To which extent is the designer responsible of a responsive design?

Consider the following (idealized) chart.

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Now, I have worked with colleagues from every side of this spectrum and have learnt that, unfortunately, it tends to be more like this.

enter image description here

Most “web developers” tend to know very little of design principles while, on the other hand, “web designers” tend to know very little of the technical side of the web. Well rounded “web crafters” are hard to find.

This unfortunate but real scenario makes creating a responsive website for a team of developers and designers a pain. Web designers tend to forget the site should adapt to every possible commercial device and often design rigid layouts that look great on their own screen but are impossible to turn into responsive websites. Developers, on the other hand, tend to make brutal adaptations of the designer’s vision trying to achieve responsiveness.

Where should the responsibility of designing a responsive website fall? Should the web designer be expected to provide well thought guidelines for the developer on how to adapt the website for every possible scenario? Or is this an unreasonable expectation?

Please notice I am focusing on the design side of it, not on the developing side of it.


Any well skilled designer is always going to be interested in implementation to a degree. Perhaps not in an “I can build it” aspect, but at least in a “that’s not possible” aspect.

Whether a designer hits the far right side of your graph or not, they should always know what they can and can’t do in any given medium. You can’t design well for print if you don’t understand separations. You can’t design well for signage if you don’t understand resolutions, etc.

I think any designer responsible for web materials should at least fall into this:

enter image description here

And I don’t think it’s as lopsided as your second graph.

The days where you can do a pretty mock up in Photoshop and simply hand it off are gone in my experience. In my experience, developers (meaning the left side of your graph) aren’t really looking for someone on the far right. They are looking for a designer who at least understands what is possible and the restrictions necessary for designing well. This moves them from the far right, at least one tick left.

Are there still developers that hit the far left, absolutely. Just as there are still designers that hit the far right. However, a more important aspect may be experience. Are there developers/designers that hit the far left/right if they have 5, 8 or 10 years experience? I doubt it. The more experience one has the closer to the middle they get.

So perhaps this is more appropriate:

enter image description here

In a company structure you look for individuals to fill the far right/left position. This provides a solid basis for that desired skill set. However, I’d speculate that the more desirable a candidate is, the closer to the middle two images their skills fall.

Source : Link , Question Author : cockypup , Answer Author : Scott

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