Karen Mardahl's Reviews > Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte
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Apr 22, 12

Read in April, 2012

I read this book for the UX Book Club Copenhagen, and we'll discuss it in 2 days time.

The book itself is a delight to read. It's easy to get through, well laid out, conversational language, clear examples. I mean, if Jason Santa Maria helped to design it, that is kind of cheating. :) I mean, he's a superstar designer.
I like the shortlinks system used in the book. And... it's nice that the long form is spelled out at the back of the book. The shortlink text is really easy to remember. If any get broken, the long form and context can always help me out.
The paper is slightly shiny, but I was able to write all over it in pencil. (I'm still a bit scared to use a pen. That's slightly sacriligious to me.)

This is a very practical book. As such, I wish I had a proper website to practice on. I was reading this on a plane and on vacation and then in a sick bed. I still think it was fine to read it all the way through and then go back and fiddle at the computer. Without any practice, it all sounded very fine to me. If I went back and did something hands on with the book at my side, I am confident that I would have a good companion.

I find it a bit harder to say it is a good book for arguing the case of responsive web design to non-designers or management or higher-up decision makers. I think that is because I stand in a weak position myself. IRL I am watching a website project move on shaky feet very slowly and I recognized some things here that made me think, uh-oh, I'll bet they didn't think of that. I am not able to help that project. The people on the team (only 1 really, plus an outside consultant!) are very sensitive to criticism due to past, painful battles. Any comment and they withdraw into a steel cocoon! I can see things here that would help them so much, but they would have to start over again. Also, I cannot bash them on the head with this book. I am not the author. I don't have the depth of knowledge - my knowledge is only superficial due to lack of practical experience. So, I watch in anguish and am unable to step in mid-crisis and help out. I guess I am saying this book made me sad due to a real-life situation.

However, there are concepts in here that I think are sound bits of advice. I need to boil them down to phrases I can use at work to slowly repair problems. Then, if someone questions me, I can pull out this book. We'll see! I look forward to hearing what others say at the book club meeting.
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