What is a Responsive Website Design?

What is a Responsive Website

When we say “responsive website design,” we don’t mean a website that automatically responds to your questions – although you got half that part right. A responsive website, in essence, “responds” to the screen size of the device viewing it and adjusts its elements accordingly.

Responsive web development isn’t just about making a site “compatible” to your device, though. If you’re viewing this Pnetform Technology article on your mobile device, you might not notice that a lot more is in the works than us just making sure you can see this article perfectly. So what exactly is a responsive website?

The Need to Respond to Compatibility

The need for responsive website design isn’t just a marketing fad, though. It’s discovered that 72-percent of people actually like websites that are mobile-friendly. This isn’t for show though, considering 77-percent of adults in the United States alone have smartphones. When we help our clients make responsive websites, we’re catering to potentially two-thirds their total consumer base.

Before moving forward to learning about responsive web development, it’s important to introduce a shift of mindsets for a moment. Try not to approach this topic as a seller or a service provider, but rather as a regular internet user. Some people might say, “Just load it on a desktop, then!” when someone complains about a website not being “visible” or not being a responsive website in mobile devices.

However, if you find yourself in that position, you might find yourself bummed out to find out your favorite website isn’t mobile-friendly, right? Our Pnetform Technology website is visible across all devices not because we have the time to make a responsive website, but because we understand how much of an inconvenience non-visible websites are to consumers. With this in mind, just what’s a responsive website, anyway?

Responsive Website Design: First Things First

In essence, responsive website design is what web development refers to as the “approach” to websites wherein designs should respond to how users see their environment and their behavior. When applied to design, this means websites should respond to a user’s orientation, platform, and screen size accordingly.

If you’re a developer, this means you have to pay closer attention to using CSS media queries, images, layouts, and grids. An essential part of this involves making these foundation aspects more flexible, so elements adjust much easier when users switch devices from desktops to laptops, or from mobile to tablets, or any iteration.

From a consumer standpoint, a website is a responsive website when none of its primary features are blocked when they switch devices. That’s why if you access our Pnetform Technology website, nothing gets dampened, covered, or blocked regardless of your device. If you want to make your website responsive, you have to make sure your technology is capable of responding to a user’s preferences automatically.

Responsive Web Development: Essential Aspects

With the above taken into consideration, it might seem a bit of work to make every part of your website responsive. All of this is worth the effort, though, considering people – especially consumers – will likely appreciate your website more given this approach. As a developer, you shouldn’t worry much about adjustments either, as there really are certain areas you should take notice if you want to pull off responsive web design. Here are those three essential aspects:

Make Use of Fluid Grids

Developers will likely be familiar with grids. These are the fixed-width layouts based on a particular screen size that websites “adhere” to in terms of design. However, responsive web design makes ado with static grids and use fluid grids or “liquid layouts” instead. Unlike static grids that stick to a particular resolution, fluid grids actually manipulate and adjust themselves when screen sizes scale, therefore elements around them scale the same way.

Utilize Media Queries to Maximize Elements

Aside from fluid grids, responsive web development makes use of media queries as well. Modern browsers are actually capable of supporting media queries, which means CSS styles get gradually applied depending on a user’s system. This means designers can actually implement specific styles depending on a particular browser “style” or requirement. Web developers can find this helpful, especially when they don’t want certain elements appearing on certain resolutions.

Invest on Flexible Images to Ease Adjustments

One of the most challenging aspects of designing a website is adjusting images. While a CSS’s max-width property can help load images on their default sizes, this doesn’t do much good to the layout. If you want to approach your site with responsive web design, try to set your browser to automatically resize images depending on the instructions of the CSS codes. Word of warning, though, try to make sure images aren’t too large or consume too much bandwidth, as this can affect loading times.

A Responsive Website Design Meets Compatibility

Given what we’ve tackled, this Pnetform Technology piece on responsive web development hinges on the need to meet compatibility needs through smart and optimized website design. Trying to achieve this can be a pain at first, especially if you have no experience doing this before. However, doing this consistently across all your websites and their development will likely make not just your users but search engines themselves consider your site as something reliable and relevant, regardless of your niche.