What is Responsive Web Design?

The term “Responsive Web Design” is mentioned more and more often. But what does it mean, and how important is it to your website’s success?

According to Stanford University’s definition, Responsive Web Design involves:

A website that responds to the device that accesses it and delivers the appropriate output for it uses responsive design. Rather than designing multiple sites for different-sized devices, this approach designs one site but specifies how it should appear on varied devices.

As displayed in the graphic below, the elements and content automatically adjust and re-size based on the screen size and device.

Why Responsive Web Design is Relevant

  1. More people are accessing information on mobile devices. You need to be able to invite them to view your site based on their preferences.
  2. Images not fixed shapes and sizes – they should be fluid. In Responsive Web Design, they adjust accordingly.
  3. It is easier than you think.
  4. To be heard, viewed, acknowledged online through your website, you have to adapt.

“The control which designers know in the print medium, and often desire in the web medium, is simply a function of the limitation of the printed page. We should embrace the fact that the web doesn’t have the same constraints, and design for this flexibility. But first, we must ‘accept the ebb and flow of things.” – John Allsopp, “A Dao of Web Design”

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