The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

A Time of Transition

Josh Bryant posted a couple of pieces outlining his concerns about the problems presented by the new Retina Macbook Pro. His concerns are well founded, especially for interface designers. The main question that has to be answered, in Josh's words:

So, how do you go about designing 1x resources on a 2x screen?

He gives a few options, none of which he's happy with. The web community is still trying to find the best methods to deliver responsive images and assets that look good on 1x devices as well as 2x devices like the iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3. Now this new device adds to the puzzle, with more certainly to come from Apple (and maybe, in 5-10 years, other electronics manufacturers). We are in a time of transition. Or, as Trent Walton puts it, a time of flux.

In that article, Trent describes how he approached the new iPad:

For the first time, I saw the Internet for what it really is—a tall, lanky junior high kid who is pissed at the world because he just got done being a short, fat grade schooler. It’s never just right. Rather than grow proportionally and gradually, it hits terribly awkward spurts that throw everything off balance.

Indeed, is this situation anything new? Designers and developers are constantly have to educate themselves, evaluate new approaches, and do their best to simply keep up. Are retina displays more concerning than tables-to-CSS, XHTML to HTML5, or learning javascript? If you work in this industry, you have to embrace learning … it's part of what makes our work so maddening and exciting at the same time. I empathize with Josh's concerns, but I'm optimistic we'll figure things out as we go.

By the end of his article, Trent expresses this idea eloquently:

So, that panic button? It gets to go back into the drawer for another occasion. Sure, the internet’s clothes are going to fit funny for a while as it figures out how & where to put all those extra image KBs, but we’re going to be okay. These are awkward times, but rejoice. We all get to play the role of the guidance counselor: having discussions, writing specs, and building tools that continually reshape the web into its full potential.

Onward we march.

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