I'm sorry if this is a duplicate before I begin.

As everybody knows, there has been major growth on tablets and mobiles within the last few years. I am aware of Stack Overflow's mobile site but wouldn't it be more useful for the site to have a responsive design layout so that users of every screen size would be able to see all the content without having to sniff the user agent to show the mobile site?

I have worked with responsive design in my current project and it works very well for all devices that I have tested it on.

What do you think? Should Stack Overflow be remodeled with a responsive design?

  • I'm not sure where I stand on this, but is your only argument in favor of a redesign the ability to remove the user agent check? Have you had issues with the mobile site, or with the full site on small-screen devices? Dec 6, 2013 at 22:27
  • 2
    Flagging this for reopening - a discussion about why SO should be fluid or not isn't the same as having a responsive website compatible with lots of devices. With an android app nearly in beta, and iOS one in the works too that means there's multiple app versions plus a mobile and a desktop site. That's a lot of codebases to manage. Why is this the case instead of one single site?
    – JonW
    Jan 14, 2014 at 15:25
  • 1
    @JonW: How is that a viable discussion for the community to conduct? If Stack Exchange wants to support separate platforms, that's their own problem, is it not? A discussion here can then only be done in general terms, and could just as well be migrated to Programmers then. Jan 14, 2014 at 15:45
  • 2
    @MartijnPieters: It's a user issue too. If I want to use any StackExchange site on my android phone I've got to either download an app, use the (limited feature) mobile version or squint at the full desktop version.
    – JonW
    Jan 14, 2014 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


New Stack dev here. I wondered the same thing. As you're aware, there are mobile versions of SO, and we use the two different versions of the site based on the device that you're viewing it on. You can read more on the design here (another one of our dev's blogs)

It seems to be that it's less of a concern of whether responsive is "better" and balancing that with the effort to switch over. Adapting the site to mobile is more than just changing CSS styles and adapting the JavaScript, it also involves parsing through what the essential parts of SO are and then modifying the codebase to reflect that - it's a non-trivial effort. In the end, if those versions of the mobile site are different enough from the desktop version, it may be better to keep them as separate versions.

That being said, there are a lot of different ways to access SO on mobile, not just on the web, but in some cool experiments we're doing here with native.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .