Responsive design – what you see is what you get

Jenny stared at the man in the dark glasses sitting 2 inches away from his computer. He was the first visually impaired person on the usability test for the new website they were developing. The only thing visible on his screen was a giant Home button and the upper left corner of a picture. It was the picture the team had chosen with great concern.

– Well, this looks like a nice site, he said and clicked on the Home button.

Now the screen showed the Home button and the upper left corner of another picture. How was he to know whether this was a nice site or not? With the zooming level he used he missed the whole message. All their thoughts about how each page would be experienced from a user perspective were lost.

– Let’s see what we have here, he said and scrolled downwards and then horizontally to the right. Jenny noticed he just missed the search field right above.

– What if you try to zoom out a bit to see the rest of the page? she suggested eager to help him.

-Aha, you mean there’s more than this? he said with a doubtful voice and turned his head towards her.

– Sorry, just a nearly-blind-man-joke, he continued with a laugh. There is no use for me to zoom out. The text gets too small then and impossible for me to read.

Most certainly he would never return to this site again. Why would he? It would take him ages to just find the search box.

On her way back to the office she decided to try and find a place open for vaccination prior to her trip to Africa next month.

She picked up her phone and googled “vaccination yellow Fever”. The first hit sounded like a vaccination centre. She clicked on it.

“Sorry, but the page you are looking for doesn´t exist in this mobile version. Would you like to visit our full website version instead?”

Would I? No idea. I want a vaccine against yellow Fever, she frowned and clicked on the link for the full website version.

At the full website version of the vaccination centre, the text was so small she had to zoom in a lot. In fact, the only thing she saw on her mobile screen after zooming in was a home button and the upper left corner of a picture.

-Hmm, let’s see here… Where would I find the information about opening hours? Is it further down? To the right? Further down to the right? She swiped downwards and horizontally.

-Alright, this will get me nowhere and will take me forever, she said angrily to herself.

Her words from earlier today echoed in her head:
“What if you try to zoom out a bit to see the rest of the page?”

– The text gets to small then and impossible for me to read, she answered herself and stared at her phone showing a glimpse of a full website version.


How much of your message gets through to your visitors? Some argue that a mobile version showing a selection of your content with links to the full website is the way to go. But the cross-linking and zooming will disrupt the user’s journey to his answer. With a separate mobile version you may also end up with one extra content baby to feed and take care of.

Why only provide some of your content in excellent vision?

Be responsive. Give your users a full and satisfactory experience no matter what device or tools they need.