I noticed something interesting recently about how I browse the web.

It used to be that I would notice if a site were responsive. Or, before responsive web design was a thing, I would notice if a site was built with a fluid layout. It was worthy of remark, because it was exceptional—the default was fixed-width layouts.

But now, that has flipped completely around. Now I notice if a site isn’t responsive. It feels …broken. It’s like coming across an embedded map that isn’t a slippy map. My expectations have reversed.

That’s kind of amazing. If you had told me ten years ago that liquid layouts and media queries would become standard practice on the web, I would’ve found it very hard to believe. I spent the first decade of this century ranting in the wilderness about how the web was a flexible medium, but I felt like the laughable guy on the street corner with an apocalyptic sandwich board. Well, who’s laughing now

Anyway, I think it’s worth stepping back every now and then and taking stock of how far we’ve come. Mind you, in terms of web performance, the trend has unfortunately been in the wrong direction—big, bloated websites have become the norm. We need to change that.

Now, maybe it’s because I’ve been somewhat obsessed with service workers lately, but I’ve started to notice my expectations around offline behaviour changing recently too. It’s not that I’m surprised when I can’t revisit an article without an internet connection, but I do feel disappointed—like an opportunity has been missed.

I really notice it when I come across little self-contained browser-based games like

Those games are great! I particularly love Battleship Solitaire—it has a zen-like addictive quality to it. If I load it up in a browser tab, I can then safely go offline because the whole game is delivered in the initial download. But if I try to navigate to the game while I’m offline, I’m out of luck. That’s a shame. This snack-sized casual games feel like the perfect use-case for working offline (or, even if there is an internet connection, they could still be speedily served up from a cache).

I know that my expectations about offline behaviour aren’t shared by most people. The idea of visiting a site even when there’s no internet connection doesn’t feel normal …yet.

But perhaps that expectation will change. It’s happened before.

(And if you want to be ready when those expectations change, I’ve written a Going Offline for you.)

Have you published a response to this? :



“It used to be that I would notice if a site were responsive … But now, that has flipped completely around. Now I notice if a site isn’t responsive. It feels …broken.”adactio.com/journal/13968

# Posted by CSS-Tricks on Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 at 7:00pm

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3 years ago I wrote Month maps

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3 years ago I wrote Aurora

Kim Stanley Robinson’s tour-de-force.

5 years ago I wrote 100 words 074

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12 years ago I wrote Making contact

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13 years ago I wrote Copenhagen

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14 years ago I wrote Random

Yeah, right.

14 years ago I wrote Reboot

Reboot is over. It was fun.

15 years ago I wrote Feline frustrations

I upgraded to Tiger a little while back. Frankly, I’m a little underwhelmed.

17 years ago I wrote Wireless Wonderland

Well, my stint as compère at Silicon Beach is over.

17 years ago I wrote Cute

I was just emailing with Dave Phelan about tonight’s Silicon Beach event. I told him I’d probably be able to recognise him from his webcam pic and asked him to give me a wave.

17 years ago I wrote Silicon Beach

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17 years ago I wrote Hercubush

Satire: Keeness and severity of remark; caustic exposure to reprobation; trenchant wit; sarcasm.

17 years ago I wrote Ah, Venice

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18 years ago I wrote What's on in Brighton

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