Responsive web design is a critical component of every website. But, what exactly does this mean? And why is it necessary in the digital age?
What Is Responsive Web Design? Responsive Design Definition
Responsive web design dictates that web design should adapt to the user’s environment. It uses code such as CSS and HTML to make web pages display properly on different devices and using different screen resolutions. Using responsive web design, your website will automatically adjust its components and features to fit the device a user is viewing it from.
The concept of responsive design is not new in the digital world. It has been around since the early 2000s, but it gained traction upon the introduction of new devices such as smartphones and tablets. Instead of utilizing different web addresses for different versions of your website (mobile, desktop, etc.), responsive website design involves housing all of the code under one website. This makes it a more cost-efficient option over mobile applications.
The Role of Responsive Web Design in the Digital Age
In today’s world, responsive websites are more critical than ever. It is a matter of convenience to users, who use a variety of devices from which to view your website. With responsive design, users won’t need to manually zoom in or out to get a better look at your website from a mobile browser.
But, it is also a matter of appearance. Responsive web design takes your website and makes it automatically adjust to different screen sizes so that it looks better. While that may not seem like much initially, it will soon become apparent that appearance plays a major role in website traffic and bounce rates.
In the past, web developers needed to design websites individually depending on the platform used. Companies had to commission work for an “iPhone website” and an “Android website” separately. It quickly became obvious, though, that this was not an efficient or cost-effective way to approach things. Hence, responsive web design experienced a rise in popularity. Today, it remains an essential fixture in modern web design.
Designing a Responsive Website
It is easy to tell your web developer to “make a responsive website” and wait for the results. But, as a business owner, it is beneficial to familiarize yourself with some of the concepts involved in responsive web design. While we won’t get into all the jargon of HTML and CSS, here are the key components of a responsive website.
As more and more brands come into the fold, there are more options for screen resolutions now more than ever. From smartphones to tablets, websites need to be able to adapt to a variety of screen sizes. Websites also need to be able to seamlessly switch between portrait and landscape orientations. Thanks to flexible layouts, though, designing a responsive website is easier now than two decades ago.
Inserting a <meta> tag to all of your web pages will allow it to scale smoothly according to the resolution and orientation. Without this tag, the pictures and text on a mobile website will not adjust themselves to fit the available space. Instead, it will look awkward and small, forcing the user to either zoom in or just exit the page altogether.
Use the following tag as an example:
<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>
Nowadays, websites are all about a mix of text and images. Images give users something to look at that is not just a block of words. They make websites appear more attractive instead of just boring. But, when they don’t scale properly, they can be unpleasant to look at or navigate through.
To make images responsive, you must make them flexible. To do this, you must make sure the CSS max-width is set to 100%. This will allow the pictures to fill the screen nicely regardless of the device or screen size. With this tag, images will scale up or down as necessary.
Use the following as an example:
<img src=”img_girl.jpg” style=”max-width:100%;height:auto;”>
Responsive Text Size
Similar to images, the size of your text should also scale up or down depending on the screen or device. If the text remains the same size across all devices, then users will either have a hard time reading through it or become irritated at how large the font is. To adjust text size so that it automatically adapts to the browser window’s size, use the following as an example:
<h1 style=”font-size:10vw”>Hello World</h1>
Changing the Structural Layout
While adjusting the size of your images and text can be an easy solution, some sizes need to change drastically to better fit the browser. In this case, it is smarter to just change the layout with the help of media queries or style sheets.
This does not mean you will need to construct a new layout for every type of device, though. You can simply create one main style sheet, which acts as the default layout. Then, different structural elements such as the sidebar, the content, and the navigation bar would be flexible. If a style sheet alters the layout, making it appear too wide, the query can take notice and shift to a different style sheet.
For instance, if your website displays elements in a horizontal manner on a larger browser, it might adjust to display them vertically instead when faced with a smaller screen. This allows for responsive web design.
Selective Display of Content
Hire Professional Help
Responsive web design is integral to websites nowadays. But, it is certainly one of the more technical aspects of running a website, and there is no doubt that technology will continue to advance to incorporate more methods for responsive web design. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the expertise to use it properly. The good news is, there are several companies that offer responsive web design services.
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