This morning has seen some lively debate in regard to few examples of so-called responsive text. I'm not going to discuss my issues with it from a practical point of view as most people on Twitter seem to agree with me anyway and James wrote what I was thinking much better than I probably would have myself. Now the discussions of whether it's useful seems to be calming down, I find myself focussing on the term used to describe the technique: Responsive text.

What's in a name?

Most of us know the background of the term responsive web design and that it is a hat tip to the field of architecture but I think it is such an accepted name because it's more than just a buzzword to attach to this way of designing for the web, it has a purpose. It's descriptive in its nature and requires very little explanation. It does what it says on the tin.

Unfortunately, I don't think responsive text does the job in the same way as it's parent. This morning, when I read the term responsive text my mind immediately thought it would be some nifty rem resizable text which adapts the font size depending on the canvas width. Essentially, it was a way of stripping content out for smaller devices using a combination of spans and media queries which strikes me as more a form of censorship for mobile devices. Maybe it's the wrong term but it is restricting content for smaller screens which is a form of censorship, maybe not.

The point I'm trying to laboriously get to here is that as new techniques and methods are discovered and adopted, we need to be careful about the terminology we create along the way. It needs to go beyond a way of just labelling a technique and get to the heart of the solution. I think it's why terms like responsive web design, mobile first and 320 & up stick so easily in people's minds. They transcend the form of a simple label and become more of a philosophy.