Responsive web design, or Mobile-Friendly Web Design, is a web design approach aimed at creating websites that adapt to mobile devices and the desktop or any other viewing environment. This provides an optimal viewing experience, easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices.
Check out the Responsive web design definition on Wikipedia for a more formal definition.
All WordPress websites that I create are built to be mobile-friendly on all devices, such as an iPhone, Android, or other smartphones. I also offer custom mobile-friendly web design, which makes your website easier to navigate by streamlining the information. Using a StudioPress theme on the Genesis Framework ensures that websites look good on any device.
Why is Responsive Web Design Important?
As the adoption of smartphone and tablet devices rapidly increase, so also does the importance of mobile-friendly websites.
- Excellent User Experience
It is the user experience that enables visitors to consume content on any website through the device of their choice and preference at anytime.
- Recommended By Google
With 67 percent search market share, when Google speaks, search marketers listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice.
- One Website, Many Devices
Responsive web design sites are fluid, meaning the content moves freely across all screen resolutions and all devices. Both the grids and the images are fluid.
- Easier to Manage and Cost Effective
The advantages of having a single site that conforms to the need of all devices are significant when compared to having two separate websites. One website costs less than two, and the savings can be substantial.
How is Responsive Web Design Implemented?
Responsive web design is broken down into three main components, including flexible layouts, media queries, and flexible media.
- Flexible layouts
This is the practice of building the layout of a website with a flexible grid, capable of dynamically resizing to any width. Flexible grids are built using relative length units, most commonly percentages or em units. These relative lengths are then used to declare common grid property values such as width, margin, or padding.
- Media queries
Media queries were built as an extension to media types commonly found when targeting and including styles. Media queries provide the ability to specify different styles for individual browser and device circumstances, the width of the viewport or device orientation for example. Being able to apply uniquely targeted styles opens up a world of opportunity and leverage to responsive web design.
- Flexible media
The final, equally important aspect to responsive web design involves flexible media. As viewports begin to change size media doesn’t always follow suit. Images, videos, and other media types need to be scalable, changing their size as the size of the viewport changes.
To fully understand responsive design you should know about its creator, Ethan Marcotte. You must read his influential article about responsive web design, I highly recommend it. In his article, he discusses all the key ideas that form responsive web design. Responsive Design is not a single piece of technology but a set of techniques and ideas that work together to produce the end result.