Responsive Web Design is a web design solution developed to create websites that provide an optimal viewing experience across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones, tablet through to laptops and desktop computers. This provides a much easier, device-led viewing & navigating experience with a minimum of resizing, scrolling, etc.
A responsive website reconfigures the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media. More often than not however, any one user will see five layout styles: two for their smartphone (landscape and portrait), two for their tablet (landscape and portrait) and one for their desktop.
Interestingly, responsive website design also means that the website design can change to the needs and environment of the user and can be designed to appear quite different to that seen on a desktop computer. In certain cases, it may be that the user sees a completely different website style on their mobile than they do on their desktop.
Consider, for example, a recruitment agency website. Whilst the desktop website may included multiple pages, each explaining a different aspect of their service/solution. The site, if responsively designed, could be created to show just a job search and nothing else, making the experience relevant for ‘on-the-go’. Moreover, the site may be faster loading for access over cellular networks.
As smartphones and tablets have grown tremendously in popularity during recent years, it is not surprising that web designers have responded positively to these devices and have quickly recognised that desktop computers are no longer the main viewing device of choice.
It was in a May 2010 article A List Apart that Ethan Marcotte first coined the term responsive web design and went on to describe the theory and practice of responsive web design in his brief 2011 book titled Responsive Web Design.
In 2012, .net magazine listed responsive design as number 2 within their Top Web Design Trends.
2013 was named the Year of Responsive Web Design by Mashable.
As sales of smartphones and tablets continue to increase, we expect the % of website views via desktop to decrease leading to more and more companies wanting/needing a mobile version of their website to gain the maximum exposure and not to lose potential visitors.
Moreover, within the next five years we will likely require a design for a number of additional inventions. For example, by 2017 it is predicted that more than half of all television sets purchased will be web enabled.
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If you are interested in discussing your next web project, please contact Frank Norman on 01784 683000 or by email.