As mobile and tablet devices come closer to achieving final world domination, web design and technology is in a race to accommodate the ever-growing number of screen sizes. However, devising tools to meet the challenges of this phenomenon brings a whole new set of problems, with one of the latest buzzwords to emerge being “responsive web”. This is the challenge of making the web work on most, if not all, devices without degrading the user’s experience. Instead of designing content to fit desktop or laptops, information has to be available for mobile phones, tablets or any surface connected to the web. However, this responsive web design evolution has proven to be a difficult and sometimes painful one.
While it can be almost trivial to accommodate textual information, the tricky part comes when we put into consideration content like responsive images, infographics, videos, an so forth, which were once designed with only desktops in mind. This not only brings up the question of displaying the content correctly, but also how the content itself is consumed using different devices. Users on smart phones are different to users on desktops. Things like data plans and processing speed have to be considered as well. Google has started to highlight mobile-friendly sites on its search results, with some speculating that it will lead to a substantial pagerank boost to such sites. Earlier solutions addressed this by deploying mobile-only subdomains (and redirects) but this increased complexity and fell out of fashion quickly. (Not every site has the ability to afford this route.)
On the Quest for Responsive Web Images