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Understanding the Basics of Responsive Web Design: Tips and Examples

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How we experience the Internet is changing very quickly, and the impetus for this change is the advent of powerful and diverse mobile devices. A very recent study predicted that Internet surfing via mobile devices will surpass desktop surfing within 3 to 5 years. This rapid transformation from desktop to mobile makes it critical for developers to stay ahead of the curve and accommodate the latest industry demands.

Responsive Web Design requires the websites to be responsive and tested across different browsers and desktop systems. Cross browser compatibility testing will ensure that we test the website on several browsers running various system configurations and screen resolutions. Responsive web design testing involves the responsive websites to be on the mobile devices to ensure that the websites look and perform similar to the desktop browsers. Selenium is an effective automation tool that we can use to automate some of the compatibility testing across browsers.

This can mean enabling thumb navigation by having the navbar at the bottom of the screen when you reach a mobile breakpoint. The suggested size to be usable for thumbs is the equivalent of 48dp. The settings you use for length are the fundamental element that will enable your site to be responsive. Absolute units won’t allow your design to respond to changing device sizes and won’t enable users to adjust the text for their own accessibility needs. Mobile sites can be tailored very specifically to what the designer wants mobile users to see and how, and they may still be a better choice for complex sites that need a lot of fine control.

mobile version

Responsive web design is essential nowadays as people access the internet through various devices like mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc. It helps to make your website responsive and fit on all screens. Responsive web design improves user experience, loads faster, and gets more traffic. If you need any professional help to make your business website responsive, get help from a professional web design agency to get the right results. Responsive web designs are web pages that automatically adapt to the screen size of the device on which they are being viewed. Collapsing columns.On the CSS Tricks website, like many other collapsible Web designs, the sidebars with excess content are the first to fall off when the screen or browser gets too narrow.

Because of this design’s simplicity, switching between browser and screen widths is quick and easy. The “Garret Keizer” website layout transforms from wider to narrower browsers.With four relatively content-heavy columns, it’s easy to see how the content here could easily be squished when viewed on smaller devices. Because of the easy organized columns, though, we can also collapse them quite simply when needed, and we can stack them vertically when the space doesn’t allow for a reasonable horizontal span. When the browser is minimized or the user is on a smaller device, the columns first collapse into two and then into one.

Responsive web design basics

Earth Hour is a really advanced and complex website that is filled with lots of multimedia including both videos and eye-catching photos. Moreover, it is also an online infographic that utilizes some beautiful graphics and smooth transitions in order to draw attention to the issue. Thus, the large part of the website is based on a white monotone background that nicely underlines text and some trendy “ghost” buttons. Though the blog designs do not differ from others, yet its desire to satisfy current web requirements takes it at the whole new level. Easily conveying messages to readers that mostly leverage tablets and mobiles. Being dedicated to an architecture and design studio it doesn’t surprising that the main focus of the website are photos that showily represent skills, experience and clients of the company.

design best practices

Even though developers criticized the tool several years ago, today, it has many improvements and serves as a reliable platform to get insights on the mobile version of your website. Cater to resolutions that are gaining popularity to create a future-proof user experience that will work even when the market share changes. There are some excellent options in the stock for both tech and non-tech-savvy people. Let us consider the most popular universal approaches to creating responsive designs these days. This helps to focus on the most viewed version and provides the best user experience for customers. Therefore, it means you need to follow the modern technologies and employ practices that cope with the task better than the others do.

I'm a writer for the Audero User Group; my specialties are HTML, CSS, Web Design, and Adobe Photoshop. Get the best, coolest, and latest in design and no-code delivered to your inbox each week. Ultimately, the content flow should be determined by the device, not the other way around. Fixed sizing — sizing that is always the same no matter the other factors affecting your site or layout . Sites might have tiny text, be impossible to navigate, or redirect to a limited mobile-specific site without the feature you were looking for.

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Check out Fluid Responsive Typography With CSS Poly Fluid Sizing on Smashing Magazine for more good math-based solutions. This approach’s core principle lies in the fact that you need to upload multiple versions of the same image and dynamically serve the appropriately sized version depending on the user agent. There are hundreds of images on websites, and this number grows exponentially. A responsive website’s key point is to understand that its primary task is to provide a comfortable user experience for anyone.


Based on the user agent’s features, such as the browser window’s size, orientation , screen resolution, etc., they provide different responsive tiers with a bunch of unique styles. In practice, responsive web design works through CSS and sometimes JavaScript plugins to cope efficiently with screen size, orientation, resolution, color capability, and other user’s device characteristics. The most popular CSS properties that help realize responsive web design are the viewport and media queries. The concept of a responsive website appeared due to non-effective and ill-suited ways of handling screen sizes. This approach implied creating a range of designs for each responsive tier resulting in different versions of the same page.

From a more practical perspective, the resolutions that a design targets will be based on the resolutions of the people using that design, time and budget constraints, highly contextual situations, and so on. In summary, when deciding what resolutions to target, you should use your judgement. Targeting more resolutions is going to take more time, and assuming you’re not an immortal being with unlimited time, that effort should be spent carefully. Organizations and designers found the benefits of responsive design hard to ignore. Rather than work with absolute units (e.g., pixels) on separate versions, designers focused on just one design and let it flow like a liquid to fill all "containers." Pages that include data tables pose a special challenge to the responsive web designer.

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There are different approaches in the wild that you can try and see what works best for your project. For instance, when it comes to small screens like ones on cell phones, you need to make the typeface bigger since it is very difficult to make out words set in small font size. Apple recommends sticking to 16px size instead of the expected 12px since it provides better readability. You cannot increase font size infinitely; you need to find the best font size for your audience to hit optimal readability. With Startup App and Slides App you can build unlimited websites using the online website editor which includes ready-made designed and coded elements, templates and themes. In the early 2010s, largely thanks to a gifted Ethan Marcotte, developers started to switch from popular adaptive design to responsive design .

So for the team, it is quite a challenge to display everything correctly on mobiles and tablets. Responsive testing, a free tool from BrowserStack, shows your website on an assortment of iOS and Android devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. IPhone X, Galaxy S9 Plus, iPad Mini, iPad Pro, MacOSX, and even Kindle – the selection is pretty good. It is a great instrument to verify if a website is being displayed correctly. Use of image() function that allows cropping the picture differently, depending on the CSS viewport width size.

The challenge is the understanding responsive web design time and money it takes to create two separate sites. Fluid grids — a grid is an element with areas in columns and rows that can have content added. A fluid grid can be set to auto-fit or be set manually to adjust across breakpoints. If you separate your content into multiple columns on a mobile device, it will be hard for users to read and interact with. This meta tag exists because when smartphones first arrived, most sites were not mobile optimized. The mobile browser would, therefore, set the viewport width to 980 pixels, render the page at that width, and show the result as a zoomed-out version of the desktop layout.

Hence, while product and service quality holds a lot of importance, a website becomes the central platform for online interaction with potential customers. It requires interactive designs and easy navigation to make the user stay on the webpage, increasing the chances of a successful purchase at the end. The concept of these web design trends lies in creating a better and more structured UI/UX approach. Another vital part of web design patterns is the existence of call-to-action elements on the website.


If it is necessary, they shrink to perfectly fit into smaller spaces or, on the contrary, stretch to occupy every inch of space. Google gives priority to websites that display well on smartphones and other mobile devices. Since 2015, a responsive design with mobile-friendly behavior is a must-have for those who care about ranks in search engines.

Just started to learn about web designing and this guide will help me a lot to learn more about a responsive website designing. Great article and it is something I been intrigue because some template and theme are not what I want. I think Responsive Web Design is basically Keeping it Simple once you master the fundamentals and then expand. Because I keep looking for a specific theme/style and I dont see it. So I am like errrr what to do find out what it is that I want to do and bascially it deals with sidebars inclusion. I am guessing static page are what I Want for my format because people’s attention span are short.

It’s a new approach that takes into account several important factors such as user behavior, screen size, and operating platform. Responsive design responds automatically and optimally to the preferences of the user, regardless of their screen or software of choice. A responsive web design will automatically adjust for different screen sizes and viewports. For responsive design, use viewport-relative units like vh or vw or font-relative units like em or rem.

Some web designers are also involved in interaction design when they code for animations and interactions using CSS and/or JavaScript. UX design is also a multi-disciplinary field, but perhaps supercharged in that sense. UX designers need to make use of knowledge from the areas of psychology, user research, visual design, and even business to create the best UX for their products. As both sides steer toward each other, we will inevitably have more and more of an opportunity to build a Web that is more dynamic, more engaging, and more beautiful. Responsive web design forces us to take the time to do things right, not just in how we code, but how we conceive new ideas and execute fresh designs. The truth is that 90% of what makes up a responsive web design is simply good web design to begin with.

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Consistent user experience across all devices reinforces engagement, amplifies lead generation, and boosts sales and conversions. According to studies, one in two people has gone to a competitor’s website after a poor mobile experience. Within this course, we have compiled and consolidated some of the best resources currently available on the subject of Gestalt psychology and visual perception. To help you appreciate how you can apply Gestalt psychology to web design, we have provided many different examples from existing designs. These draw attention to the exact qualities, quirks, and features of visual perception. Moreover, they discuss how these have been accommodated and, on a number of occasions, exploited so as to support either the user's intentions or those of the designer or client.

Learn more about Responsive Design

It works similarly to an “if clause” in a few programming languages. Let’s have a closer look at each of these three https://forexhero.info/ components of responsive web design. A responsive web page should look good on large desktop screens and on small mobile phones. Notice that in the example above, the image can be scaled up to be larger than its original size. A better solution, in many cases, will be to use the max-width property instead.

Using simple CSS adjustments can improve the website’s appearance across various devices.This last design by Bryan James shows that responsive Web design need not apply only to static HTML and CSS websites. Done in Flash, this one features a full-sized background image and is flexible up to a certain width and height. As a result of the design style, on screens that are too small, the background image gets mostly hidden and the content can become illegible and squished. Instead of just letting it be, though, a message pops up informing the user that the screen is too small to adequately view the website.

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Don't simply hide content just because you can't fit it on the screen. Screen size is not a definitive indication of what a user may want. For example, eliminating the pollen count from the weather forecast could be a serious issue for spring-time allergy sufferers who need the information to determine if they can go outside or not. Inside the media query for a max-width of 600px, add the CSS which is only for small screens. Inside the media query for a min-width of 601px add CSS for larger screens. The data-fullsrc is a custom HTML5 attribute, defined in the files linked to above.

  • Defining your own parameters for columns, spacing and containers is often the best solution for a web design and can be just as flexible as any existing system out there.
  • Whether or not WordPress sites are responsive depends on the theme of your WP site.
  • It has an endless flow that ensures constant engagement of the user with low-cost maintenance.
  • If this description sounds broad, it’s because the nature of UX design is pretty broad.
  • Web Design Layouts come in handy when you want to plan out how your content will look on different devices and screen resolutions.

The points at which a media query is introduced, and the layout changed, are known as breakpoints. While the above min-width and max-width can apply to either screen size or browser width, sometimes we’d like a media query that is relevant to device width specifically. This means that even if a browser or other viewing area is minimized to something smaller, the media query would still apply to the size of the actual device.

Author Bio

Jitendra Yadav

As a senior team lead, Mr. Jitendra Yadav is well versed in all stages of the development cycle for dynamic web projects along with front-end and back-end development in-depth knowledge. He has been working with PHP, Angular CLI, and React JS languages for more than 13 years.

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