With the number of mobile phone users now exceeding 6 billion, it’s important for every website to be able to display properly on all devices. Responsive web design (RWD) is a method that uses special coding techniques to ensure that your website can adjust to any screen size and device, without having to maintain two separate websites. The challenge is to develop a website that can adapt to different screen sizes without making the website look “crushed up” or unwieldy. To accomplish this, web designers utilize a system of breakpoints, or specific points at which the design will change, based on the width of the viewing area, called media queries. These are added to the style sheet for your website so that the content can adjust accordingly.
This allows for a much more user friendly experience. Instead of visitors having to pinch, zoom, or drag the page around in order to read the content, it will automatically shift to a more readable format that will allow them to access the information they need. This can also increase the amount of time they spend on the site. There are many different ways to implement responsive design, and it’s a good idea to start with a basic layout and then add more advanced features as your knowledge of the technology grows. For example, you can use card UI patterns to create modules that are easier to move around on the page and can fit into a variety of designs. This saves time and can make the overall design more flexible and easy to work with on different devices.
Another important aspect of responsive design is the use of flexible images, or adaptive images, which provide a range of solutions for varying image sizes. One way is to use CSS’s max-width to resize images proportionally when the viewport gets narrow. This can help reduce the file size of large images, resulting in a faster loading website. If you’re interested in learning more about the details of responsive design, it’s a good idea to study up on some of the most popular examples of sites that use this approach. A quick search for “responsive web design” on the internet will provide a wealth of resources to draw inspiration from.
The Rally Interactive website is a great example of how a responsive website can still retain the same branding and general look of its desktop version while providing the ultimate mobile experience. The menu and images remain the same on both the desktop and mobile versions of this site, while the text is shifted from multiple columns to one column on the info and search pages. For a more hands-on look at how responsive design can be used, you can visit the Responsive Design Demo on Google’s resizer tool, which will show you what happens when you resize your browser window down to various dimensions. You can also test out the responsive design of some of the world’s most recognized brands, including Nike, Asos, and H&M, by visiting their online stores.