Long gone are the days when you can expect that your website's visitors will be using a personal computer with Internet Explorer. The increase of Apple's market share, along with the advent of smartphones and tablet computers, has changed the way users access your website. If you haven't changed the way your website works, you may be losing visitors and your business losing money because of your antiquated design. Responsive Web design ensures that your website look its best, no matter the device or browser that your visitor users. This design uses principles of fluidity, media queries and Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS.

Web Design

If you're unsure whether your website could benefit from a redesign that focuses on responsive principles such as fluidity and CSS, consider the following questions:

  • Does your website use images so large that they obscure content on small screens such as smartphones?
  • Are your visitors able to submit forms from mobile devices?
  • Are there Flash elements on your website? If so, does your website offer a non-Flash version and how hard is it for your visitor to access it?
  • Does your website incorporate Javascript, which many mobile browsers turn off by default? When re-sized, does the text on your website flow around other elements?
  • Does your website have multiple sidebars, advertisements or other unnecessary content that takes up valuable screen real estate?
  • Have you updated your website's design in the last five years?

Technologies such as Flash or Javascript will prevent all of your functions from working, while extra content or overly large images make it more difficult to read content on their handheld devices. Additionally, users on cellular networks often have slower connections than those on the traditional computer, causing your website to load slowly. If your website has always had the same design and it is intended for use on only one browser or screen resolution, you could be alienating desktop users as well as mobile ones.

Responsive design is the solution to your problems. For instance, setting the maximum image width to 100% in CSS will ensure the image only takes up the size of its container. When a container shrinks to the size of a smartphone or tablet, the image will automatically scale, without becoming skewed, to fit on that screen as well. Using this method, your website can still include informative or entertaining images and you don't have to manually create smaller sized for mobile devices. CSS3 also supports media queries, which allow you to set specific stylesheets for devices based on the actual screen resolution. Thus, you can set a maximum width for only screens with 480 pixel-wide screens.

On the other hand, grid fluidity defines widths in percentages that will change relative to the size of the browser or screen. Traditional fixed-width layouts hard code widths of containers, such as divs, in pixels or other units. If your website isn't fluid, small screens will have to scroll to read the entirety of your content while your content will appear miniscule to those on larger monitors.

Whether you're designing a brand new website or shopping for a designer to remake your existing one, responsive Web design offers a functional and aesthetically pleasing layout to your customers in any browser, on any device, anywhere.


Image: KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Author : Blue Cloud

Just a normal software developer who love to write code. Developing professional software since 1999. After working in the software industry for many years, I've started my own website to share knowledges and experiences.

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