What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design makes your web page look good on all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones). Responsive Web Design is about using CSS and HTML to resize, hide, shrink, enlarge, or move the content to make it look good on any screen.
Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)
In the field of Web design and development, we’re quickly getting to the point of being unable to keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices. For many websites, creating a website version for each resolution and new device would be impossible, or at least impractical. Should we just suffer the consequences of losing visitors from one device, for the benefit of gaining visitors from another? Or is there another option?
Responsive Web design 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.
The Concept Of Responsive Web
“Responsive Web Design,” for A List Apart. It stems from the notion of responsive architectural design, whereby a room or space automatically adjusts to the number and flow of people within it:
Recently, an emergent discipline called “responsive architecture” has begun asking how physical spaces can respond to the presence of people passing through them. Through a combination of embedded robotics and tensile materials, architects are experimenting with art installations and wall structures that bend, flex, and expand as crowds approach them. Motion sensors can be paired with climate control systems to adjust a room’s temperature and ambient lighting as it fills with people. Companies have already produced “smart glass technology” that can automatically become opaque when a room’s occupants reach a certain density threshold, giving them an additional layer of privacy.”
Transplant this discipline onto Web design, and we have a similar yet whole new idea. Why should we create a custom Web design for each group of users; after all, architects don’t design a building for each group size and type that passes through it? Like responsive architecture, Web design should automatically adjust. It shouldn’t require countless custom-made solutions for each new category of users.
Obviously, we can’t use motion sensors and robotics to accomplish this the way a building would. Responsive Web design requires a more abstract way of thinking. However, some ideas are already being practiced: fluid layouts, media queries and scripts that can reformat Web pages and mark-up effortlessly (or automatically).
But responsive Web design is not only about adjustable screen resolutions and automatically resizable images, but rather about a whole new way of thinking about design. Let’s talk about all of these features, plus additional ideas in the making.
Adjusting Screen Resolution
With more devices come varying screen resolutions, definitions and orientations. New devices with new screen sizes are being developed every day, and each of these devices may be able to handle variations in size, functionality and even colour. Some are in landscape, others in portrait, still others even completely square. As we know from the rising popularity of the iPhone, iPad and advanced smartphones, many new devices are able to switch from portrait to landscape at the user’s whim. How is one to design for these situations?
In addition to designing for both landscape and portrait (and enabling those orientations to possibly switch in an instant upon page load), we must consider the hundreds of different screen sizes. Yes, it is possible to group them into major categories, design for each of them, and make each design as flexible as necessary. But that can be overwhelming, and who knows what the usage figures will be in five years? Besides, many users do not maximize their browsers, which itself leaves far too much room for variety among screen sizes.
Since then even more devices have come out. It’s obvious that we can’t keep creating custom solutions for each one. So, how do we deal with the situation?
Part Of Solution: Make Everything Flexible
A few years ago, when flexible layouts were almost a “luxury” for websites, the only things that were flexible in a design were the layout columns (structural elements) and the text. Images could easily break layouts, and even flexible structural elements broke a layout’s form when pushed enough. Flexible designs weren’t really that flexible; they could give or take a few hundred pixels, but they often couldn’t adjust from a large computer screen to a netbook.
Now we can make things more flexible. Images can be automatically adjusted, and we have workarounds so that layouts never break (although they may become squished and illegible in the process). While it’s not a complete fix, the solution gives us far more options. It’s perfect for devices that switch from portrait orientation to landscape in an instant or for when users switch from a large computer screen to an iPad.
The entire design is a lovely mix of fluid grids, fluid images and smart mark-up where needed. Creating fluid grids is fairly common practice, and there are a number of techniques for creating fluid images:
- Hiding and Revealing Portions of Images
- Creating Sliding Composite Images
- Foreground Images That Scale With the Layout
If resized too small, the image would appear to be of low quality, but keeping the name of the website visible and not cropping it off was important. So, the image is divided into two: one (of the illustration) set as a background, to be cropped and to maintain its size, and the other (of the name) resized proportionally.
Flexible Images Link
One major problem that needs to be solved with responsive Web design is working with images. There are a number of techniques to resize images proportionately, and many are easily done. The most popular option, noted in Ethan Marcotte’s article on fluid images but first experimented with by Richard Rutter, is to use CSS’s max-width for an easy fix.
Top 5 Advantages of Responsive Web Page Design
There is NO doubt that Responsive Web Design is very important for today’s web design point of view. Smartphone and tablet adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites. Smartphones and tablets have changed the approach toward design and user experience. Before the spread of mobile devices with advanced web-browsing capability, web designers had only one primary challenge to deal with keeping the same look and feel of their websites. However, interacting with websites on smartphones and tablets is not the same as doing that on a desktop computer monitors. Factors such as Click versus Touch, Screen-size, Pixel-resolution, support for Adobe’s Flash technology, optimized markup and many more have become crucial while creating websites with Responsive Design.
If SEO is a core component of your digital marketing strategy, having a mobile–friendly website is becoming essential. Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales, and mobile Internet usage is predicted to overtake desktop internet usage by 2014. It is only logical that mobile search will overtake desktop search at some point in the near future as well.
In Other Words
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach of laying-out and coding a website such that the website provides an optimal viewing experience — ease of reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling — across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
The designer creating a Responsive Design should ensure that the website’s navigation elements, screen-layouts, text, images, audio/video players and other UI elements re-adjust themselves on a variety of devices. Thus, one need not spend extra time and money in creating and maintaining one “mobile-site version” and another “desktop-site version” of her website.
Now, having understood what is Responsive Web Design, let us Check the advantages and why Responsive Design is important while creating websites.
Advantages of Responsive Design:
1. Super Flexible:
Responsive web design sites are fluid, meaning the content moves freely across all screen resolutions and all devices. Both the grids and the images are fluid. Just as a liquid spreads out or draws in to allow its content to fill an allotted space and retain its appearance, responsive web design’s fluidity achieves the same result with website content on a device screen.
2. Excellent User Experience:
While, content is king and discover ability of content is most important, it is the user experience that enables visitors to consume content on any website through their choice and preference. Thus, responsive web design is about providing the optimal user experience irrespective of whether they use a desktop computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a smart-TV. Responsive web design accommodates the busy professional during the day and the wide-awake college student needing access to your site anytime. No scrolling or resizing is needed for any visitor to access your website from their favorite device.
3. Cost Effective:
The advantages of having a single site that conforms to the need of all devices are significant when compared to having two separate websites. One website costs less than two, and the savings can be substantial. Sites designed solely for mobile device traffic don’t offer the advanced navigational techniques found in traditional websites, and they also require the user to maintain two separate web addresses for your site. This is inconvenient for most people and can cause them to check out the competition’s website. Responsive web design enhances SEO efforts by having all your visitors directed to a single site no matter what they prefer to use as a device.
4. It is Recommended By Google:
With 67 percent search market share, when Google speaks, search marketers listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice. This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Contrast this with a separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML than its desktop counterpart, requiring Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.
Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site. Take for example a mobile user who shares content from a mobile site with a friend on Facebook who then accesses that content using a desktop, which results in that user viewing a stripped down mobile site on their desktop. This creates a less than optimal user-experience, and because of the large emphasis Google is now placing on user-experience as a ranking factor, this is essential to take into account with regards to SEO.
5. Very Easy to manage:
Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires having separate SEO campaigns. Managing one site and one SEO campaign is far easier than managing two sites and two SEO campaigns. This is a key advantage a responsive website has over a separate mobile site. That being said, there are benefits to having a mobile-specific SEO strategy, such as optimizing for keywords that are more likely to be searched when someone is on their smartphone. For example, someone performing a mobile search for a local restaurant may be more inclined to use the word “nearby” in their search query. However, a separate mobile site is not a requirement for a mobile SEO strategy, and there’s no reason why mobile-specific keywords can’t be incorporated into a responsive design site as well.
At the end it is your decision, whether you take it or not.
Get Your 100% Responsive Website Today Click Here