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Re: When do we update the homepage to a modern design? (was Re: Moving away from (unsupportable) FusionForge on Alioth)

On Wed, 17 May 2017 at 13:33:06 +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
>  * Websites which reorganise themselves through CSS and/or JavScript
>    to try to produce a better selection of visibloe bits depending on
>    the screen size.
>    I find these mildly annoying, but I don't use a smartphone and
>    apparently smartphones are terrible at laying out ordinary web
>    pages (because wtf?).

The jargon term for this is *responsive design*. It's essentially the
same principles as Web 1.0 best-practices - graceful degradation and
willingness to re-flow for arbitrary viewport widths - together with
some CSS magic to hide or shrink non-essential content, reduce margins,
or convert multi-column designs into a single-column stack when viewed
on a small screen.

The problem, apart from smartphone screens just not being very big,
is that mobile browsers and websites are engaged in a "do what
I mean" loop where each side works around bugs in the other.
If not told otherwise, mobile browsers assume that websites were
designed with the "requires Internet Explorer on 1024x768" mindset
and render the page at a width similar to a traditional desktop browser,
because if they didn't, badly designed websites would be unreadable
and so nobody would use that browser. As a result, if a website *is*
designed to scale gracefully to narrow widths, it has to announce
that in metadata so that mobile browsers will stop applying that

It looks as though the Debian website (or at least its front page)
already has responsive design and the necessary runes to make mobile
browsers make use of it, although it could perhaps benefit from
dropping more content (requiring extra clicks instead) at small sizes.