Definition of Responsive Web Design

What is responsive web design? In essence it is when the design of the website responds to the dimensions of the screen. In lamens terms, a website built to be responsive, takes note of the height and width of the screen (actually, the viewable area is usually a browser window, as in Internet Explorer), and adjusts the web page layout to fit the viewable area appropriately (according to what the web designer or creative director deem appropriate).

This is normally used in web layouts; responsive web design can go well beyond layouts. Primarily achieved using media queries which is code language. Responsive web design empowers you to produce web pages that are independent of the viewable area.

Responsive Web Design Case Examples

I think a good example would be a web page that is used for computers and mobile phones, wherein the links in the top menu would be more workable repositioned as a vertical list, rather than a horizontal bar going across. This is not only achievable but the sort of details you will encounter during ur time using Responsive web design.

If you have a grid in your layout where 10 thumbnails fit nicely across on a regular desktop computer monitor, those thumbnails would have to be nearly microscopic to fit 10 across on an iPad or iPhone. With a responsive design you can change it so that if the width of the device is as short as an iPad, it only places 7 thumbnails across, then only 4 thumbnails across for an IPhone may work well.

A lot of website contact forms have a sidebar area (or two) for up-sale and other purposes. This is brilliant for a desktop computer, but on a smart phone, not so good because the form and the sidebar both are shrunken down too small to read. With responsive web design the form can be made to fill the screen and the sidebar could be hidden, placed underneath, “replaced” by other smaller versions with the same message, almost anything is possible.

Responsive Web Design vs. Liquid Layouts

For a while now, there have been web page layouts that flex to the size (usually the width, specifically) of the browsers window, known as liquid layouts. These are still in use today, although they’ve never been as common as the typical fixed layout you’ll find on most websites, this is where the layout stays the same no matter what the viewable area maybe. Liquid layouts are more commonly used for mobile devices, as they can be counted upon to fit every mobile screen size. This sort of layout is usually kept very simple, like a grid of thumbnails or a list of buttons. But if you took that same layout and let it span the width of a desktop monitor, you will probably find it to be too sparse, too stretched or everything is oversized.

Responsive web design includes taking advantage of both liquid and fixed layouts, to accommodate for all screen sizes. Making your business/product/service available for all no matter where they are or what they are doing.

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