Zen Garden Part 2?

Remember the glorious days of the CSS Zen Garden before all of this CSS3 @font-face crazyness and @media resizing insanity?

I do, and probably most web designers and developers do to. Rick Monro definitely does, and he wrote yesterday that we need to create another CSS Garden, this time for Responsive Web Design (RWD).

Now, I think that's a great idea, the more RWD resources, the better in my opinion. Of course we already have the RWD Book, which is a must read for any web designer or developer. And Trent Walton, Brad Frost, Mark Boulton, and Jordan Moore are all chronicling their experiences and solutions with Responsive Web Design as they use it in the real world. Hell, Brad Frost even has an e-mail newsletter dedicated entirely to RWD, so it's not like resources on RWD don't exist. I think Mr. Monro knows this, but he's seeking a resource that mimics the Zen Garden and goes beyond the Mediaqueri.es gallery approach. Again, I think this is a great idea.

Yet, I take issue with how he frames the need for a RWD Garden. His claims make it sound like a "RWD Garden" is needed to finish the argument that RWD is the next advancement in our practice. In my opinion and the opinion of many in our industry, Responsive Web Design is the future, period. We're past the convincing point with RWD, the web is changing.

I want to note that Responsive Web Design is not only concerned with fluid-width design. RWD incorporates other principles for developing sites, such as sites that are responsive to: mobile-sized screens, low bandwidth situations, and HD / Retina graphics. The entire package, this package called Responsive Web Design, is what is pushing the web forward. If all we are concerned with is narrow and wide views then Mr. Monro is quite right when he says:

Designers and developers are the only people I know who sit and accordion their browser window to see how a site will respond. We’re too in love with technique because we know that somewhere, another designer or developer is going to think it’s cool. And folks, when it gets to the point when we are designing for other designers, that should ring some pretty loud alarm bells

I think as a community we are still figuring out what this Responsive Web Design thing is, what it looks like, how we design for it, where Photoshop fits (does it?!), etc. We've had years to figure out how to design with and for CSS, we're only just getting started with RWD. It's an exciting time to be working on the web, yet Mr. Monro thinks there is too much "pressure" to use RWD:

The overwhelmingly positive spin accompanying a responsive site launch creates a subtle (but tangible) pressure on conscientious designers to ‘step up’ and deliver RWD on their own projects. Which would be fine, but the inference that RWD is desirable at any cost.

Of course, I'm not advocating an eyes-closed acceptance of Responsive Web Design for every client project. Tables are still used on the web, mostly in emails now, but there not gone; the same holds true for a site designed without applying RWD. However, "Positive spin" implies that we're all trying to cover up something bad, which isn't true. Any "spin" or "pressure" is simply the same encouragement as when moving from tables to CSS, that this is the right way to go. That "pressure" is what makes this industry so incredible. The web thrives on action, learning, pushing, and experimenting.

We shouldn't slow down because the web is changing and things are all new and scary again. New and scary does not mean we're going in the wrong direction. We are headed in the right direction, and that is why I fully support the creation of as many additional resources as possible to educate each other, as well as push RWD further.

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