Responsive Design

Web Design

Responsive Design

February 17th, 2012 by Matt Haff

Responsive design is the new buzz name for fluid layout, which has been around for more than just a couple years. Too many graphic/web designers use their knowledge of print design as a basis for how to design for the web. This has caused the web to become a fixed width layout when in reality there are hundreds of different screen sizes and browsers. With the introduction of mobile browsers a few years ago this number has shot through the roof and there is no possible way to ensure that your website loads properly on every device.

The solution is responsive web design, which loads the same website across multiple devices, screen sizes & browsers and automatically adjusts the site to fit on that device. It’s crucial that we don’t just think about how it looks but also how it works. Responsive web design needs to go hand-in-hand with quick loading sites, web standards and a good content strategy.

Just because a screen size is larger doesn’t mean that it’s on a computer with a broadband connection. The iPad when browsing as landscape is 1024px wide, the same width as a desktop browser but may be via a 3G or slower wifi connection.

  1. I think you're missing a big point of responsive design. While fluidity in the layout is ultimately achieved, it's a more intentional process than that. I believe the purpose behind responsiveness is less about automatic screen adaptibility and more about the business decisions that go into it. It's a marketing method that forces us to rethink the delivery of our content. How do you reach an audience's needs as their context and attention shifts around your brand. If anything, responsive design is a technical response to something that has been in traditional print markets forever. How else could we establish brand identity across varying mediums like billboards, newspaper ads, and business cards?

    Olaf Gradin

  2. I totally agree with you Olaf, the web is certainly not the first place that responsive design is being used. I think that companies should always be evaluating how they can deliver their brand through various mediums. When it comes to web however I think a lot of companies can be quickly left in the dark since it's an ever-changing medium. It's up to us as the "web people" to keep them up-to-date on what is happening online.


  3. I think responsive wed design must not only consider the functionality and how the website displays on all devices. It should also consider the quality of information placed on the website.

    – Blake Carlisle

    Print Catalog

  4. I think I Olaf has a point on this and he was able to state what he really is trying to say. However, it does not mean that I am not agreeing with your post but perhaps you must really clarify things here on your blog.

    Kathryn Koopman

  5. An optimized desktop site is not a true mobile experience.

    Simply stacking and scraping content doesn't constitute mobile web or mobile marketing.

    Mobile web is action web, not research web.

    John Paul Jones

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