"We're done, now we just need to work on making it responsive."
This is one of the most frightening phrases I've heard from designers lately. Not merely because it violates my rule of done done, but because it indicates how much "responsive" is delegated to the back burner.
[caption id="attachment_6556" align="alignright" width="168"] While viewing an article on CNN I realized that many images and ads were using static placeholder graphics. This behavior was keyed on mobile user agents, reverting to real content when spoofing a desktop device.[/caption]
Yet we still claim that mobile Internet is a priority.
We claim to focus on mobile experience while designing on performant, desktop machines and shoehorning in mobile features and functionality after the fact. We emulate mobile browsers on the same machines, rather than throttling our connections to show the experience on a real 4G (or 3G) device.
Our focus is on shipping products for the largest segment of visitors. That often tends to be desktop viewers - but is that because desktop visitors are really that populous, or because our mobile experiences are so crappy visitors turn to other sites for entertainment, education, news, and interaction?
It's when we allege to build for mobile but really fail to consider the implications of our design decisions on mobile visitors that our sites begin to die. It's when we populate sites with filler content and placeholders for testing, then ship those placeholders to production only for mobile visitors when we truly identify those mobile visitors as ancillary concerns to our business.
Rather than considering them a key demographic. Rather than focusing on truly optimizing their experience with the site. Rather than courting them and refining content the same way we do on desktop.
We've built an Internet, and an Internet culture, that's hostile to and uncaring towards mobile users. As readers and visitors continue the migration to mobile, we do so at our own peril