What is Responsive Web Design?

Visitors looking online for a business, have numerous tools for this search. Some arrive via a computer or laptop. Others use a smart phone, an iPad, a small netbook, or a Kindle. All of these devices work a little differently, thereby creating the need for responsive web design. The screen size is different, and so too are screen resolutions. More devices are in development, and for companies wanting to reach as many potential clients or customers as possible, there’s a need for website designs that keep a professional, readable, and workable presence no matter how visitors arrive.

An Online Presence on the Go

In the current marketplace, successful businesses are the ones taking care to remain reachable. Someone looking for a particular service or product might sit down at a computer and use a browser to order what they need. In another part of town another individual might take out a smart phone and initiate a search for the nearest location offering what he or she is seeking. A person standing nearby might start searching on a tablet checking for various spellings of a business name that this individual half remembers. Each of these people is searching for easy access to the information. Depending on the responsive web design of the sites they locate, they will either investigate further or move on to the next possibility.

Fluid and Easy to Read

When a site is designed with RWD, the layout adapts to the view environment requirements of a number of different browsers, or media. Responsive web design requires proportion-based grids, CSS3 media queries and flexible images. Consider reading this sentence on a Kindle, and then switching to a PC to read the next sentence. Several elements of RWD will allow you to view both pages on separate devices with each having the same design, characteristics and style. First, media queries will allow the page to use the different CSS style rules based on the characteristics of each device no matter the width of the browser. Secondly, the flexible images are also sized in relative units. This prevents the image from “leaking” or “shrinking” outside the device’s browser field. At the same time the fluid grid of the page element is designed with more relative unites than pixels or points. These units are more like percentages, so a more exact sizing is possible. With RWD elements the page you see on one device is will look much the same as viewed on another device.

The Difference with RWD

Just a decade ago it wasn’t uncommon to visit sites and find unusable links, missing images, or other issues because the pages of a site were designed to fit different browser. For some time, flexible layouts were viewed as a luxury for websites, but because the results of responsive web design offers the best chance of a more usable site the “wonky” sites are becoming less common. As mobile devices are the norm, having a solid online presence no matter what device RWD is now the more practical solution.