What is Responsive Web Design?
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
In the design world, trends beget trends, and some of the most enduring and important developments are the direct result of other new technologies becoming more and more pervasive. Responsive Website Design (or RWD) is a perfect example of this. It represents a new technique of web design that requires a different way of thinking.
In the past, website designs have been fairly static. For decades the overwhelming majority of web browsing has been done on relatively similar desktop computers, and although the standard resolution has grown, this hasn’t required any radical change to the way a web page is put together. As long as it generally fitted the minimum and maximum accepted screen sizes, the elements of the page could largely remain the same to most viewers.
The age of mobile devices has changed all that. A huge number of portable devices such as iPhones, the range of Android smartphones, tablets and netbooks are all becoming standard devices to access the internet and view many pages. These devices don’t have a standard screen size or resolution, and there isn’t even a common aspect ratio. This means that static web designs are liable to become stilted, stretched or distorted, or else require cumbersome amounts of zoom to read. Even static web pages designed specifically for mobile won’t necessarily fit every screen that views it. Responsive Web Design is the solution.
The key is that responsive web design does just that – it responds. It automatically detects the user’s screen size and then adjusts the elements on the page so that they resize and relocate to fit it better. This requires an extremely flexible and fluid construction, usually utilising a grid structure that can be reassembled easily. It also takes a creative approach to solve this new and interesting problem, and a practical approach to what information needs to be on the mobile site, and what can be removed for the sake of simplicity.
Responsive Web Design is a major web design trend that will only become increasingly influential. Contact Avatar if you’d like to discuss how Reponsive Web Design can be applied to your site. The good news is that for many sites, the setup is often relatively simple and quick to implement.
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