Why Pixel Perfect Responsive Design is Wrong

I’ve been reading over job postings for front-end developers and designers, and a lot them have a phrase like “You should love coding pixel perfect responsive designs”. Those jobs instantly go to my “no” pile.

Responsive design means letting go of the idea of a pixel perfect design. Responsive designs need to adapt to any device thrown at them. You have to embrace the beauty of how malleable your design is. Let people access it how they want to access it.

This doesn’t mean you should totally disregard mock-ups (unless you’re in with the cool kids who design in the browser). By all means, do a mock-up for each breakpoint, but don’t expect pixel perfect accuracy. A good responsive design emphasizes consistent ratios, and is coded with percentages and em values. Let your design stretch and shrink. Design for adaptability and accessibility.

This is what makes design fun to me. Thinking about all the possible ways someone could access a website, and trying to provide a simple design and codebase that addresses all the project’s goals while being accessible to all users. That’s more relevant and exciting than holding “pixel perfect” as the goal.

So, if you want to work with me (which, if you do, please get in touch), don’t put anything about being “pixel perfect” in your job description. That is, unless you create a breakpoint mock-up for every pixel from 50 to 5000. But, then again, if you do that, I still wouldn’t work for you.

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