Thu, January 26, 2012 Joshua Gatcke

HTML KickStart & Responsive Design

I am getting a lot of feedback and it looks as though you guys really like responsive design. As many of you know, HTML KickStart is not responsive. I have a couple of arguments for and against responsive design. Let's talk about it. 

Why HTML KickStart 0.9 is Currently NOT Responsive

  1. Keep it Simple

    The main reason that HTML KickStart is not responsive is that I wanted to keep it simple in the beginning. Responsive design takes a lot of consideration and work. I wanted people to be able to download HTML KickStart and build website layouts really fast. Responsive design is not fast. It can get very complicated and building a good responsive website can be as much work as building 2, 3, or even 4 additional website layouts. Of course the idea behind responsive boilerplates and grid systems is to help save you time building responsive layouts. But anyone familiar with building responsive websites knows that the moment you are tasked with changing or updating a layout for a website that has a responsive design you have a lot more work to do to make those changes than a none responsive design on any reasonably sized website. The questions and considerations start pilling up fast. And the answer is not always black and white. Even small changes to a website can result in broad changes in your CSS for your multiple responsive states. Making changes to your website more difficult. Not impossible, but you better know what you are doing. This is the opposite of simple to me. 

  2. There are Great Responsive Frameworks

    There are a number of great responsive frameworks and systems already available. SkeletonTwitter Bootstrap2, Amazium... the list goes on and on. A quick search on google for responsive web framework returns a lot of results. If you really want a responsive framework, there are a lot of great options. 

  3.  Mobile Browsers are Great

    The list of mobile browsers that are A grade and deliver a close–to–desktop experience  is growing every second. It has never been a better time to build websites. It's easier to produce websites that work across a multitude of browsers and devices and for the most part deliver a consistent end user experience. 

  4. Users Hate Mobile/Responsive (versions) of Most Websites 

    I know that is a very broad statement. But the point is, if your website is not a web app or online service of some type, It probably doesn't make sense to have a mobile version of your website. The #1 response I have from users that encounter a mobile version of a website they often visit is "Get annoyed and try to find the 'full' version of the website" so that they can navigate to the content they are looking for in a familiar way. Mobile versions of a website break a users learned patterns of interaction with your website and destroy cognitive familiarity. Mobile browsers now have the ability to deliver a very comfortable, easy to navigate 'full' website experience – and it get's better with every passing day.

I Am NOT Against Responsive Design.

I think there are a number of reasons and use cases where a responsive web design is exactly what you need. It solves problems and gives you more fine–tuned control over your users experience on a number of device sizes. Sometimes this is exactly what you need to deliver the best possible experience for your end users. With Careful planning and attention to detail you can produce amazing results that delight your users.

Will HTML KickStart Ever be Responsive? 

I think that making HTML KickStart responsive would be a great feature to have for web designers. And if possible, I would like to plan and build and add responsive functionality to HTML Kickstart as an addon instead of  included by default. It would be great if web designers could get out–of–the–box responsive functionality, but something that you choose instead of something you have to figure out by default. This is something that I am experimenting with and will release once I have a working prototype. If anyone has an example of a responsive conversion of HTML KickStart, I would love to see how you solved that problem. 

Conclusion

Responsive Design is a great "sometimes" feature and I think that any modern and mature web framework should include the option to build responsive layouts. HTML KickStart is brand new and the possibilities are limitless. In the meantime, if you need to build a responsive design, I recommend using one of the many great options available to you today. Have something to say for/against Responsive Layouts? Leave a comment below:

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