No one's forgotten how to pinch and zoom

Written on 4 February, 2013

Last week, the design team at GoCardless shared their reasoning for dropping responsive web design with their new marketing site launch.

I’m always interested in hearing the thought process behind product decision making like this. I’m also just as intrigued in the reaction such thoughts and ideas get from the community. In this case, I was quite surprised at how many designers and developers couldn’t appreciate their decision to go for a static build.

I’m a big advocate of responsive web design, but I still don’t see it as an absolute necessity. GoCardless did their research, 2% of their visitors isn’t a particularly sizeable audience to provide for.

Most absurdly however, is how many designers and developers appear to believe that rejecting responsive web design is rejecting the notion of providing for their mobile audience altogether.

When Ethan Marcotte presented the concept of responsive web design back in 2010, he didn’t simultaneously cause every touch screen user to forget how to pinch and zoom.

In my opinion, brilliant design at a traditional desktop size is a better experience on mobile than mediocre or rushed responsive design. Pinch and zoom can work.

There’s always going to be constraints that can cause responsive web design to be poorly implemented - a lack of time, lack of budget, or resource needed elsewhere. Before attempting to remove or juggle these constraints to prioritise a responsive build, I’d agree with GoCardless, it’s worth looking at the stats. Would you rather provide a slightly better experience for 2% of their visitors, or dedicate more time to creating a world class product instead?

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