Hi reader,

I'm new to this forum and chose this forum in particular to hopefully call on some experts in responsive web design and HTML compatibility gurus.

I am studying a Master of Digital Design at the moment and am doing a short paper on reviewing Ethan Marcotte's book on Responsive Web Design. When informing my course convenor about this, he said to be careful with responsive web design as it can have bloated images and be a problem for bandwidth / download times. He said to look into other techniques of responsive web design or alternatives.

After searching terms relating to responsive web design techniques, I found Steven Bradley's article on 3 types of solutions for web images which lead me to Jeffery Zeldman’s article on the lightness of HTML5 and Mat Marquis's article on responsive images. I can’t help think of the overall complexity of developing web sites currently. As a teacher of web design and a self confessed ‘designer’ as opposed to a ‘developer’ - I might be considered a 'front end developer' however. I find the current state of HTML and CSS overly complex, convoluted and unnecessarily difficult to deal with (referring to versions and browser compatibility and not how to write mark-up and or syntax). How does one learn, let alone teach web design and coding without feeling confused as to what mark-up and CSS version to use? The further I look into versions, compatibility and best practice of web design and dev, I end up utterly dumbfounded as to what the future holds and where to focus developing my skills and knowledge. Should I stick to XHTML or move to HTML5? Is it too early to start establishing HTML5 for all projects? What CSS version is best for compatibility, 2 or 3? When will HTML5 be fully implemented? Why does IE have so many web standards and compatibility issues? Is responsive web design really the way to go for all web sites? What about device detection and using separate mobile sites – when should these be used?

I guess that my questions are being asked by a lot of other people and this is just how things are. I do believe however that web standards and web browsers are making things unnecessarily convoluted and complicated for web designers / developers. Surely things can be consolidated and simplified?

What I would like is perhaps some pointers to good books or articles relating to the issues I have said to hopefully save me endless hours of net surfing and to stop my head exploding.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate your help.