Resilient Web Design


With a title like Resilient Web Design, you might think that this is a handbook for designing robust websites. This is not a handbook. It’s more like a history book.

Marshall McLuhan once said:

We look at the present through a rear‐view mirror. We march backwards into the future.

But in the world of web design, we are mostly preoccupied with the here and now. When we think beyond our present moment, it is usually to contemplate the future—to imagine the devices, features, and interfaces that don’t yet exist. We don’t have time to look back upon our past, and yet the history of web design is filled with interesting ideas.

The World Wide Web has been around for long enough now that we can begin to evaluate the twists and turns of its evolution. I wrote this book to highlight some of the approaches to web design that have proven to be resilient. I didn’t do this purely out of historical interest (although I am fascinated by the already rich history of our young industry). In learning from the past, I believe we can better prepare for the future.

You won’t find any code in here to help you build better websites. But you will find ideas and approaches. Ideas are more resilient than code. I’ve tried to combine the most resilient ideas from the history of web design into an approach for building the websites of the future.

I hope you will join me in building a web that lasts; a web that’s resilient.