What is Responsive Design?
Web pages that have responsive design elements can be re-sized (sometimes to fit on a tablet or phone) and will rearrange the integral parts of the webpage so they’ll still fit neatly on the screen. You can see that responsive design is much what it sounds like- the design elements will respond to changes in the window size, thus making it more user-friendly. A navigation bar, for example, will transform as the window begins to shrink while other elements will sort themselves in proportion to the size of the window and grid. Responsive design is most useful for businesses who want their website to be accessible to all user devices, from laptop to tablet to smartphone.
How Does it Work?
If a web page isn’t created with responsive design, the elements will sit on a fixed grid and be a fixed size measured in pixels. Instead, a responsive element is measured by a percentage. For example, a picture won’t be measured 300 pixels wide and 300 pixels high. Instead (generally speaking) it would be measured relatively as 50% of whatever container it’s in. Also, the grid that the elements sit on will stretch and shrink in response to the size of the window or device it’s displayed on.
Why Do I Need Responsive Design?
Will your life be horribly incomplete without a website with responsive design? Probably not. But, maybe soon! Responsive design is a pretty recent concept that has gained plenty of traction in web design over the past couple years.
The reason people are moving more and more toward responsive design is because it can be a cost-effective way for a website to be viewed on a mobile device or tablet without having to create a distinct mobile app.
It’s important for companies to think about the user experience in terms of mobile devices because tablet sales are expected to hit the 100 million mark this year. The number of PC-sized screens may be dwarfed in the coming years as users turn to smartphones and tablets to search for nearby lunch spots or respond to emails.