Review: “Learning Responsive Web Design” by Clarissa Peterson

Assuming little knowledge on the reader’s part, the author skims the important points in developing a responsive web site. Starting with the basic building blocks, HTML and CSS, then continuing on to media queries, work-flow, design philosophies, typography, navigation design, and more, Peterson skims quickly over the subject matter, slowing when things get difficult (as in navigation design). The result is a quick, readable introduction to what you need to know if you’re setting out to build a device-responsive web site, along with links to additional information and more thorough explanations.

The book could be valuable to novice web developers, enabling them to include device responsiveness in their initial repertoire of skills, or to designers launching into flexible designs interested in learning the technical constrains they will be dealing with and need to understand. I appreciated the discussion of work-flow, and useful information even though I’ve build several device-responsive sites, so although it’s mostly for beginners, others may find something of value.

I’m put off, though, by the author’s reluctance to use pixels as a measure of media query breakpoints. Insisting on using “em”, a measurement relative to font size, rather than “px” to set breakpoints is bad advice, especially to novices.

I read an early release ebook which was missing some illustrations and had some typos, but those will be filled-in and fixed-up prior to release, no doubt. The book was made available through O’Reilly’s Reader Review Program.