Thoughts on Responsive Breakpoints

February 26th, 2012

(I originally wrote 90% of this nearly a month ago before I got busy and forgot to post it, but here it is)

I’ve been debating back and forth about this with a few people about ‘what breakpoints should be’ when building a responsive site, and it looks like this extends into the general web community as a whole. Some people (the folks on the now famous Boston Globe redesign for instance) say to go ahead and set your default breakpoints at common screen widths: 1024, 960, 480, 320 etc (Device based breakpoints). Some people (*cough* Marc Drummond *cough*)  say to just put in a breakpoint when your design starts looking wonky at a certain size (I call this The Awkwardness Approach). Some people suggest other in-between sort of things.

My hard held feeling is that setting all your breakpoints at common device widths is completely counterintuitive to the whole idea of responsive design. It’s a serious case of dragging our feet out of the ‘old way’. If we’re really being device agnostic (or maybe I made that up as being the ‘purpose’ of responsive design), then it’s best to get away from thinking of specific devices as quickly as possible and instead just make something that looks the best it can at any size. Read the rest of this entry »