My wife is an ex-web-developer. She knows HTML and CSS and spent several years on the front lines of keeping customer sites up-to-date and looking well, by hand editing HTML files and with custom written CMSes.

Last night I was explaining to her how making websites work at different screen resolutions had recently been “cutting edge” web development.

We used to make sites that responded to the viewport in the early 2000’s – before delivering a site as a PSD or a set of JPEGs became the norm. 1

We pushed back strongly when people, who were generally coming from print, sent us pixel perfect designs with areas “above the fold” and typography that wouldn’t work on the web unless it was saved out as images. I think that, as an industry, early web developers lost this battle to designers and that we failed to educate customers. I think that the whole web has suffered for it for over a decade.

It was embarrassing explaining to someone who counts as a “knowledgeable outsider” how long we’ve all taken to get our shit together.

  1. I realise this site isn’t going to win any design awards. We worked on pretty things, too, but function was always first.