What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design (RWD) creates a system for a single site to react to the size of a user’s device—with one URL and one content source. A responsive website has a fluid and flexible layout which adjusts according to screen size.
The importance of responsive web design is that it offers an optimized browsing experience.
Basically, your website will look great and work well on a desktop (or laptop), a tablet, and a mobile phone’s browser.
In the past, developers built more than one site in order to accommodate different screen sizes. With the number of device types out there on the market today, this seems completely inefficient…right?
Benefits of Mobile Responsive Design
The number one benefit of a responsive layout is the guarantee that any user on any device will have the best experience possible on your website. And, the most consistent.
Website responsiveness is also a great way to refine the content on your site, making sure that people using a mobile device are only seeing the most essential information.
With the Google algorithm update, a responsive web design increases visibility on search engines—because it is mobile-friendly. A site with an effective mobile experience will show up in search results above one without.
Why Responsive Design is Important for Business
- Increase reach to customers and clients on smaller devices (tablets & smartphones)
- A consistent experience that can increase lead generation, sales and conversions
- Analytics, tracking, and reporting can all be in one place
- Time and cost on-site content management is decreased
How to Make a Responsive Design
There are a number of things to think about when creating a responsive layout. It is a process that requires a design system and hierarchy of content across devices.
The three main components of a responsive web design include:
- A fluid grid
- Flexible text & images
- Media queries
I’ll explain each further.
A Fluid Grid
The grid is a crucial element for creating a responsive layout.
Now, grids aren’t anything new.
Web designers have used grids for building websites since the beginning. However, in the past, these grids were fixed width and didn’t lend themselves to support a fluid website layout.
A fluid grid used for responsive sites will ensure that the design is flexible and scalable. Elements will have consistent spacing, proportion, and can adjust to a specific screen-width based on percentages.
1220 px and more
960 – 1219 px
768 – 959 px
480 – 767 px
479 px and less
With a fluid grid, users will have the best experience on whatever screen they view your responsive website on.
Flexible Text & Images
The way to display text varies depending on what device a user is viewing your site on, but it should be readable no matter what. On mobile responsive websites, there is an opportunity to increase font size and line height (the spacing between each line of text) for legibility.
Flexible text and images adjust within a website layout width, according to the content hierarchy set with the CSS (stylesheet). Text can now be legible regardless of the end user’s device. With a flexible container (within the grid), text can wrap with an increase in font size on smaller devices.
Flexible images can prove to be more challenging because of load times on smaller device browsers. But these images can scale, crop, or disappear depending on what content is essential to the mobile experience.