Responsive Design

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Responsive design is a way to provide websites suited to the device context of the user's operating system, screen size, or orientation. Due to the many mobile devices companies are now giving responsive design serious consideration. The implications of moving to a responsive approach of creating adaptable designs can seem overwhelming and it is, but the benefits are great.

It's important to understand how people view content on-line. Users are viewing content on mobile devices than ever before, and it is growing. According to various surveys, mobile web browsing will soon eclipse desktop browsing in the U.S. and worldwide.

People viewing mobile content isn't just happening on the go they are viewing content at home using mobile devices. According to a study from Google, it is 93% of people doing it.

The methodology behind responsive design is to design websites using the media query functionality in CSS3. Media queries target not only certain device types, but it actually checks the physical characteristics of the device that renders the page.

The code below "asks" the device if its max horizontal resolution is equal to 480px.

Check the statement below:

"media="screen and (max-device-width: 480px)"

If it is 480px, the device will load iphone.css. If it is not 480px it ignores the file.

You can create several test also include media queries in CSS as part of an @media rule:

@media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { body {background: #000; } }

The above code will make the background black if the device has a maximum horizontal resolution equal to 480px.

By using these media queries types we can enforce certain style rules based on breakpoints (mobile/tablet/desktop screen sizes). We can also use non fixed sized fonts like em measurements or percentages, instead of using pixel sizes. This allows the fonts to be flexible and base their size on the screen resolution of the device.

Responsive design may sound great and it is, but with mobile devices evolving on a daily basis creating custom designs for each device will end up being more work and more expensive. With emerging next generation of devices, we have to create new designs while still maintaining support for the legacy versions.

Building a responsive website involves all levels of digital design. From the front-end to the back-end. In the end, responsive design is driven by content and providing a better experience for users.

So the bottom line is Responsive design introduces complexity and can therefore take longer than traditional design. But with a content centric approaches, proper planning, and the ability to test and measure, a responsive approach can help brands significantly reduce their costs and future proof their digital investments.

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