the impact of mobile and desktop internet speed reaching to an intriguing conclusion: an e-commerce website making $100,000 per day could actually be losing $2.5 million annually with just a 1 second delay.

loading-time-lrg

Because of all of these, mobile devices need to be resourceful. On desktop computers we would not probably notice websites’ latency unless poor planning results in a very slow website or because of a slow internet connection. However in mobile devices, even on iPhones –good handlers of internet content– mobile speed takes important place while loading a website, so is relevant for if to be appropriately built for a mobile device.

5. Hiding background images is a bad idea

Using CSS media queries isn’t very bad to handle images and one might think hiding background images is a better idea than using labels. Well, the display:none won’t stop a background image to be downloaded on a mobile device2. Other part to consider is that if you use CSS media query to replace the background image with a mobile version; in some cases it would actually download both images4. Nonetheless, there are two cases that seem to work: setting the parent of the element with a background image to display:none3, and using a min-width declaration to specify a minimum browser width for the desktop image and a max-width for the mobile image5. The result of both is only the mobile image been downloaded and viewed on the mobile device.

On the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 Basic Guidelines, it is specified at point 2.3 Bandwidth and Cost that:

“Even if the content type can be interpreted by their device there is often an issue with the experience not being satisfactory – for example, larger images may only be viewable in small pieces and require considerable scrolling.’”

And they also add:

“Web pages can contain content that the user has not specifically requested – especially advertising and large images. In the mobile world this extra material contributes to poor usability and may add considerably to the cost of the retrieval.”

6. More code, more to update

The whole point of responsive web design is the potential to be viewed on different devices and, as we saw before in this article, mobile internet speed is slower than desktop internet speed; in order for your responsive website to be faster you need to add more code to the template. Every developer knows as a moral standard that adding more code will always be an option to consider because more code means more to update. Sometimes the use of code could improve the performance of a website. For example, most developers usually have code they will not use, like using an h1 and em tags to do what could be done with an organized font-style in a css file. Also, loading javascript at the end of the document because javascript blocks the load of the page until it finishes downloading and executing it.

Using external Javascript and CSS files helps to improve the website’s speed and using Ajax for pages to be asynchronously updated whenever a user needs it. But as you add more code to your files, these become increasingly difficult to manage, edit and update. You would not just be doing an already tedious job but you will spend more time doing it. So using the correct amount of organized code is the first step for a website to load fast.

infographic-mobile-BLOG

So as a result of good coding practices, a faster website load, as shown in the infographic by www.strangeloopnetworks.com, is key for user engagement and will affect whether a user returns to the website o not. More code means more time to wait. You’d probably want to avoid that.

7. CSS media queries will not remove unnecessary code (JavaScript or html)

There are components working perfectly on a desktop version of a website, but in some cases they are not going to show up in the mobile version; it could be a video, an embedded map or an image. CSS media queries work incredibly well hiding things, but not that well removing them. CSS media queries won’t remove any unnecessary script or html you won’t use on mobile or desktop versions. It just leaves it there: hidden.

8. CSS media query is a bad choice for multiple devices

mobile

As indicated on the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 Basic Guidelines at point 2.6 Device Limitations, most devices often do not support scripting or plug-ins, limiting the content which can be viewed. They said:

“Mobile browsers often do not support scripting or plug-ins, which means that the range of content that they support is limited. In many cases the user has no choice of browser and upgrading it is not possible.”

Responsive web design’s promise is to be compatible with every device, but this method relies on CSS media queries to achieve its goals; the bad news is that most mobile devices are not compatible with CSS media queries. This table shows the compatibility of CSS with most mobile browsers and Smartphones and although these issues have been corrected on newer versions of popular mobile operating systems like Android Gingerbread and iOS4 it shows us that even with safari on iPhones, the styles are not updated when the resolution changes and CSS media queries do not work with most Nokia, Samsungs and early versions of Android.

9. “Great mobile products are created, never ported”

FAppVsFMobile

Brian Fling, Author of the book Mobile Design and Development actually makes a lot of sense with this statement. On page 66 he illustrated perfectly why a mobile web site often achieves a different goal than the one its developer intends in the first place because mobile devices generally possess quality features which are made to ease people’s lives. He wrote:

“Take an airline website, for example. Simply taking the web experience and trying to put it on a small screen doesn’t help the user at all; in fact, it has the opposite effect. If the user is on the way to the airport and needs to check whether a flight is delayed, the last thing your user has time to do is scroll around to find where to check flight times. If you’ve found yourself racing to make a flight and needing to find your flight information, such as times, gate, etc., you need that information quickly.”

This probably wouldn’t matter much if your segment is publishing or blogging, but in other industries, understanding the context and the needs of the user will most likely lead you to create a different website for mobile users.

10. Mobile needs are different from desktop needs

Recognizing the mobile context is not just to be aware of the difference between screen sizes. Responsive Web Design does not recognize the mobile context because it just adequates a website to fit a screen, but it omits key mobile features like the location of the user, the connectivity, the time the user has and the information the user needs, hardware limitations, software potential, overall performance of the device, aspects like lighting, sound, visibility, accessibility and privacy. Each one of these is as important as a single piece for a great mobile experience that if you focus your design skills to adequate a desktop website for a mobile device, you’re missing the advantages the device could offer.

[This Chart from Morgan Stanley published on the website Online Marketing Trends shows the incredible global mobile sales’ growth and the estimated within the next two tears. Since 2005 the annual desktop sales’ growth has been stable, with some years decreasing. Instead, the mobile market, due to its low prices, has grown from less than 100 million that year to more than 300 million in 2011, and the estimated growth is increasing almost exponentially, locating 2012 as the inflection year, when there would be more Smartphones that PCs around the world.

mobileVSdesktopSales

This means more people want the features provided by mobile devices and Smartphones and the possibilities they bring. These features are usually ignored with a responsive website, and ignoring this context is a dangerous bet for web designers.

The Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 Basic Guidelines makes a lot of sense when it indicates at point 3.1 One Web, that there are diferent contexts for diferent services and devices. They indicate:

“Some services have a primarily mobile appeal (location based services, for example). Some have a primarily mobile appeal but have a complementary desktop aspect (for instance for complex configuration tasks). Still others have a primarily desktop appeal but a complementary mobile aspect (possibly for alerting). Finally there will remain some Web applications that have a primarily desktop appeal (lengthy reference material, rich images, for example).”

Regarding presentation issues, most of the websites are designed exclusively to desktop computers and not only are they designed for that but to exploit the capabilities of desktop browsers and software. So accessing a website with these characteristics turns out to be a bad experience for the user. There are factor like pages not suited and bad laid.

This limited size also affects the visibility since it requires the page to be constantly scrolled down, especially if the top of it is filled with images or logos (as it happens with responsive websites).

11. Better create a mobile website than a responsive one

We test three different websites’ home pages and their mobile versions with YSlow, and we found there are significant differences regarding performance in both versions of the tested sites, which are between the 10 most visited around the world (YouTube, Yahoo and Wikipedia). The Wikipedia website has an overall performance average score of 92 (out of 100) and its weight is 16.5 times greater in the desktop version. It also has 13 less HTTP requests (the lesser HTTP requests it has, the faster the website will load).

WikipediaStats

Yahoo’s weight difference is not as remarkable as Wikipedia’s. It is only 3 times bigger that mobile and it has an overall performance average score of 96.5. We can all agree it’s still better to load 167.9K than 501.6 though. The amount of HTTP requests in this case is reduced by 20.

YahooStats

In the case of YouTube, its overall performance average is 97 and the weight difference between websites is enormous. Mobile version is 15 times lighter and it has 22 less HTTP requests than the desktop version.

YoutubeStats

Mobile versions of a website include less HTML, lighter JavaScript and CSS files or none at all, and smaller images. A responsive website won’t stop the browser from loading content you don’t need.

Regardless of these problems, it’s essential to have in mind that responsive web design is a great way not to use it as an ultimate solution, but as a step towards integration among platforms. Every day the technology industry is striking the market with new devices, computers, Smartphones and tablets. So we, as designers and developers, have to choose between focusing on the development of applications for every device with a good market share, or apply the rules of a web design that fits everything. The first job is not only time consuming but will draw your resources at a lightning’s speed; the second one would be easy to build but it won’t capture all the advantages mobile devices have to offer. The offset option is to create mobile versions of our websites, which is certainly a wise choice. Still, it is important to specify that a responsive scheme settles a ground on web design and extends a wide range of opportunities to experiment and test on the vast variety of new, intuitive and fast devices. Whether this becomes a standard for web designers or only stands as an alternative way of designing, only time will tell.


347 Responses to “11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!”

  1. Which is why people are advocating for mobile first..  Did you even read the book?

    He talks about this in the book.

    • Yes Manik, we did read the book, that’s why we tried to emphasize on those aspects why responsive design is not always the best solution.

  2. great article, thanks for the post.

  3. I am not a huge fan of responsive layouts. I think its best to have a regular site and then a separate design for mobile visitors. I keeps things looking good and the bugs away.

    • You’re right Aj, though responsive design can be really great for simple websites such as weblogs…

    • Mickey Mouse
      September 10th

      You probably don’t know how to build them. I’ve seen this before. “Sour grapes”.

    • well, actually building them is not the problem: anyone with basic knowledge of HTML and CSS can. We think it’s important everything has a counterpart.

    • crabbit
      July 16th

      Well.. if you use % and em to build your website then you have very little to work through media queries, if at all. I do not encounter any bugs in my designes, and about content like sidebars they should be avoided for mobile devices and should be hidden and forced not to load when page loads on mobile. Having two seperate sites is pain in the ass and clients usually runs away from it, specially if they want to maintain the website by themself. So the answer is no, no separate websites for devices, there is no reson to complicate things. Learn abit more of css and java and you’ll get around your problems with bugs.

  4. Very nice article post :)
    Thanks for your research.

  5. Amazing article. I was thinking about make a responsive design for our page, but now I understand it’s not the way. 
    The question would be, how can I load a different index or subdomain when users saw my site in a mobile?

    I know if we use css query media can load a different css. but how can I use the same behaviour but for the php or html layout? So, in that way, I don’t need have another domain or something like that.

    Hope can understand me =)

    • thanks Tanya, glad you enjoy this article. We’ll deepen on mobile website design on next articles for you to learn all you need to know, Stay with us!

  6. This makes me feel a little more at ease with the hype of responsive design. It felt a little unbalanced at first. But this just points out the realistic aspects of it, that it really isnt the silver bullet. Thanks for taking the time to write that up and share.

    • thanks Alex! it’s nice that you consider all the options! feel free to share your experiences while designing websites, they’re always welcome

  7. Although Responsive design is cool, but I prefer having a separate version for mobile ones. Sometimes things just does not go right even if you follow the design and displays not that good on mobiles. 

    • you’re right Ethan, we will be pleased to see your mobile website versions. Have you also consider the development of mobile applications or do you prefer mobile websites? tell Us!

  8. I think a responsive design is better than a website that shrinks to unreadable proportions from a mobile phone. While your article is well taken, I believe–at least for the time being–I’ll stick to a responsive design. Easy for me my sites are simple.

    • you said it Peter. Responsive design is a great method for simple sites. The problems appear when your target audience needs information as quickly as possible using key features of the device, like geolocation. Solving this issues is the next step for this method to become the way of the future.

  9. are you an idiot? did you even read the book? stop being so negative!

    • Bob, we did read the book and that’s why we give you the alternative to have another point of view. Remember, it’s not a bad design method, it just needs to be solved in some major issues.

  10. This is a very informative article. Nowadays most web designs that are suitable for desktop use are now integrated on mobile. People like me would go for versatility where I can carry all my work rather than to sit all day on my desktop so I can save time and have greater time to spend with my family.

    • glad you like it Imogen. Responsive web design has its flaws but remember, it sets a new way of design for multiple platforms!

  11. I’ll choice responsive first.

  12. hannamay
    August 29th

    Perfect, just perfect!

  13. So now we should assume one size fits all? Not every website could implement a responsive design (yet). But there’s no reason we should completely ignore media queries all together. The techniques of responsive design are and will always be improved.

    • Yeah you’re right Joshua, though responsive design has still many things to be improved, it shouldn’t be completely overlooked.

  14. Well love your post, very informative. I enjoyed reading and learned something. Keep writing nice articles.

  15. Clark Minn
    August 30th

    I have learned a lot from the post you have for us…Thank you!!

  16. http://caniuse.com/#search=media

    Media queries are more supported than your outdated table shows. I personally do use responsive layouts and believe the drawbacks are not significant enough to stop responsive web design from becoming standard in the future.

    Within several years (3 – 4) most carriers will have completed their 4g networks and most consumers will be on mobile devices most of the time. Tablets are on the rise and the size of smartphone screens is also growing. 

    I believe these points make it safe to use RWD in most cases.

    • Asaf, responsive web design can (and probably has to) become a standard in the future, so it’s better to solve this issues quickly, which are not minor if you really know the context and the needs mobile users have.

  17. Interesting article, and several good points I hadn’t read before. But, then, I’m pretty new to the responsive web design idea. Nice job on the content. I really enjoyed that part.

    Now for the suggestion: Hire a proofreader! I can’t believe the number of typos and sentences with structure in this article. This is my first time on the WebDesignShock site, so I’m not familiar with who is behind it. And it’s not evident in poking around on the site. Perhaps the site is written by folks for whom English is non-native? If so, then it’s pretty well done. If not, though, please review your high school English.

    According to the “About Us” section: “We are a design blog dedicated to provide high quality articles and web resources.” (Even this sentence should have used the word “providing” rather than “provide.”) Part of an article’s quality level definitely has to do with the grammatical. The article could really shine with a little grammatical polish.

  18. On the one hand, I agree – websites tend to work a lot better if they’re designed for each device individually. I know that when I’m using my iTouch and I see a good looking site, it’s specifically designed for mobile devices.

    On the other hand…who has the time?

  19. great article, love it

  20. Carolyn
    August 31st

    Well first of all I’d like to point out that Ethan’s Article on Responsive Web Design was May 25, 2010 before the August 31st Adobe update. But that’s just a minor point. I do think you have brought up a ton of good points here about why responsive web design is not in itself the complete answer to the future of web design. But I do agree that it is super useful for a simple site html site and I think if you have such a site, this is how it should now be designed. But there are so many more sites out there that will require a separate mobile version. I’ve been reading up on this subject lately and I’m a bit overwhelmed not knowing where to begin. Our websites are currently in a fixed width layout and do not have mobile versions. So my task at hand is to now figure out the best way to make our sites “mobile friendly” or which sites to make responsive and which sites to make a mobile version of. Then I also realize there is mobile website version vs. mobile app. Not sure which is better and/or what are the differences in knowing which one to consider?

    • You pointed out important things Carolyn. I truly think a great design would somehow act like Wikipedia’s desktop layout. It’s a simple but powerful website that’s kind of responsive without the need of media queries, but the handling of images continues to be the major issue to solve for responsive web design to become a standard. A good start could be reducing file size without reducing quality, don’t you think?

  21. Great post, thanks for sharing your tips. I like responsive design, and it’s good for building easy website.  

  22. I really do not like your article. Responsive web design is not mobile design and everybody should know that. Responsive design is just to give users the best experience in multiple screen resolutions. Giving users a fixed sized website is obsolete even if media-queries might have some issues, it is the best tool we have for the problem. Media-queries are maybe not perfect for mobile specific design, but better than server people a desktop layout. It all depends on the project. For me all websites should be responsive and it even feels stupid to continue creating fixed designs. Just my two cents!!

    • Hi Hans, it seems that you misunderstood our words. Responsive design is a great solution for adapting to multiple resolutions indeed, the problem is that for mobile devices it’s usually more effective to develop a site apart to guarantee an optimal performance and readability.

  23. There are several good points here and responsive design is not a silver bullet. However, thousands upon thousands of web sites will benefit from using the methodology. Only when the mobile site needs information that can only be supplied by a mobile device (GPS information and contact info at this point) do you run into a disparity between mobile web and mobile apps. Your example of airline information can be handled just as easily (and prominently) in a site using responsive design as it could be in an application.

    I do want to point out maintenance is not the headache that you propose it to be. When you have to coordinate the maintenance of several different applications (and perhaps on several different platforms) intended to deliver the same information you run into just as many issues.

    This article is good food for thought, it just misses the mark in some areas.

    • Thanks for the comment Jay. Can you show us how could the airline example be handled using responsive design?

  24. Every single one of your objections evaporates if you begin with small-screen layout, small-screen content and small-screen images; then enhance up for larger screens.

    Progressive enhancement. It works.

    (typed on my iPhone …very tricky on this unresponsive page)

    • @WebDesignShock: I would like to see a reply to Jeremy’s comment here.

      You seem to be ignoring some very good points made in the comments. For example, elsewhere Carolyn pointed out that the original responsive design article on ALA dates to May 2010, predating the Adobe Dreamweaver update you mentioned. You clearly read her comment, but have chosen not to amend your article to apologise for (or justify) your little conspiracy theory. 

    • I totally agree. Progressive enhancement and responsive design go together very well. Another thing the article doesn’t point out is the cost of having to develop different sites or apps for every type of device. For larger companies with a big marketing budget this isn’t that big of a deal, but for your local entrepeneur this is often way to expensive. I dislike the negative vibe of this article. I would rather see an article wich is more based on sollutions…

    • Bram, would you like to try a guest article about these solutions ? more info here: http://www.webdesignshock.com/authors/

    • Great idea, the next couple of weeks I’m rather busy though (still have my own website in the making), but when I’m done I’d like to contribute.

    • fantastic, we can give you good advertising for your website ;)

  25. Just a doubt, the links that you’ve given for reference
    are all old(posted on 2009- http://www.quirksmode.org/m/css.html#t021 / posted on 2010- http://www.cloudfour.com/css-media-query-for-mobile-is-fools-gold/), do you think still the issues are
    not fixed in mobile devices??

    • hi Madhavan. they are not fixed in every device. Remember, you may be using iOS or Android, great operating systems for great devices, but not everyone does have them, think of those with a standard mobile phone: they also want to be able to access websites from their phones, don’t they?

  26. Personally I hate it when I visit a website on my mobile and it is different from when I visit it on my desktop. Unlike someone else staed in the comments, I actually LIKE IT when a site scales down to my mobile screen. I get a full overview of the site and can just zoom (pinch) into whatever I want to read.
    But not everybody is the same, I realize that, so it should it be about choice rather than responsive or different designs?
    Has there ever been a UX studie about sites that offer you a choice of what version you want to load? (maybe offer a choice between desktop, medium and phone (small) and then load one after x seconds if no choice is made.
    Better would be if browsers all had an option the user could set, but it is too late for that now. People rarely think things through before they dive in do they?

    • Thanks for sharing your ideas with us Evert. In fact, those are very good ideas on browser support and mobile website implementation. Feel free to share the progress of your web projects with us!

    • Jameson
      September 10th

      Depending on the site, many already default to a mobile version, with the desktop site accessible at the bottom of the page. If you had to choose between the three for every site, from a user perspective, it would be exhausting.

  27. I stopped reading when you suggested that Ethan’s work was ‘inspired’ by a Dreamweaver update that was released several months after his ‘Responsive Web Design’ was published on A List Apart.

  28. Jason Pant
    September 10th

    So you took one incredibly misinformed point, made it eleven and stumbled all the way through it. This is one of the worst articles I’ve read in a while.

  29. Jackson
    September 10th

    This seems like an attempt to ride the coattails of everyone involved in this book, while simultaneously yelling from rooftops that they’re wrong.

    If you read the book, and really truly understood the concept, you’d understand that the trend with responsive design is to start designing for mobile first, so the load times are natural for mobile, and increase incrementally for larger screens.  

    Of course I just horribly summarized it, but I think you put way too much time and effort into debunking a GOOD trend in web design and development, from genuinely talented, involved people.

    • We wanted to show responsive web design has some issues needed to be solved to be a great option. Knowing these issues allows us to correct them on time.

    • “This seems like an attempt to ride the coattails of everyone involved in this book, while simultaneously yelling from rooftops that they’re wrong.”

      I concur. For pete’s sake the illustration of the article is Ethan’s cover, and his name is the second word in the content. The title of the article tells is that responsiveness “…isn’t that cool” after all and that does seem to be the take away with many readers. Yet, all I really got was that it IS cool, except for mobile phones – and even there I’d say the real lesson is to be careful.

      I did find a few interesting bits of information – the insights on hidden images still downloading was something I hadn’t really thought about.

      But for the most part it felt like trolling.

      Regards, B

      PS – Anyone notice this goofy blue background under the comments fields are PNGs and not CSS? WTF!? Any why is the text area so narrow in a fixed width layout anyway?

  30. I tried to read your article, but the font size is too small on my mobile device. Perhaps you should consider a mobile version of your site?

  31. Thanks for writing the other side of the story. I’m still pretty sure that the whole responsive web design movement is a healthy philosophical change for our industry – but you’ve done well to point out the counterpoints that very rightly must be addressed for responsive design to truly be effective for the future.

    Thanks!

    • you’re welcome Joel. We’re glad you liked the article and you’re right, responsive web design is important for the future but it needs to improve its weak points first!

  32. Personally, I hate to surf the net on a phone. The speed is extremely slow and the screen is so small, it hurts my eyes.

    I think creating a mobile-specific site is extra, unnecessary work. It’s annoying to have to remember that there are 2 sites that need to be updated with the same information. I know this is true for most other people.

    I recently did a survey with the group of people I work with, and most preferred either desktops or laptops. Almost no one liked surfing the net on a phone. Tablets aren’t as common yet, but quickly gaining popularity. My feelings seem to be the same as as my coworkers.

    Thanks for the long, detailed post!

    • Thanks Adam! we’re glad you take the time to share some of those results with us. even on a smaller scale they end up being as useful as large surveys.

  33. Responsive doesn’t necessarily mean mobile design, right?

    It’s perfectly fine to make a desktop version be responsive on different resolutions and tablets, for example.

    Mobile is a different scenario and in that case mobile first or mobile exclusive should definitely be considered. 

    • you’re right Marco, responsive is not the same as mobile web design. We must consider many features mobile devices offer before designing a website for it.

  34. Those are not 11 valid points, for starters you use the image load thing multiple times. And why is it more CPU intensive ? Can’t I have more images ready to use for the different layouts (already processed, ‘cuz I do..) ?

    Responsive webdesign is not the ultimate, all-good thing no, but it beats any fixed webdesign all the time.. And “mobile” websites, at what resolution do you build ‘em ? Or do you consider every other phone and tablet resolution ?? Talk about “more code, more to update”..

    • They are valid Tom. Image handling is a major (if not the most important) issue to solve here. As we’ve stated, responsive web design needs to solve it’s flaws to become a standard. It’s not wise to omit them and continue

  35. Thanks Cheyenne!

  36. Dominicanstan
    September 16th

    I did read the book!
    Great post, your are right on all the 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!

    I created responsive design while reading the book but went back after using it for a while and finding out some of the 11 reasons you said, helpful + thank you!

  37. What if you design your website so that it doesn’t rely on images a lot and you create your website with mobile devices in the back of your head from the start?

    I’m in the process of creating a site for a beginning convention. From the start I have the idea of making it responsive, so I try to create a site that gives information fast and clear but with a design that visually shows the visitor what the convention is about without creating too much fluff (e.g.: big background images, flashy extra’s, etc.). By doing this I already address various downsides to responsive design.

    I hope that made any sense? XD 

    • Sure it would be great not to rely that much in images, but they tend to be better when explaining or implanting an idea, so their use becomes necessary. although if you can create an excelent website without needing many images and still looks great, feel free to share it with us!

  38. Thanks for the enlightening article of the truth as sometimes hype can blind someone. I was struggling on how am I incorporate my personal concept website with lots of graphics, portfolio of my works, all into a responsive design. You had clear me off with better solution and demographic point of view. I remembered there was a talk about loading heavy scripted site using smart-phone will take lots of batteries power. And I believed it so as I had experienced them on my full-charge smart-phone and log into facebook, twitter, website and video and in half hour, my battery power was half gone. As for my under-construction website, I just use responsive design cause is only single page.

  39. Great stuff, thanks! The most important element of a mobile view is the pertinent information – location, registration, contact. Usually those on mobile are on the go. Pictures are nice (nicer on an ipad), but not the deciding factor when you need to get a hold of the company information fast.

  40. Nene Odonkor
    September 22nd

    You know you make a good case and I agree with you on some issues. Am glad I read it though but I know in a few years time issues you raised like making the CPU work just to resize images will be a thing of the past. I recently heard of an phone by HTC that has a computing power of 1.5 Ghz. A motorola phone that is a dual-core. The thing is the gap between computers and mobile devices in terms of computing power will close. The issues will only have is basically screen size and the touch screen era. :)

    But you know I have decided that on my next website I will go responsive but in a different way. That is Desktop responsive websites and Mobile responsive websites. So it is still a bit specific for the platform but still flexible to fit different screens.

    THANKS! YOUR CRITICISMS HAVE GIVING ME A DIFFERENT VIEW AND A BETTER WAY TO MAKE MY WEBSITES RESPONSIVE AND EFFICIENT.

  41. Nice post

  42. Regarding nr. 2 & 3, I’d solve the issue with some code, and let some function is_mobile() decide e.g. what kind of image to serve.
    But how can you have both number 6 and 11 in this list?

  43. Although you do propose a lot of arguments against responsive design, there are still an increasing number of branded sites using intermediate solutions until more advances designs can be constructed.  Yes load time is essential, so you need to have a sound strategy for your overall user experience and make compromises.

  44. brandon
    October 6th

    I appreciate you pointing out that even if images don’t how up on a mobile device, doesn’t mean they weren’t downloaded. I had not considered this fact. However, couldn’t this be solved by having a default (basic) css file shared by mobile and desktop browsers, and the have a separate css file for desktops and one for mobile devices and have the large images in the css file (using background images that is) that only displays for desktop browsers. This would avoid having to use display:none since the mobile devices would just have an empty div. 

    To me, the page load seemed to be your biggest objection to media queries, but I think it’s an issue that can be worked around.

  45. Great article with all valid points. As many have said, there is no silver bullet to address mobile and desktop. You first have to understand the nuances of each then choose the tool that best suits the situation. 
    Small to mid sized businesses may do well with responsive design, that is unless they have a service or product that would lend itself to a mobile app. Larger companies with the resources required to manage multiple sites may be better off with mobile only sites designed to server specific device sets. Once again, a mobile app may be the choice instead. 

  46. roxstyle
    October 10th

    Agreeing totally with Jeremy Keith and the standards community:
    “Every single one of your objections evaporates if you begin with small-screen layout, small-screen content and small-screen images; then enhance up for larger screens.

    Progressive enhancement. It works.”

    Mobile First

    take a look at the excellent job with http://www.bostonglobe.com

  47. Daniel
    October 12th

    nicely written and intelligent article.  I am sure your title was designed to capture attention and be a little emotive – and because of that you start with a very negative spin.  I agree that you would have something much more efficient if you design a different version of a website for every type of device it might be viewed on… but that in itself may not be very efficient.  I an ideal world you would have a different car for every type of journey you make….but with budget and time constraints having a car that deals quite well with all terrains is better than one that handles only one type.  That is unless you only require your vehicle to be on one type of terrain.  That’s why responsive design is so cool.  Not because it handles every terrain as if dedicated to that terrain.

  48. Great article!
    Very bold statement considering that responsive design seems to have become the new black – and thus you receive a lot of flak for writing about the other side of the coin.
    RWD – yes, it even got it’s own official acronym – is a great technique for many sites, but it does not replace mobile apps. You have to ask yourself if it’s the right technique, and not just blindly follow the crowd.

  49. Though I agree that mobile users need a fast loading experience I am not convinced that a seperate designed website is what people need.
    I see responsive web design as way to make liquid layouts work properly. You can accommodate different screen sizes from mobile to tablets.
    Resizing images on the fly does seem inefficient. However, as background images (from media query stylesheets) of separate sizes you could allow for smaller screens and slower connections.
    Its really about how much extra work you want to put into it. Its totally flexible. That is why responsive web design is not going anywhere.

  50. Thanks for posting the contrary view. I think some of your points have been addressed recently but I gave some thought to Point #7 – “CSS Media Queries will not remove unnecessary code”. I came up with an approach I call Additive Content to work the problem from another angle that doesn’t require display:none.
    http://marionobledesign.com/my-blog/additive-content.-an-alternative-to-the-displaynone-problem-in-r/
    It needs a lot of work, but in essence the approach is : start from a small size with essential content, then add in extra content dynamically as you scale up.

  51. Nigel
    October 27th

    Why does everyone seem to think that responsive sites and mobile sites are exclusive to one another?  Both have some great benefits and it IS possible and reasonable to have both and that is what I shall be doing.

    The responsive site will be to handle the wide ranging browser sizes of PC’s.  Just because people have a 1080p screen does NOT mean they want to use the full screen for viewing your site.  Many people will run the site in a smaller window and why should they be forced to scroll about your site.

    The mobile site will be used to avoid the exact problems this article specifies.

    I haven’t decided what to use on large screen tablets yet.  The mobile site would probably look a bit silly scaled up to an iPad screen.  Hmm…  Still plenty to consider.

    • hi Nigel, your right both mobile and responsive websites have benefits, and we would love to see your final decision. However, have you consider a mobile app for large screen tablets? could be a great option too :)

  52. Yikes! No offence, but this sounds like 11 reasons why you are not technically qualified to build responsive websites.

    If you had some knowledge of proper javascript programming, you would be aware of JS module loaders such as Require.js which selectively load script (and CSS to boot).

    You would also be aware of javascript frameworks that structure your client side logic into componentized logic such as Backbone.js to reduce monumental JS files (not to mentioned JS minification).

    Working hand in hand with the item slisted above, you would also know about server side image resizing to target client requirements.

    But alas, you’re not aware of these things (and many others). Its sad that many people here are agreeing with you, without questioning whether these problems actually have solutions that you simply don’t know about because you haven’t done any responsive web design.

    • do you think is it possible to design for example a large e-commerce website with responsive web design ? 
      Sorry, I do not think that it is possible and this article hits the target by showing the downsides of responsive web design. Yes, some of them can be patched with scripts and other stuff, but still, you cannot use responsive web design for huge websites.

    • Kadir, why not ?

    • By saying “you cannot use responsive web design for huge websites”, I didn’t mean that you cannot use it in any way. Of course theorically you can use it, but it wouldn’t be very efficient. Just look at the reason 11 written and see how much size difference there is between mobile and desktop versions of Wikipedia. Also think about an e-commerce site like e-bay, think about the scripts it uses, images, thumbnails etc. As I work in a bank, I think of  the website of a bank which has many many features. I just cannot think of a way to implement responsive web design easily and efficiently. Building up seperate mobile versions of sites like those seems more efficient to me. 

      But still you can use responsive webdesign for blogs or relatively medium sized corporate sites. This would save time and effort for your development, deployment and reduce the costs of hosting. 

  53. start with mobile first then add for larger sites

  54. These points (11 points, with a huge amount of repetition) are reasons why Responsive Design is *hard* not why it’s not cool. It is still extremely cool, we just have some interesting challenges to overcome.

    There are already strategies for overcoming most of these issues already:
    – Various different ideas are around for overcoming fluid / responsive images. Read 24ways advent calendar this year. Also, hopefully SVG will take off soon, and then we can all just serve a lot more inherently scalable images.
    – Mobile-first strategy advocates the use of Ajax to pull in extra content for devices that are able to display it – so it won’t slow down mobile sites at all.
    – Browser rendering speeds and server-side processing speeds are always improving, and I think are even currently well up to the challenges.

  55. The blog is absolutely fantastic. Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need. Thanks.

  56. Zdravko
    December 28th

    Hi,
    great article. Responsive design solves one great issue: there is only one site having unique URIs to every page. Separate mobile sites gives you many URL to actually the same content. What would Google search say to that?

    • You’re welcome, always glad to see that our pieces are of great use to visitors’ projects. Best regards…..

  57. cool article. Here the discussions are going in a healthy way. Thank you for sharing.

  58. jimihen
    January 30th

    Following your advices we’ll have to design a version for desktop, iphone, ipad, android, nokia, and God only knows what other devices will come… the big corporates will tell us what to design for. Think about it.

    • Or design a well coded, standard, simple and direct layout/website and allow the 1000’s devices out there to handle your website :)

  59. Great article. Gives me much to think about. I’m actually doing a project that is perfect for Responsive web design so I’m moving forward with this approach. 
    I come from the design side of things so the technique I’m using for images is to use Photoshop and smart objects. 
    For instance the original large art piece is embedded into a smart object and then copied to two other smaller sizes for iPhone size and iPad size. You can then slice the images up for export. 
    So you only have to change the image in the smart object and export and you will have three custom sizes so you do not have to shrink the image for smaller formats. 
    Just a technique I thought worth mentioning, I am not expert.. but damn I’m trying. 

  60. Why subject users to different views of your site just because of the device they visit it from? Why spend the extra money building two separate sites? Why spend money maintaining two separate sites? Why not increase your SEO presence on those search sites? Etc …

    There are ways to fix/prevent a lot of the issues that were noted in this article. It just takes smart people to figure out the solution and implement it.

  61. Very interesting post. Its great to see someone go against the grain and propose an alternative argument.

    I’m just not too sure about Responsive Design. To my mind most fixed width designs look great on my iPad and for the phone I think a specific mobile website is better suited if your stats show that you have a lot of mobile users.

    Many of the Responsive Designs I’ve seen don’t look that great at mobile screen size and thats before you start to factor in all the browser specific fixes you need to get your head around to get a Responsive Design to work well across the board.

    I will continue to design standards compliant fixed width designs for now.

    • Thank you for the recognition to our work. Be on the lookout for upcoming posts on the matter. Best regards

  62. Web Development
    March 2nd

    Great written & informative one post shared..
    Thanks for the info..

  63. A massive portion of this article talks about why a responsive design or port of a website is less than optimal for ‘mobile devices’, assuming that all mobile devices are cellular devices and ignores a couple of critical real-world facts:

    1) Many companies/people don’t have the budget to create AND MAINTAIN a separate mobile version of their site.

    2) A non-responsive design is much harder to use on a mobile device and also downloads all the content whether really needed or not, a slow loading site that fits the screen perfectly is better than a slow loading site that you constantly have to pinch’n’zoom.

    3) The whole point of responsive design isn’t for desktops OR cell phones. The idea is everything in-between. I have a Kindle Fire and an iPad – perfect examples of mainstream viewing devices that can be held in portrait or landscape (giving you a width of as little as 768px) that are often used on broadband connections from the sofa.

    Given the vast number of different size tables out there, each one effectively having two screen widths, responsive design is the only logical choice.

    I agree with your observations regarding CSS hidden content still being loaded – not exactly a revelation but a valid point. This isn’t a ‘Reason why responsive web design isn’t cool’ however and responsive design can be augmented with simple server side technologies to remove the bandwidth hogs for mobile devices without having to maintain a separate mobile site/port.

    Obviously responsive design isn’t going to work for every device but the fact is that with huge internet TVs on the way, browsing via mobile devices on the increase, cellular network speeds going up and company budgets tighter than ever – responsive design IS that cool!

    Bob

    • You make some really interesting points. always great to get some constructive feedback from our followers, this is something that we’ll keep in mind for up coming articles on Responsive Design. Have a good one!

  64. Good article although i disagree.

    You mention that we have to do a lot of extra code to be able to adapt our websites. What other solution do you suggest ? Creating a parallel website just for mobile would increase the amount of code considerably.

    Also, we are not talking only about mobile platforms, but what about the tablet market ? Default resolution at portrait mode on an ipad is 768px wide ( and even lower on Android tablets i believe ), so without applying responsive techniques what can we do if we want the best experience for our users ?

  65. An excellent resource of information I will certainly return to check on the latest posts

  66. koerierdiensten
    May 12th

    Responsive design is great for different screens & resolutions, lets say anything from tablets up to monitors. And it’s a great plus for fluid designs and even fixed-width designs.

    For cellphones, iphones and smaller screens, i prefer different websites, 75% of those visitors is looking for some fast information, not to read a lot :-)

  67. Thanks so much for this useful article! I had my doubts about responsive web design already… and now I am so glad I didn’t bother implementing it in the website I am building. :)

    • Blog1
      May 31st

      You got that right, maybe responsible web design isn’t the american dream. Best wishes!

  68. Don’t forget the importance of webserver configuration. You can make a mobile website but if you don’t serve proper headers to cache content, there is mostly no remarkable speed difference (loading time). Connection look-ups are the ones that reduce the speed, especially on mobile phones!

    This is the #1 of all webserver mistakes

    To test your site, go to: http://gtmetrix.com/

  69. Great Article!

    • Blog1
      May 31st

      We’re glad you liked it Ellis, it may be that we have to rethink responsible design. We could create a different layout for different screen resolutions, and don’t change layout sizes on the browser resize event.
      Off course this has pros and cons, so we should find a solution that fits our needs in speed and visible aspect.
      Best wishes!

  70. Great article! 

    I build mobile optimized websites and have been wondering whether I should start offering responsive sites as well.  This article clearly outlines the problems with using a responsive theme and validates my concerns.

    • Blog1
      June 7th

      Hi Susan, this article exposes several point why we should think it twice before implementing responsive design in our sites. So that you can take a better decision. Take care!

  71. I stopped reading this article when you said “if you use Adobe Dreamweaver frequently”. I going to take a guess and you still use their javascript for rollover navigation don’t you. instead of :hover.

  72. Just to be a purist number 11 is more the conclusion then a reason :). Anyway nice article.

  73. Thank you !

  74. It would be better to rename this article “11 things to keep in mind when designing a responsive website”.

  75. There may be some negative issues with responsive design but I still believe it will be the future. Gone are the days when everyone was viewing websites through a computer so other devices have to be take into consideration. And the easiest way of doing this is with the use of responsive web design. It doesn’t mean it is always the best way, but an increasing number of developers will use it. It is a problem, though, and I’ve come across many so-called “responsive designs” that don’t respond in the way that they should. 

  76. Very nice reasons for responsive Design isn’t that cool. Thanks for sharing.
    Professional web design in Orange County

  77. Very useful article! Responsive is interesting but I prefer the mobile version.

  78. Yet, responsive is very useful for small websites, but if your traffic becomes huge, create a mobile version :-)

  79. Good points and insights  Responsive design has become the new face of web design. It is important that web designers keep tab on the changes in the coding and keep themselves educated about the new way of coding. This will minimize project failures.

    I agree with your point on involving clients – involving them right from the beginning really matters. After all it is their site and their project, we just help them get it done :) Thanks for sharing Alan.

  80. Photo master
    March 15th

    Thanks for sharing..

    • Designer
      March 17th

      You are welcome. Thank you for checking

  81. Kenjiro
    June 23rd

    One of the biggest problems with responsive webdesign is the lack of creativity. Take THEME FOREST for exemple where all themes looks much same, they’re all same style :)

    RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN cost more but provide a very basic design style that becomes mediocre and repetitive. It takes more time to build a site, design styles are very limited restricted to the fluid style.
    It’s running slow, eats CPU and memory. The old Adobe Flash Design
    style was far, far superior with much more advantages and with more possibilities than the restrictive fluid style.

    Responsive Web Design – Is it really worth the effort ?
    Responsive Web Design – Does it really represent a progress in the design industry ? What is the middle way ?
    No, No We’re not stack in the past as long as that is not relevant for the present !

  82. crabbit
    July 16th

    Great article, but can’t agree with most of it. You are speaking about some issues that usually comes from designers not knowing the issue to solve the problem. I can only suggest do not build 3-5 sites for every device, learn how to do server side optimization and client side, and your website will have speed performence more then 96% which is very very high. Most of the queries can do java, through which you can force some content not to load on mobile devices, so you will have no problem with load time of your sites. Second thing is, learn to better structure your code, and optimize images, not every website must have a slideshow images with full width of the screen. Webdesign is all about information structuring, repsonsive design asks for a lot more, because it involves advance planning and modeling of information and how she will be represented on other devices. You can’t go wrong with responsive design if you know how to do it properly.

  83. Cool article. Our website is not responsive yet but I think google prefers a responsive website than a traditional html website.

  84. Yup, that shluod defo do the trick!

  85. BION I’m ipmerssed! Cool post!

  86. thanks Gerrilyn. glad you like it

  87. I find that designing for every browser and configuration (including mobile and tablets) makes the design just mediocre for all.

    One day all devices will view web pages the same and this point will be moot.

    Bill

  88. Your probably right that’s right were responsive design might be headed….don’t forget to follow us on facebook and twitter…best regards!

  89. どこかで見たような内容。 / Responsive Design problems http://t.co/Hn8p43Z

  90. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/pe2Tjz7 via @webdesignshock

  91. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://j.mp/qihgxr

  92. RT @ThomasMarzano: #UX : Responsive #Design problems http://ow.ly/6cmIs RT @Whitou

  93. #UX : Responsive #Design problems http://ow.ly/6cmIs RT @Whitou RT @ThomasMarzano

  94. RT @webdesignshock: Responsive Design problems http://j.mp/p4nJOx Please RT

  95. I wouldn’t say it’s always a bad idea, but here’s 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/ASSlO2V (via @WebDesignShock)

  96. 11 reason why #ResponsiveWeb #Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/AuE98EZ (vía @webdesignshock)

  97. 11 reason why #ResponsiveWeb #Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/ZC6TqRc (vía @webdesignshock)

  98. 11 reason why #ResponsiveWeb #Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/PoRgksB (vía @webdesignshock)

  99. 11 reason why #ResponsiveWeb #Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/OWYS5Qc (vía @webdesignshock)

  100. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!: http://t.co/DmKkUoj Com toda razão!!!

  101. Uh.. all 11 reasons are cancelled out by mobile first design. Next.

    // 11 Reasons Responsive Design isn’t that cool. http://t.co/ZGdW65l

  102. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/i8OI5Zk via @webdesignshock #usernews

  103. RT @ifadey Don’t go for #Responsive #Web #Design if you want high #performance #mobile website
    http://t.co/TIhzMqU

  104. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! /via @webdesignshock http://t.co/NXH3ld9 #ux #responsive_webdesign

  105. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/5DlH3QI

  106. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/ruxDtJs

  107. Why you SHOULDN’T use responsive web design http://t.co/89kkh5b

  108. "Why you SHOULDN’T use responsive web design http://cl.ly/9dc0” i’ll listen once this guy gets a better website http://cl.ly/9cpn

  109. RT @mlane: 11 Responsive Design Problems http://t.co/jMZmqFy

  110. Responsive Design ist nicht der heilige Gral: http://t.co/sDKaLHN

  111. 11 reason why #ResponsiveWeb #Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/T6ruqXb (vía @webdesignshock)

  112. RT @vlad_saling: RT @mlane 11 Responsive Design Problems http://t.co/hhUAGst

  113. hmmmm !!!!!! 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/E2NgbjY via @webdesignshock

  114. RT @theolam: 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/XkdzrzW

  115. Responsive design may not be the magic bullet. http://t.co/Zw1NdvH very interesting article (thx @designmodo)

  116. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/QdEymSF via @webdesignshock

  117. Responsive design. I better like the idea of the frame that adapts to the content and not the opposite. #webdesign http://t.co/p1KYvMW

  118. So @beep was inspired by dreamweaver, yeah right -11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/79CZKvd /@webdesignshock

  119. Interessant artikel… ‘Responsive Design isn’t that cool!’ http://t.co/O80YAfG Voorlopig dus nog niet voor ons! ;-)

  120. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/gW3gOvJ via @webdesignshock – Interesting point of view!

  121. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/wqJjZCb

  122. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/UnK7F8n

  123. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/Ad6iPFP via @webdesignshock #webdesign

  124. http://t.co/zOR6upl Поразительно, идиотскими рассуждениями можно прийти к правильному выводу.

  125. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/fsQqWLh

  126. 11 reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/caq2dUO

  127. @infowonders @tsevdos http://t.co/E2NgbjY Μόδα είναι θα περάσει..! σχεδιασμός μόνο για το γαμώτο.

  128. Responsive web design attack! Reason why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! #responsive #webdesign do you think? http://t.co/I9Jh3hb

  129. A hét cikke: Hogyan gondolkodj, ha többféle platformra optimalizálod az oldalad – mobil, tablet stb…. http://t.co/xpJQH1x

  130. 11 reason why #ResponsiveWeb #Design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/27awr41 (vía @webdesignshock)

  131. RT @michielessen 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/fRtNhca via @webdesignshock – Awesome! Liked the Mobil…

  132. The downsides of Responsive Web Design – although I don’t buy most of these http://t.co/hnyIH4J

  133. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/gPtEdA4 via @webdesignshock

  134. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/Xy4MYyw

  135. “@kkmett: RT uxfeeds – 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! via @webdesignshock http://t.co/dvFtnsV”

  136. RT @kkmett: RT uxfeeds – 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! via @webdesignshock http://j.mp/pd55tw

  137. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/88vl0Iy #responsivewebdesign #in

  138. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6lqPm

  139. RT @paulolyslager 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://t.co/lYVzZqa

  140. RT @uxfeeds: 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool!: http://t.co/Oq9qE9d #ux

  141. RT @uxfeeds: 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool!: http://t.co/Oq9qE9d #ux

  142. Counter arguments – 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/nztjgtm via @webdesignshock #mobiledev #mobilefirst

  143. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/ze0LqYc via @webdesignshock

  144. I have to agree on many points, although I still believe that responsive design is the future… http://t.co/dmzbfa7

  145. RT @AaronAlfred: RT @zeldman: Bad writing, worse thinking. RT @Hicksdesign: How to take 1 misinformed point, make it seem like 11!
    http://t.co/8afVxF7

  146. @ormanclark : 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/yMcdipG via @webdesignshock

  147. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/PaIHKwE via @webdesignshock

  148. Gode pointer om at undgå faldgruberne: http://t.co/ZUjfiDd RT @risager gode eksempler på responsive web design: http://t.co/ShJX6CA @anetq

  149. Känner mig kluven, är responsive design verkligen så bra? Idén är klok men är tekniken mogen? Läs http://t.co/XVHQRO5r

  150. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/kvovW8sQ via @webdesignshock

  151. RT @fabiomayer: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/kvovW8sQ via @webdesignshock

  152. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/BrFg0dEg (vía @hernan_beati)

  153. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/rD36larI (View number 11)

  154. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  155. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  156. ‘Responsive Design is not good.’ An interesting read: http://t.co/Oj8SkEUI #design #webdesign

  157. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  158. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  159. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  160. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  161. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  162. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  163. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  164. #webdesign Do you agree? RT @DesignerDepot 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://t.co/RnDtr5Is

  165. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  166. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://t.co/ywVYZxMA #fb

  167. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://ht.ly/6xqrQ

  168. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/n4buUsZ4 via @webdesignshock

  169. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://cl.ly/ADxA

  170. RT @AJBarlas: ‘Responsive Design is not good.’ An interesting read: http://t.co/Oj8SkEUI #design #webdesign

  171. @DesignerDepot It was impossible to read this post on my mobile -11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  172. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  173. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  174. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  175. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  176. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  177. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/ZzRPSYk0 via @webdesignshock #ResponsiveDesign

  178. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  179. RT @DesignerDepot: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! – http://ow.ly/6x8gi

  180. An interesting read: "11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool" – http://t.co/9r1b0SMf

  181. RT @janvl: An interesting read: "11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool" – http://t.co/9r1b0SMf

  182. Touche! We wrote about the benefits of responsive web design a while ago (http://t.co/h5ncpY4A). Here’s another POV: http://t.co/vjBMM76c

  183. 11 why responsive web design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/YlfZwggD vía @webdesignshock

  184. @simonhutchings @jonphyde @rolos Found an interesting article on "why responsive design isn’t that cool"! http://t.co/ZKYOaGmb

  185. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool!: Since Ethan Mar­cotte pub­lished his sem­i­nal arti­c… http://t.co/TdybjF6K #gr

  186. Great primer on responsive design http://t.co/Wezo0kCN – and also reasons to be wary – http://t.co/xWkdolOF

  187. RT @gabesumner: Great primer on responsive design http://t.co/Wezo0kCN – and also reasons to be wary – http://t.co/xWkdolOF

  188. Interesting read: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/5Ydr0tUQ via @webdesignshock

  189. Great article >> 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/azNdxtlk

  190. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/wUioByEB via @webdesignshock #webdesign #responsive #mobile

  191. @VimleAnna Du vill kanske läsa det här: http://t.co/hisZlzg4 #wpse

  192. Top ten list against responsive design: http://t.co/GFRYCYkf

  193. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! : http://t.co/6C8X297q

  194. Some interesting #responsivedesign considerations to be aware of http://t.co/qmwLSosm

  195. Zur Erinnerung – 11 Gründe warum Responsive Webdesign nicht der ultimative Heilsbringer ist: http://t.co/2PwC2e7M

  196. Considerations re: responsive design http://t.co/3Ck3ZItB #barcampcz

  197. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool http://t.co/2Kavs3wF

  198. “@shox: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool http://t.co/SGL58qch” buuuuuu

  199. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool: http://t.co/dCko9Dd3 #WebDesign

  200. here’s a few good counter points to responsive design – most points can be fixed with a little javascript by now http://t.co/oJQjai3x

  201. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/ImJhdbrn via @webdesignshock

  202. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/NbWl1MQh via @webdesignshock

  203. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/X2zKOGq8 via @MaximeRDY

  204. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/TdsjpHmE via @webdesignshock

  205. http://t.co/HBgMh9tX 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!

  206. Nouveau site en responsive design. L’explication se trouve ici : http://t.co/aMGjP7rv http://t.co/Ha8qwbtY

  207. Noen grunner for hvorfor "responsive design" ikke er så kult likevel http://t.co/809QMb2b

  208. RT @JulienVerkest: http://t.co/HBgMh9tX 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!

  209. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/XrFaKdmS via @webdesignshock

  210. Interesting arguments, got me thinking… 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/8DB1iCh2 via @webdesignshock”

  211. RT @use_this: 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/gSSN9JKn #ux

  212. Interesting thoughts on responsive web design http://t.co/IRRjXRbW

  213. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/ONexST82 via @webdesignshock

  214. Interessant : “11 reasons why responsive design isn’t cool” http://t.co/ap25UDq3

  215. 11 raisons de se méfier du responsive design… http://t.co/J6FU6obA

  216. RT @thierrykoblentz: Interesting read about responsive design: http://t.co/6orBfEiW via @strangeloopnet

  217. Un peux vieux, mais tjs autant d’actualité. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/vmtJtCuz

  218. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/Cwfvwvy7

  219. Unresponsive design? – http://t.co/WCpW65io #responsive #design

  220. 参考「11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool!」 http://t.co/WuMqqx2I

  221. Les contre arguments du responsive design : #design http://t.co/BIkzjIF9

  222. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/sfOkr7Sh via @webdesignshock #responsivedesign

  223. Check out 11 reasons NOT to be responsive in web site design. http://t.co/9ukQba0R

  224. RT @woutr_be: 11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool! – http://t.co/cM7eaqPi

  225. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/5GPPzm34

  226. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/YsR6QGvW via @webdesignshock

  227. 11 Reasons Why #Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool http://t.co/UoSYiOYf

  228. RT @matthieu_lerat: 11 Reasons Why #Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool http://t.co/UoSYiOYf

  229. @alodium says:

    this is very interesting: “11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool!” http://t.co/mz1al79T

  230. Why responsive web design isn’t a magic bullet: http://t.co/8JKrQ9Jx

  231. Lesenswerter Artikel: “11 Gründe warum Responsive Webdesign gar nicht so cool ist” http://t.co/5fzJ0vc6

  232. responsive design ดีจริงเหรอ http://t.co/7TqvJRxA

  233. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/lr99ZPtC via @webdesignshock

  234. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/rGREDGo6 via @webdesignshock

  235. Note to self: (…) Mobile needs are different from desktop http://t.co/oDd0kXwY

  236. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/VPmSq2rL via @webdesignshock

  237. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! – http://t.co/PVjIMuMY

  238. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! Web Design Shock http://t.co/5Lv05OaQ

  239. Une étude très complète sur les impacts négatifs du “responsive design” http://t.co/h7v2hmRw

  240. For graphic designers and HTML gurus: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/lzMKJ0WS

  241. Ok, so responsive design has taken over the world but there are a few disadvantages that one should keep in mind: http://t.co/oPek65dY

  242. 11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool! http://t.co/2C0Ra9j9

  243. Interesting article on some counterpoints to #responsiveDesign http://t.co/dXL8Fh3S via @webdesignshock

  244. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! Web Design Shock – http://t.co/8C4PZUZZ Another buzzword that needs explanation.

  245. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/nNEhGqf1

  246. RT @kempmullaney: Limited response http://t.co/uDkIxiGW “11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool!”

  247. Shortfalls of Responsive Design .. “A responsive website won’t stop the browser from loading content you don’t need” http://t.co/Osm0XpVQ

  248. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool! Web Design Shock http://t.co/Q4hpBVOH (via Instapaper)

  249. Interesting read: “11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool”: http://t.co/qm4qPO9f (via @jhmoy) #RWD

  250. RT @ChristiaanWLstg: Interesting read: “11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool”: http://t.co/qm4qPO9f (via @jhmoy) #RWD

  251. RT @ChristiaanWLstg: Interesting read: “11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool”: http://t.co/qm4qPO9f (via @jhmoy) #RWD

  252. RT @ChristiaanWLstg: Interesting read: “11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool”: http://t.co/LZoUBXcQ (via @jhmoy) #RWD

  253. While I disagree with much of the argument, there is gr8 content on #RWD issues http://t.co/F79o3cL8 via @webdesignshock @endplay can help

  254. @dkardys @tkadlec @brad_frost Good article about problems with responsive design http://t.co/d3NcI6Ga

  255. “@WebDesignShock: 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/4R7rH5Fm #design #useful” @jameswiltshire read this article

  256. 11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool!, ternyata masih pro dan kontra http://t.co/SPDIIS0q

  257. Good points to think about – 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/OkwMqkrG via @webdesignshock

  258. RT @vitorgomes: Good points to think about – 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/OkwMqkrG via @webdesignshock

  259. Llegas al trabajo el día pinta hermoso y de pronto una salvaje publicación en contra de #ResponsiveWebDesign aparece http://t.co/FdcZmxQg

  260. We have “inbound marketing”, the design niche has “responsive design” http://t.co/gdLzTmy8

  261. RT @debramastaler: We have “inbound marketing”, the design niche has “responsive design” http://t.co/1CuLo6aQ

  262. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/DZDQETR44G via @webdesignshock

  263. 11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool! http://t.co/OXeNUR4MV4 #ResponsiveDesign #DesignWisdom

  264. RT @mdcunha: 11 Reasons Why Responsive Design Isn’t That Cool! http://t.co/OXeNUR4MV4 #ResponsiveDesign #DesignWisdom

  265. 11 Reasons why responsive web design isn’t that cool ! http://t.co/JVOS8D9YPn – #webdesign RT @mdcunha

  266. RT @pesla: Aardig artikel over aspecten van responsive web design die vaak niet overwogen worden. De hype voorbij, zeg maar. http://t.co/w23rsJM7hp

  267. RT @jordango: #ResponsiveDesign isn’t for everyone. Here are 11 Reasons why you should tread cautiously. http://t.co/XK5AWUI47l #mobile

  268. 11 reasons why Responsive Design isn’t that cool! http://t.co/Lo7bypi9yC via @webdesignshock

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