- Right now responsive design is graceful degradation: design something for desktop and tablet, and remove stuff for mobile.
- That means that even the most brilliant responsive design will let mobile browsers download assets they don’t need.
- Images are commonly resized in responsive designs, but the mobile browser has to download the desktop version; potentially over a slow, expensive mobile connection. The desktop-size image has to be unpacked in the mobile device’s small memory and resized by the mobile device’s slow CPU.
- In the future responsive design will become progressive enhancement: design the mobile site first, and add stuff for desktop and tablet.
- If we want one website to serve all devices, we have no choice but to make the smaller images the default, and download the larger ones only if we’re certain that the user is on a desktop computer or a tablet and on a fast connection.
- Are we OK with serving noscript desktop users what is essentially the mobile version of our site, small images and all?
- Is the mobile version of our site the “true” one, and the desktop version only an extra layer of usability?
* Clarification on point 6: I was not thinking of a browser detect (which I loathe) but of a script that reads out the screen size, which can be reliably done in many mobile browsers.
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