The Big Fuss about responsive website design

The number of electronic devices that today’s generation uses is far more than all the previous generations combined. Through a technical approach known as responsive web design, different web pages can be easily rendered on different devices, with varying screen sizes and windows. Devices commonly used for these include tablets, desktops and smartphones. On using this technique, elements of web design do not get distorted.

When did the approach come about?

The whole objective of creating a responsive design is to provide all users with a gratifying and intuitive experience. This approach was first coined and predominantly developed by Ethan Marcotte. He has written a book called Responsive Web Design, which is most suitable for developers and is certainly worth a read.

The term responsive is used to describe something which is able to react swiftly and positively to change, and that is how it came to be used for website design. Responsive website design allows sites to fluidly and constantly change according to different factors like viewport width. Such a design is able to dynamically adapt to various browser viewports, changing content and layouts. HTML and CSS are used to change the size, reduce or enlarge, or even shift the content to make it appear great on any screen.  

Components of responsive web design

The responsive design comprises of the following three components:

  • Flexible media
  • Media queries
  • Flexible layouts

Flexible media does not make use of fixed measurement units such as inches or pixels. The reason for this is the varying viewport width and height from one device to another. Layouts of websites need to adapt to change, but fixed values have far too many constraints.  

Based on media types usually found while targeting and including various styles, media queries were built as an extension to these. Such media queries are able to specify varies styles for individual browsers as well as device circumstances, viewport width and device orientations being examples. By making use of targeted styles, a world of leverage and opportunity opens up with regards to responsive web design.  

Inclusion of responsive images

One of the key components of a responsive website is a collection of responsive images. These are the pictures which can be scaled to fit the size of any browser. Such images can be adjusted for the website with suitable CSS knowledge. Designers will need to be able to work on the width property in CSS. A number of CSS frameworks allow creation of responsive websites. Most of these are free, and are quite easy to use.

Meet any client, and they are bound to ask you for a mobile version of their websites. The number of e-commerce stores are also growing day by day, which means that there is very high demand for such web design. Wait and watch the next five years, and you will see web designs being made for many more inventions. Is there any possibility of a stop to this madness? Professionals in the field certainly do not seem to think so.