Moore’s Law and Responsive Design Breakpoints

Ray Kurzweil

Since hearing Ray Kurzweil talk about Moore’s Law at SXSW Interactive this year, I keep thinking about how it applies to web education and web design best practices. Yesterday, Jeremy Keith was talking about breakpoints at Adactio.

Jeremy’s point (with lots of excellent references) is that there is no longer a set pixel value that we can consider “common breakpoints” for responsive design. Device size is changing too rapidly to have a handful of numbers that can become exact values for breakpoints in @media queries. One of Jeremy’s comments:

I think our collective obsession with trying to nail down “common” breakpoints has led to a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of responsive design: it’s not about what happens at the breakpoints—it’s about what happens betweenthe breakpoints.

You’ve probably seen the news about Google Glasses. If Moore’s Law tells us anything, it tells us that Google Glasses are not an oddity, but an inevitable application of technological progress.

In terms of responsive design, what’s the breakpoint for Google Glasses? Or what’s the breakpoint for a web browser embedded in your eye or your brain? A technology like that is probably on the way.

I’m really excited about responsive design. I think it’s brilliant and necessary in the current state of web education and web design. But it isn’t the last thing that designers need to learn or think about when looking to the future size of web accessible devices.


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