Responsive web design is a relatively new approach to website design that ensures users have a good viewing experience no matter what type of device they’re using. It’s become increasingly important over the last few years as mobile device ownership has exploded and traditional PC sales have slowed. And now that Google is prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in its search results algorithm, it’s essential to make sure your site is optimized for mobile by using responsive design.
Responsive design allows your website to adapt to the device your users are viewing it on. It provides you with the capability to write once publish everywhere, meaning less work for you.
The reasons you should move across to responsive design continues to grow. It saves you time, it saves you money, and best of all enables your user to access your content the way they love.
Responsive design can be achieved in three simple steps. A flexible grid-based layout, enable flexible media, and finally the addition of media queries. Let’s get started with some detailed instructions
Responsive web design consists of three development principles. To work properly, all three of these need to be implemented:
- Fluid grids
- Media queries
- Flexible images and media
A flexible grid-based layout is the cornerstone of responsive design. It uses relative sizing to fit the content to the device’s screen size. The term “grid” is a little misleading because it’s not necessary to implement any of the available grid frameworks. Instead, CSS is used to position the content. This approach is based on percentages and is a departure from traditional pixel-based design principles. Responsive design moves away from the pixel-based approach because a pixel on one device could be eight pixels on another device. By basing text size, widths, and margins on percentages, a fixed size can be turned into a size relative to its display space.
Media queries, also known as breakpoints, can be used to apply different styles based on the capabilities of the device. The website detects the type of device you’re using or the size of your web browser and correctly displays the page. To see this in action, stretch the window of your web browser to different sizes. Notice how the page adjusts. Features can be used to control the width, height, max-width, max-height, device-height, orientation, aspect ratio, etc.
Flexible Images and Media
This feature allows you to adapt images and other media to load differently, depending on the device, either by scaling or using the CSS overflow property.
Scaling in CSS is relatively straightforward—the media element’s max width can be set at 100 percent, and the web browser will make the image shrink and expand depending on its container.
An alternative to scaling media is to crop it with CSS. Applying overflow:hidden allows images to be cropped dynamically so that they fit into their containers.