The Responsive Images Community Group: What Comes Next

The RICG’s work is starting to wind down, but we’re just getting started at the same time.

We’re a weird sort of web standards organization. We’re nebulous by design: a rallying point for anyone that wants to get involved in the kinds of new standards that most impact their daily work. We aim to prevent developers from becoming a web standards talking point by directly involving them in the decisions that shape the web.

For the overwhelming majority of us, the RICG is a labor of love—nights, weekends, and the occasional skipped lunch. We’re designers and developers ourselves, with deadlines, client demands, and project requirements that we can’t always control. While that gives us tremendous perspective into what we all need from web standards, it hasn’t left the group with an abundance of time. So, with resources at a premium, we stayed laser-focused on solving the issue that brought the community group together in the first place: responsive images.

Now, the responsive images work will never be “done” any more than a website is ever “done.” There are bugs in the spec that only reveal themselves through time and testing, like any other software project. We’re continuing to use what we’ve learned from writing the spec—and implementing responsive images ourselves—to make them as painless as possible in our day-to-day work. We’re working with the WordPress team to seamlessly integrate responsive images into the WP core. The largely forgotten image-set() CSS spec could do with some attention, too—and the addition of the technical advances we now have for images in markup.

But these responsive images efforts have taken on a momentum of their own, thanks to the community, and we’re not pushing anymore. Instead we’re helping to steer, alongside all of you who’ve blogged, tweeted, built demos, or filed bugs against specs and polyfills. Meanwhile, the RICG keeps growing, and we’re getting better at playing the web standards game as we go. Companies like Opera, Mozilla, Filament Group, and my own Bocoup are sponsoring developer time on RICG efforts. In bits and pieces, we’re finding more time—and that means we can expand our efforts beyond responsive images.

We’re starting with element queries: a method of handling layouts within specific elements based on the dimensions of the elements themselves rather than the viewport size alone, allowing for much modular approaches to styling. We didn’t choose the easiest subject out of the gate, but we did choose one that stands to make a tremendous difference in the way we all work.

Our aim hasn’t changed: to make the web better—to help our fellow designers and developers build fast, efficient, flexible responsive websites. I’m tremendously proud of the work we’ve done already, and just as excited about the work we’ll be able to do with you all in the future.

The Responsive Images Community Group is dead.

Long live the Responsive Issues Community Group.

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