Responsive image brainstorming

I enjoyed Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s self-proclaimed “Morten thinking out loud” posts on responsive images in WordPress.

As Morten notes, the responsive images community group is working on a plugin that may become a WordPress feature plugin proposal for core some time in the future. I’ve covered the plugin before.

In Morten’s two-part series (part 1, part 2), he discusses some of the challenges that WordPress faces to get to an ideal world scenario for WordPress images. A world where image “sizes” are much more about container sizes than actual image sizes or even viewport sizes.

He thinks the entire system needs re-thinking, and while I think he’s being a bit ambitious (like with CSS cropping, which has bad browser support), I do agree it’s worth a conversation.

If  you’re with me so far one thing should be abundantly clear by this point: This change will require a complete overhaul of how images are handled by WordPress. And this overhaul is actually in progress through the work of the RICG Responsive Images team and the ImageFlow team. I’ve mulled about this to members of both teams for some time and I hope that with this post we can start the conversation in earnest and put some meat on these bones.

It is quite possible that I am off on a path into the wilderness here and that what I’m proposing is not feasible, but I am convinced this needs to be explored. Responsive Images are a fundamentally different animal from regular old images, and they require a whole new way of thinking. Trying to cage them in the old modalities of image sizes makes no sense. It is time to rethink everything. I propose we start here.

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