The Web Devided
Fluid or rather its new name responsive web design is a typical paradigm of the web. It doesn’t really exist anywhere else, which in of itself is not surprising. Some industries like the publishing industry wants to get in on the act but are still busy defending their turf. They, like many other industries, won’t commit to a new way of thinking. The old world will not evolve into the new one because they put most of their energy in to what they still have. Incumbents are not saddled by such a burden. The prize is usually theirs for the taking.
The whole idea of responsive design is a wake up call for print orientated designers who think they can just knock a website together. If fact it has made the design of a website so much more complex and interesting. Static designs are slowly becoming an actual liability. Oh and if you think a ‘dynamic’ website only means a young fresh cool and animated website then you obviously don’t understand the web.
This lack of affinity for the web is expressed by the fact that some think the web is shifting to apps, the app store. Fixed design, a known and predictable medium that maintains the subscription model of old. These things provide comfort but they don’t realise that in apps this is often just a thin vail over an existing layer of web technology. The question is whether it is really worth the extra layer that to locks you in. Singular thinking, sticking to the same old play book isn’t going win the game.
The web continues to grow with those who are blind to reality that the web is agnostic and it doesn’t care about desktops, smartphones and tablets. Sadly, this web divide grows ever deeper. The nature of the Internet is that corporations and institutions can’t control how content is consumed once released. The users determine what they do and where they consume the web and its content. Thats by design, not a consequence.
Making money by locking everybody into a physical distribution model has been outflanked by the Internet. IP law enforcement is not about copyrights but about playing defence to protect an ever declining business model. Don’t lock the web into device centric thinking. Protect, sell what ever you want but once released let it run freely. Distribution is open and free from restrictions. Responsive design takes this into account and it is why that those who help create and build the web embrace a methodology that makes money by selling content and not its distribution rights.
In some areas progress has been made. Music doesn’t have restrictive DRM anymore. E-Books are device agnostic and I’m sure Apple will ease up on their restrictions at some point because Amazon can’t. PDF is alas a relic from a world of paper that’s still with us. Thankfully the emergence of the ‘cloud’ is slowly making PDF look rather outdated. Don’t fall into the trap that content is device, format or even subscription specific. You’ll run the risk of losing out by standing on the wrong side of the web divide.