With the world on the go, and, more often than not, on their smart phones and tablets, web design has strongly rebutted with Responsive Design. Being able to view a cleaner, more mobile-oriented version of a website while on your iPad or Droid makes your typical audience’s UE so much better and pleasant versus having a full-on site with all of its bells and whistles forced to be viewed within a 3″x 2″ screen.
But now, the web world is trying to take mobile UE a step further by incorporating “Responsive Text” — essentially, changing typography and condensing the content of a web page down to the minimum that will directly get the point across to someone reading the text on their smartphone. Cleaning up typography to be more streamlined for mobile devices, ok — yes, this can be clutch. Who wants to be viewing Fugu type in an 18pt font whilst on their Blackberry? But dumbing down the actual text for a tablet or an iPhone … Is that really necessary?
I wonder whether Responsive Text can truly be justified. Are we honestly so busy and on the go in our daily lives that we can’t be bothered with a full page of content that, in all reality , our brains already scan through to pick out key words/points? (The typical brain in today’s world is trained to skip nonessential verbiage and fluff while reading any set of text … if you literally sit there and read every “the”, “but”, “a”, “says”, “and”, “or”, “to”, then you, my lucky friend, have been blessed with a relaxed life somewhere on a warm sandy beach sipping a delicious tequila sunrise without any cares in the world!) Rather than minimizing for a smartphone, why not incorporate a preview blurb on your site’s mobile version that can then take the user into the full text should they choose to in their own right? Let the reader decide if they want the Spark Notes of what you have to say while they’re hustling about their daily routines. Not only will excerpts/blurbs provide readers of all device types the capability to enjoy the full intake of information provided on the web page, but it will also avoid the unnecessary extra steps to a web admin’s job of coding a page of content to specify what is shown on which device.
In the end, it’s going to be about preference and the audience, but Responsive Text doesn’t seem to be as useful as it could be in the world of flexible and user-friendly WordPress/Drupal themes … just yet … Let’s see where we go in the next wave in technology and mobility. Maybe then condensing a 5-paragraph body of text down to a sentence will be deemed necessary.
If you’re interested in learning more about Responsive Design & the pros/cons of Responsive Text, or just want to chat about your upcoming project, give us a shout out on Facebook, or at firstname.lastname@example.org!