In Web design and development, we’re getting to the point of being unable to keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices. For many websites, creating a website version for each resolution and device is impossible, or at least impractical. Should we just suffer the consequences of losing visitors from one device, for the benefit of gaining visitors from another?
Or is there another option?
Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size and platform.
Responsive Web design has become an essential tool for anyone with a digital presence. With the growth of smartphones, tablets and other mobile computing devices, more people are using smaller-screens to view web pages.
Let’s take a traditional “fixed” website. When viewed on a computer , the website might show six columns. But when you view that same layout on a smaller tablet, it might force you to scroll horizontally, something users don’t like at all. Or elements might be hidden from the view or even look distorted. The impact is also complicated by the fact that many tablets can be viewed either in portrait orientation or turned sideways for landscape view.
On a tiny smartphone screen, websites can be even more challenging to see. Large images may break the layout totally. Sites can be slow to load on smartphones if they have heavy graphics.
However, if a site uses responsive design, the tablet version might automatically adjust to display just two columns. That way, the content is readable and easy to navigate. On a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column, perhaps stacked vertically. Or possibly the user would have the ability to swipe over to view other columns. Images will resize instead of breaking or destroying the layout.