What is Responsive Web Design?
Web Design has become much more than its name implies. In the beginning, it was simple; code it, add some photos, color, a nice piece of clip art and your site was ready to launch. This has obviously changed, and much more so in the last few years thanks to new technology and responsive web design. Accessible internet has created a wider audience and a competitive field. The introduction of smart phones, tablets, iPhone’s/Pad’s, has only served to broaden our communication sets–there are screens on our desk, in our pockets, and ingrained in every fabric of our lives. Our needs have risen and, as a result, the obligation for coherent and cohesive web design. This concept and application has skyrocketed, and encompasses the idea of interactive, responsive or adaptive designs that have the ability to shift easily depending on the product its being used with.
Whether you are using your laptop, tablet, or smart phone, we expect the websites we view to convert to our devices. Unbeknownst to most, this doesn’t happen as seamlessly as it may seem. There are patterns available to make this switch, as well as options such as adaptive and responsive web designs. An adaptive web design has multiple fixed width layouts; a long way of saying that when viewed on your mobile, the images, tabs, etc., adapts with your phone and usually shifts in size. A responsive web design, however, goes the extra mile and, quite literally, responds to your device. With a responsive web design, using a multiple fixed grid layout, items will change; the search bar may be moved to the bottom for easier accessibility, a drop down menu may be added instead of tabs, the list goes on.
When considering an option for your own site, remember that there is a time and place for everything. While a responsive web design allows flexibility, this may not be the right fit for you. Depending on content, business, and layout, you may find your self going one way or the other, or may settle with a mixture of two. Be sure to recognize your websites flaws, the extent of your browser support, and whether it may be more effective to invest in an App rather than a mobile site.
Understanding your site and the capacity its used in, is key. Don’t be discouraged, browse the internet for frameworks, options, and suggestions; what works for someone else may not work for you. What matters is easier mobile accessibility and whether your website can deliver.