One of the best things about responsive design in my opinion is that it finally forces us to start thinking about what we’re building. Your goal can’t simply be to mash a bunch of images and text on a page and make it look good unless of course that’s the sole purpose of your site.
We hope though that most sites are much more than that. It’s about deliverying a message and sparking an emotion through an experience that we hope is memorable enough to leave an impression, want to see the users coming back and telling their friends about it.
So what does that have to do with responsive design?
When you start thinking responsively, you have to start thinking about how to deliver that message and create that experience on a 320 pixel canvas. (IE: A phone). If you have only 320 pixels you really have one column from which to work so start slashing anything that isn’t critical to sparking a an emotion, or response from the user. Then start prioritizing the items that remain and figure out if these were represented as a bunch of blocks and I had to stack them one on top of the other, how could I still best present them? That’s what you are essentially doing when starting with a mobile first mind-set.
As you scale up, remember that you don’t have to fill every square inch of a page just becasue it’s there. Sometimes messages are best delivered with lots of breathing room. You don’t see a lot of SPA’s that are cluttered and should be featured on hoarders.