What is Responsive Design?

Responsive Web Design

We get many customers asking what the new buzzword of responsive design development is, so we put together an article that helps cover off the details. In the last few years, web developers have slowly been shifting towards a responsive web design approach. With new gadgets popping up every year, responsive web design provides consistency and versatility across just about any mobile device. Pioneered by Ethan Marcotte, responsive web design allows a website to adapt to any device or browser. With a responsive design, users can view, scroll, navigate, and read content easily. It’s very clear that mobile devices have surged to the forefront of consumer’s hands, and web developers have had to stay on their toes to keep coming out with user-friendly sites to keep traffic.

Key Components

 

The main aspects of responsive web design are fluid layouts, flexible images and media queries. Whether it’s switching from landscape to portrait without compromising text size or parts of a navigation menu or viewing the same photo on a smartphone and a tablet at the best resolution, a responsive web design functions to provide an optimal viewing experience. Fluid layouts allow websites to adapt to a browser window as it changes size, and stack website elements depending on device. Flexible images automatically resize to the maximum proportion best suited to a particular browser size. CSS3 media queries create conditions that enable a web design to detect devices and adjust accordingly. All three aspects work together to allow a website to recognize its environment, and change.

Benefits

 

With the attention span of the average viewer at a minimum, the appeal of a responsive design is in its ability to hold traffic. From a user perspective, the best websites are usually the ones that are easy to navigate, have simple yet informative content and can be accessed from any device. A responsive design creates a convenient experience for users. From a web developer’s perspective, a responsive design can be a time saver. Rather than create separate pages for a desktop, tablet, smartphone or e-reader, one design can be applied for every device. It’s the type of design that doesn’t require much maintenance. Even content management using a responsive design is at a minimum because there aren’t multiple sites with varying content. Initially, the design may be arduous, but over time a responsive design requires minimal up-keep. One of the best practices of a responsive design is to start small and begin with mobile. Developing for mobile is much easier than developing for a desktop, as mobile sites can always be built up with desktop-specific features later on. With websites showing steady increases in mobile traffic, responsive web design stays ahead of the curve for the future. Search engine optimization can be maximized with a responsive design. Regardless of device, the website name visited remains the same, which maintains a domain’s authority. The sites are easier to track, and therefore easier to search. Users are less inclined to type out lengthy searches on a mobile device. Because a responsive design starts at the mobile level, shorter keywords can be used to increase SEO.

Why Use it?

Responsive web design is the future. There is an apparent movement from traditional desktops to mobile devices, and web developers have to adopt a way to ease the transition for web users. Although still new and uncovering its best practices, responsive web design is an approach that most designers will have to begin using if they want to see their sites surviving over the next decade.

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