Responsive web design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

View our guide to Responsive website design

Responsive Web Design

What is Responsive website design?

Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviors and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. This is the building blocks of any website. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.

Put simply, responsive website design is a new approach to the construction of websites allowing for your site to respond to the size of device your potential clients are viewing from.

When it comes to responsive website design, did you know?...

For the first time, the smartphone has overtaken the laptop as the device internet users say is the most important for connecting to the internet.

Ofcom

50% of mobile users are unlikely to visit a website again if they are dissatisfied with the site's performance. And nearly 30% of users are less likely to purchase from that company across all channels.

The basics

The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace, but unfortunately much of the web isn't optimized for those mobile devices. Mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on screen. Take your mobile for instance. The screen, in terms of size, is relative to your desktop computer but a fraction of the size. Its fair to assume that you are never going to be able to see a website on both devices in the same way, its just not practical or indeed possible. Consider this. What sort of device you’re reading this on? A laptop? Maybe you’re at your desk reading the words on a cinema-sized display. Or - perhaps even more likely - you're reading this on your smartphone and you’re thumbing through on your way to another meeting.

Whats the difference?

Responsive web design is an entirely different approach to constructing websites. Layouts used to conform to a screen width. This used to change all the time and of course was always a guessing game as you could never tell what a user would be viewing your site on. Nowadays that challenge still exists but responsive web design allows you to eliminate this problem by shifting the design to suit the screen the client is using. Development takes more time but its worth considering how long your site will last given this dramatic shift in the way people interact and view websites.

Benefits to your business

So now (hopefully) you understand what responsive web design is, perhaps we should have a run down of the benefits.

Responsive website design benefits

Changing the face of website design

As you may have noticed, computers aren’t the only piece of hardware with a web browser anymore. The introduction of the iPhone put the spotlight on upgrading the experience of the mobile web. Many other devices followed suit and, seemingly overnight, the face of the mobile web had changed.

The changing landscape of web browsers meant that users expectations also changed; people expected to be able to browse the web on their phones just as easily as they browse the web on a desktop computer. In response to this, web designers started creating mobile specific versions of websites. This effectively meant that websites would have their normal ‘desktop’ version of their site, and as a bonus, a ‘mobile’ version.

Not long after the phone hardware market had been revolutionised, other form factors surged in popularity. In addition to phones and personal computers, devices like touchscreen tablets and small notebook computers started appearing everywhere.

Responsive Web Design

Why do i need a responsive website?

That's a fair question, hopefully we can answer that one for you

Why a responsive website?

Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how websites are built. So what are you waiting for? Contact us today on 01603 615886 or email us direct.