This article was written in 2013. It might or it might not be outdated. And it could be that the layout breaks. If that’s the case please let me know.

Retina is an aberration

People, and especially web designers and web developers are full of the so called retina revolution. Displays get higher density and some displays that Apple sells have 4 device pixels per pixel (yes, that’s weird). This means that vector graphics look great, and pixel graphics look like shit. The natural reaction is of course to start optimising our pixel graphics for these fantastic new high end devices. But should we really?

I think a much more interesting revolution than the retina revolution is the keep-selling-old-hardware-like-it’s-new-revolution. This has a bigger impact on what we can and should do on the web. There are just a few people who have high dpi screens, and there are even less people who can actually recognise the quality of these screens. People with excellent eye-sight and a retina screen are an aberration, and definitely not the rule. These are not the people we should be designing for.

We could design for the worst case instead. For instance, my seventy five year old father with a first generation iPhone in his hammock under two olive trees in Greece. But this is an exception too. I like the more pragmatic approach to raster images that David Bushell promotes. A sensible medium will mostly work just fine.