Responsiveeeeee !

Designers have it tougher now than before. We not only have to design for stationary devices, but also mobile devices like the tablet and smartphones, and since we are talking about a lot of different screen sizes and resolutions here, it’s a huge task to shoulder. In light of this, responsive web design could be the best solution. It offers more than just a simple mobile template; instead, your entire site layout is designed to be flexible enough to fit into any possible screen resolution.

With such a fluid design scheme there are obvious benefits and drawbacks.

How Responsive Design Works

When I use the word “responsive” in terms of web design I mean that the entire layout responds based on the user’s screen resolution. Imagine this scenario: you’re reading a website on one tablet, then you switch to another device for one reason or another. The browser window is now re-sized. A responsive web design layout will feature schemes and a layout that gracefully breaks down and reinvents itself. From a usability perspective this is a brilliant technique.

Responsive design is all about creating a homogeneous experience regardless of the browser or device screen size. I’ve found the perfect example from ‘A List Apart’ to illustrate my point, which also includes dynamic images. The width is set in CSS using percentages for mostly all of the internal container elements. Larger websites also respond well to removing dynamic content such as JavaScript when it’s not supported.

Why Design for Mobile?

It has become evident that more users are going mobile, and not just for on-the-go web browsing either. Tablet PCs have begun to change in context when users are online in the classroom. Designing for mobile is certainly a requirement in modern day web standards. The only problem is choosing your method of development, and targeting your audience appropriately.

When you start coding for specific screen resolutions you end up with too many stylesheets to deal with. Media queries in CSS3 can be used to build iPhone-specific layouts for both portrait and landscape view. Since you can predetermine the pixel density it’s easy to revamp any HTML template for mobile.

But when you code a layout for responsive design the mobile aspects are taken care of by default. Both desktop and mobile users will be offered a similar experience and you won’t need to worry about external CSS properties. The only research you’d need to perform is planning for the smallest possible display screen. Google Analytics traffic data can be very helpful for this.

You won’t likely get your website working 100% on every single device running every browser. But you can target a majority based on the average width of the screen. Older iPhone models use a 320×480 display resolution which isn’t so unbelievable. I would shoot for a minimum width of 320px.

Conventional Approach


  • Increased flexibility on mobile specific features
  • Low initial expense


  • Long term expense is greater (especially time investment)
  • Maintainability is difficult
  • Lack of consistency between devices
  • Not optimized for search engines

Responsive Approach


  • Maintainability is simple
  • User experience continuity
  • Search engine optimized


  • High initial expense
  • May not be compatible as a native mobile app

Why do we need responsive web design?

You might not need it. The answer to this questions depends on the nature of the website and how you are marketing it. The questions that should be asked is whether or not users will be browsing your site on their mobile devices. Mobile device internet browsing is up to 8% of total internet traffic now, which is a lot! Businesses that are forward thinking will adapt to the trends of their consumers.

Responsive design from a technological standpoint has enormous advantages simply because we are able to build one central access point for all data and design. To then have this same system scale across all platforms is a developer’s dream.

How important is it to my business?

If I were a business involved in online transactions, the first decision is whether or not the business needs a mobile app. If it does not, then we would recommend at least providing mobile browser compatibility. Whether you need Responsive Web design Company  or not depends on how often you need to update your website. Websites designed with responsive methods are much easier to maintain and give user’s continuity between platforms. For example, this blog is responsive. If you resize the window, the layout will change to meet the screen size. Since it is updated often (but not often enough), this blog’s responsive capabilities make it extremely easy to maintain and predict how the content will appear on the page. I don’t have to fire up my mobile version on my phone to know that it is going to look okay.

Obviously this also depends on what you are selling or doing online. What type of business are you? If you are selling a product or service to a market flooded with mobile devices (which is likely), then it might be a smart choice for you. However, there are certain types of products that people typically would not buy on their mobile devices. For example, I think it would be safe to say that consumers who purchased lawnmowers in the last year completed their transaction on a desktop whereas a significant number of ebooks had their associated transaction completed via a mobile device. It is all in the numbers, so let’s cut to the chase.

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