December 6, 2012

Book Review: Implementing Responsive Design

I tend to read alot. Chalk it up to being raised by an awesome mom who constantly took me to the library. While I love science fiction, fiction, and comics - I am usually found devouring some sort of technical book - usually on web design or programming of some sort. I love reading technical stuff and growing my skills, so I thought I would start doing some book reviews whenever I finish something up. I just wrapped up Implementing Responsive Design by Tim Kadlec the other night, so let’s start there.

Implementing Responsive Design

What is it?

Implementing Responsive Design is a very recent (August publication date) book from developer Tim Kadlec, who happens to be a co-founder of the Breaking Development Conference, which is devoted web design & development for beyond the desktop. It is a medium length at 288 pages and a pretty quick read. The book focuses on the actual implementation of responsive web design with some forays into the theories underlying RWD and the process and workflow of planning for and implementing RWD. The book also includes a number of interludes from a variety of developers and personalities on some of the realities of working with responsive design.

I found the length to be perfect for this type of book. It is long enough to give you some real content to chew on, while being succinct enough not to bog you down with too much info that you have no chance of remembering later. The chapters are clearly organized and easy to scan, which makes this perfect to hold on to as a reference later on down the road.

How is it?

In my opinion, Implementing Responsive Design is a fantastic read for anyone looking to dig a little further into how to plan and build responsive web projects. It is the perfect follow up to Ethan Marcotte’s groundbreaking Responsive Web Design, which is widely regarded as the RWD movement’s watershed moment and required reading for anyone delving into the subject. Whereas Responsive Web Design is very lightweight and just skims the surface of what is possible, Implementing Responsive Design picks up where that left off and goes further into responsive options and actually shows you how to build a responsive site from the ground up, including choosing the best layout options, handling responsive navigation, and using responsive media to build a rich site.

I really appreciated all of the code and explanations in the book, as they gave a detailed look at how responsive design should be implemented. One of my favorite features of the book is that Tim presents you with a number of options for handling certain tasks and lays out the pros and cons of each option. I have read other articles that dismiss some techniques without any discussion in favor of the author’s preferred technique, so I appreciate Mr. Kadlec’s choice in laying out what is out there and explaining why he chose the options he did.

Any drawbacks?

Not really. It’s a great book. If I had to knock it on anything, it would be that the chapters on Planning and Workflow can get a little dry. I am attributing that to my aversion to planning rather than the author’s ability to write and present ideas well, though.


Implementing Responsive Design is a fantastic book that would be a great addition to any designer or developer’s library. It does a wonderful job presenting a variety of techniques for building responsive sites while explaining the benefits and pitfalls inherent in those options. And it does it all in a clean, well-organized, and fun manner.

I highly recommend you getting a copy today.