I keep running into some real *fossil* websites during my research into early nerd games.

Today's find is a web1.0 site from a military major about (matrix) games he uses for training:

From the looks of it, it's all hand-coded, and because how simple it is, it kinda has a responsive layout!

Also, love the bit that tells you how big each file is - it reminds me of all the home sites I used to visit in the late 90s.

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This is why "responsive design" pisses me off so much. It only got unresponsive because they hardcoded for a specific resolution, and now they are using JavaScript to slowly and clumsily mold that mess into something responsive? Adaptive is even worse.

They were fighting the nature of what HTML naturally is, and then trying to reimplement that nature on top of the unnatural

@Sandra @FredBednarski that is a thing that is happening, but that’s not what “responsive design” is. responsive design doesn’t use javascript.

but also, uh, for legibility you *should* care what size and resolution the page is being read on, and *respond* to that- so we aren’t having to read mile long lines of text or 3 words per line.

@zens Not only JS, but media queries. (Which can be cool, I use one: night-mode vs day-mode.) If you have to ask the window width you’ve designed your layout wrong.

There shouldn’t be any of those problems on my site since I have not hard coded for a specific resolution. So get out of here with those straw doll accusations. Text page, uses max-width. Multi-column layout, uses column-width and lets the browser set the number of columns (I also have another site for my group’s internal use that uses an older solution, divs with float, to achieve the same thing) Image grid, uses display inline to, again, let the browser set the number of columns.

Simple, light-touch solutions. Which is where this thread started: The HTML 2 and earlier era web worked and is inherently responsive since it trusts the browser to let things flow like water. (Max-width and column-width are appropriate, light improvements on that.) The HTML 3 era was a garbage fest with font-size, font-family, spacer gifs and table tr td for everything, The modern day era “responsive design” is trying to second guess the browser flow at every turn.

The naturally responsive design of the original web is good, “responsive design” that makes heavy-handed decisions and then try to undo its own heavy-handed decisions is what I’m railing against.

For example, you should not use both column-width and column-count. Use one and let the browser set the other. It could all be so simple.

@Sandra the origiinal “responsive design” of the web doesn’t respect maximum or minimum line widths, so it’s just not good enough and the only way around it was to force a fixed width.

what you are doing is responsive design. the thing you are rallying against, i don’t know what to name that, but it’s not “responsive design”


I said “Use max-width, it’s an improvement on the original web” and linked to pages that solved the width issue in three different ways, one of which used max-width.
Quit it with the straw dolling.

The thing I’m railing against, which you have also seen online, has the gall to call itself “responsive design”. I don’t mind granting them that name because they try to respond to what the browser is doing. Whereas I try to leave blanks and trust the browser’s own flow to do the right thing. I do, uh, “flow” design? That’s what I’m gonna call it. Appropriately lunar.

@Sandra i think we are talking past each other a bit. i don’t know how you’re getting “straw dolls”, the only thing i have “accused” you of is getting the name wrong. if i have not specifically responded to something you’ve said it’s because i am fine with it.


Here is the disagreement:

but also, uh, for legibility you should care what size and resolution the page is being read on, and respond to that- so we aren’t having to read mile long lines of text or 3 words per line.

@Sandra if you want 300 characters per line don’t let me stop you. but i am pushing 40 and my eyes suck, please don’t force your terrible design choice on me please.

if you feel like there’s a straw doll in there, then we’re talking past each other and we actually agree that text columns should be reasonable widths.

@Sandra should that be accomplished with breakpoints or letting the browser do multi column layout automatically? i actually don’t care one way or the other about that, as long as it happens.

@Sandra as for terminology, it’s a boring thing to argue about, but i would have thought the “design” part implies that the specific implementation isn’t a core part of the concept

@Sandra in this article which coined the phrase, it distinguishes responsive design from “adaptive” by permitting text columns to have “fluid” width, in a time before multicolumn text had broad browser support


The straw-doll is implying that my philosophy doesn’t care about line widths and that the way around that is to query and respond. Max-width is a good thing. It’s such a good thing that a lot of the proposed “solutions” from the responsive design camp become unnecessary.

Reading that original quote from you, it comes across as if you thought my lines where too long.

I do agree that lines are too long on that “Matrix game” site. What @FredBednarski meant is, I assume, that it can handle narrow screens just fine, which was the big problem the “looks best in 1024 on IE” community ran into when phones where invented. I’m salty because since I’ve been carrying this grudge since the nineties, when they would design things that would look awesome in print but that are too static for the web yet they “won”, became the norm for how web pages are made. Heavy-handed, inaccessible and bad. And now, when they finally realize that there is resolution diversity, instead of stripping down, they are slathering on even more.

Re alistapart article: I did distinguish responsive from adaptive in this very thread, saying “adaptive is even worse”.

@Sandra i didn’t see anyone mention your site so I didn’t think i was accusing your website specifically of sucking or anything like that! i’m sure it’s fine (i haven’t seen it)

in the battle between print designers and “accessible sites” i am on the fence as a print designer who got sucked into web dev by sheer force of gravity, I don’t see the two sides as needing to be in conflict, but they end up doing so by just, consistently failing to see each other as worthy of existing.

@Sandra the coders don’t think print design has any purpose to it and it’s just navel gazing nonsense, and the print designers are continually frustrated by a crowd only interested in purely utilitarian pages of documentation about industrial machinery or whatnot, and refusing to see that there’s a wide veriety of users, not just able bodied sighted users who are into their high brow cyber art


OMFG, here we go with a new line of straw-dolling!

I know that the print design community contributed a good grasp of margins, whitespace, colors, contrast, proportions, and general readability. The drawback is, as you know, that they at first applied it as if a HTTP request was a static paper and not the messy unruly phone-conversation that it is. A synthesis between the values of both groups is possible and fruitful.

and refusing to see that there’s […] not just able bodied sighted users

This implication is so insulting since the opposite is true.

was there more to the thread than fred’s original post and your one reply?

Yes, there was the context of previous conversations and posts, as well as the context of my own design (which I linked to, three different examples, in my first reply to you but also summarized in case you didn’t wanna click on it, including repeatedly saying to use max-width, something you then kept on railing against as if you had missed it).

@Sandra hey relax i think you’re misreading my tone here. you’re not under attack. i am not saying anything *about* you specifically. yes, we agree, a synthesis between both groups is valuable and useful.

as for the “insulting, the opposite is true” i am not sure what you’re responding to there. did you think i was saying that there is only sighted able bodied users? or are you asserting that designers are especially good at designing for inclusivity in general?

@Sandra or maybe it was just that i was sloppy with my connective words. i was trying to say print designers are bad at seeing the range of abolities

@zens That might’ve been sloppy reading on my part. Thanks again for clearing it up.

@Sandra probably an artefact from a moment while i was writing when i realised halfway through a sentence that it was just going to be more insulting parody of coders and i needed to actually say what was valuable about coders that print designers were bad at seeing—- and ended up with the linguistic equivalent of a segfault

@Sandra social posting: the medium for for quality writing quality

@zens I’m asserting that most of my efforts are spent on inclusivity, and, that in the nineties when we first had the influx of print designers, they were especially bad at inclusivity and accessibility.

Yeah, I understand you now with the connective words issue. That was a misunderstanding (I only now realize that you meant that it was the print-designers that were bad at that), thank you for clearing that up.

@zens It’s not really “talking past each other” when you don’t read my responses. You jumped in the thread without context, I tried to give you context in my first reply to you but you skipped over all that and instead doubled and tripled down on the same points I had already addressed.

@Sandra was there more to the thread than fred’s original post and your one reply?

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