Responsive Responsibility

Just over four years ago Ethan Marcotte penned the article “Responsive Web Design”, and a year later we published his book by the same name at A Book Apart. It’s no stretch to say that both have gone on to shape the very way we design websites now.

I think Ethan and his work are brilliant. He’s also as gracious and humble as they come, so he’s the first to highlight the ideas and work that influenced him, notably John Allsopp’s A Dao of Web Design. And this is how the web works best; Ethan builds upon John’s ideas, and then shares with us so that we can build on top of his, and on and on.

And build we did! Responsive design feels like an accepted practice most everywhere you look. With that comes the need to make sure we are doing our best to design responsibly so that our sites are available for every person and every device.

Now, building on Ethan’s book, comes Scott Jehl with a new book, Responsible Responsive Design. Scott’s book comes from the heaps of experience found in his work at Filament Group, and serves as a tactical field guide to making responsive design truly perform. From the book description:

Responsive design has immeasurably improved multi-device, multi-browser visual layout—but it’s only the first step in building responsively. Learn how to turn a critical eye on your designs as you develop for new contexts (what does mobile really mean?) and screen features, speedy and lagging networks, and truly global audiences. Serve the right content across platforms, and tune for performance. Scott Jehl tackles those topics and more, ensuring that the sites and apps you build today last far into the future.

It’s already landed a spot on my desk for frequent reference. And as an added treat, Ethan’s book is now out in a fresh second edition! From an A List Apart interview with Ethan about the new edition:

What changes will readers see in the second edition? The second edition’s changed quite a bit from the first, but the table of contents hasn’t: as in the first edition, the chapters revolve around the three “ingredients” of a responsive design—fluid grids, flexible images, and media queries—and how they work in concert to produce a responsive design. But if you look past the chapter headings, you’ll see a slew of changes. As ALA’s readers probably know, tons of people have written about how to work responsively—whenever possible, tips and resources have been pulled in. (I mean, heck: we now have a responsive images specification, which gets a brief but important mention.) On top of all of that, errors were corrected; broken links fixed; figures updated; questions I’ve received from readers over the years have, whenever possible, been incorporated. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have those edits in—it feels like it’s the book it should’ve been.

Wow! Both Responsible Responsive Design and the second edition of Responsive Web Design are both well worth your time.

I’m excited to be working in such a consistently fertile environment for design, and to be able to benefit from the work of smart people like Scott and Ethan, as well as all the fine folks influenced by them. I hope we never stop pushing things forward and sharing with one another.