Responsive Website Design
Responsive web design is a web design approach for designing sites to provide an ideal browsing experience; easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling across a range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones. In simple terms, a responsive web design uses ‘media queries’ to figure out what resolution of device it’s being served on.
The number of devices, platforms and browsers that the designer needs to check a website on is ever on the increase and designers are getting to the point where keeping up with this endless new devices and platforms is becoming cumbersome. It is in fact impractical to create a website version for each new resolution and device; on the other hand this risks losing the visitors using an unsupported device.
Responsive web design then does seem like a good option and is infact the method which may now be used to build website. Responsive design layouts respond to their environment.
This is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on-screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.
Three key technical features are the heart of responsive Web design
1. Media queries and media query listeners
2. A flexible grid-based layout that uses relative sizing
3. Flexible images and media, through dynamic re sizing or CSS
Truly responsive Web design requires all three features implemented
While mobile devices are changing the display landscape, with appearance of more and more small screens, don’t forget that desktop displays are also getting larger and larger. Having to serve both segments shouldn’t stop designers from being innovative on either.
The key point is adapting to the user’s needs and device capabilities. The mobile user will be viewing the site on a small screen hence instinctively the designer may adapt the content to the screen size; but mobile user too requires all the information just as the desktop pc user. Thus the information will need to presented but in a different order. The design will need to respond to touch environment too since it is becoming popular on both mobiles and computers.
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