WordPressNYC Show Notes: Books to Read About Responsive Web Design and Why

To prepare for my presentation at the WordPressNYC Meetup this past week — aside from getting to play with a tons of cool web toys and techniques — I read a lot of articles and books.

While there are a lot of articles out there, these books really cover the core issues and flesh out the concepts. In fact, many of the best articles are just chapters from these books. I’ll be sharing some of the articles as well as tools in future posts so stay tuned!


Responsive Web Design – Ethan Marcotte

This is where it all began. I feel like, as a Front-end Developer, discovering Responsive Web Design is one of those paradigm shift moments that, when it happens to you, you know your life will never be the same. However much it is adopted in the future, it’s principles will surely live on through one means or another.

Adaptive Web Design – Aaron Gustafson

Another seminal book and a strong case for progressive enhancement. While it seems to only deal with the periphery of the conversation I think, in truth, it really deals the core of the issue. Responsive Web Design is about making your site accessible to as many devices as possible. Progressive Enhancement reminds us that there are devices other than the newest and coolest… If you build your site upon a solid foundation that addresses older browsers, text-only browsers and audio site browsers, it will make a better experience for ALL browsers and ALL your visitors. Isn’t that whom you’re building your site for anyways? Your visitors?

Mobile First – Luke Wroblewski

“Design is the process of gradually applying constraints until an elegant solution remains”

This book is more about an overall approach to web development. We too often forget whom we are building our sites for – our users – and we tend to get to give in to the pressures to overload our sites with features… Because we can. This leads for bad Responsive Sites. One of the biggest criticisms of Responsive Web Design is that the mobile versions tend to load too much unnecessary junk. If you overload your site with features then are forced to hide those extraneous features your mobile devices will still download the extras. But if you think Mobile First — what this book advocates — you’ll be doing yourself, and your users a favor.

I’ll be sharing some of the articles as well as tools in future posts so stay tuned!