The education system and the internet may have more in common than we suspect. One went downhill a long time ago, while the other may be following in its footsteps.
One of the reasons for the demise of the education system was the crazy dysfunctional communist idea that all people are equal (meaning, to them, the same). So people got the bright politically correct idea to dumb down the quality to the level of the least capable and/or least interested students.
Now we are doing it again with another vital public institution – the internet. We have already dumbed down websites so they all look the same by using WordPress themes and the like, supplanting once traditional one-of-a-kind custom designs. Now a whole lot of p.c. designers with smartphones and tablets have decided to follow Microsoft and Windows 8 to the grave. What is intrinsically a good idea – to make websites work decently on all kinds of devices – has been taken to the extreme. Someone came up with the idea that real responsive design should be ‘mobile first’. That is, the design should start with a mobile design, work on mobile first, and then we are supposed to add a bunch of unnecessary fluff to make it fill up a 1920 x 1080 or larger screen.
So there, we are doing it again. Dumbing down web design to what can fit and work on the smallest possible, least capable device. The rest is just filler, like all the things they invent for smart students to do while they are waiting for the slowest ones to catch up.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am actually building all websites nowadays with responsive design. I’ve even taken this to the point of adjusting font size with media queries. However, i believe in branding and the related idea that a website should remain instantly recognizable on every size device. I stand with those mobile users who complain about getting a different version just because they are on a different platform – they want the same website that everyone else gets. As designers, i think we can easily give them that, and we should.