What is Responsive Design

By: Russ K. : February 2018 :

In short, responsive design is a modular website design format that changes its flow based on the device it is being viewed on. It “responds” to screen size, orientation and device type.

Responsive design is also referred to as a “mobile-first” approach, meaning the default values in your CSS are optimized for mobile devices. you build media query breakpoints into your CSS then to reformat for progressively larger devices.

Why is this important?

We live in an increasingly mobile world. We live in a mobile world. According to “Internet Stats & Facts for 2016: “52.7% of global internet users access the internet via mobile, and 75.1% of U.S. internet users access the internet via mobile*”.
Armed with that knowledge, mobile is statistically more important than desktop web browsing. There are a few different ways to develop for mobile, in general, responsive design is the choice I make to address that.

When is Responsive design a good choice for website design?

Responsive design is a good choice when:

  1. When you have to present basically the same content to both your mobile & your desktop audience.
  2. When you don’t have the resources or capability to maintain 2 sets of source code for a website
  3. When you don’t need to present different sets of content in different ways to a mobile vs desktop audience.
  4. When you aren’t querying large data sets to display reporting content to the end user.

It is important to know, that when you design responsively, you are, in general, presenting the same amount of data to a mobile audience that you are presenting to a desktop audience that is generally on a faster connection. Without the proper care during development, this can result in slower load times and higher bandwidth usage for those on mobile devices.

According to Kissmetrics,

40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

With a statistic like that, it’s important to keep in mind that when you when you design your site, always keep media query breakpoints in mind to present images that are best optimized to the device it is being displayed on.

No matter how you choose to produce your websites, choosing the proper solution for a superior mobile experience is one of the more important decisions you can make.


* Internet stats & facts for 2016

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