What is a responsive website?2 min read

Websites, the backbone of communication, information dissemination, and service provision, play a critical role in the social and occupational integration of people globally. Nevertheless, it remains a daunting task for millions worldwide to interact with websites and web applications. Recently, websites have undergone a radical transformation in design, development, and construction, and web designers now have to consider several aspects. For instance, a single structure must adjust to different devices, leading to the emergence of responsive web design (RWD). With RWD, website layouts adapt to the user’s device screen resolution.

Usability models such as ISO 9241-11, Nielsen’s, and Harrison et al.’s PACMAD comprise various attributes such as effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, learnability, memorability, errors, and cognitive load. The adoption of responsive web design has become a technical trend with a significant impact on web design. If a company depends on its website and can’t afford to lose business, getting a responsive website should be the top online marketing goal. Failure to provide a mobile-friendly experience will cause customers to go to competitors with a website that is easier to use.

The mobile future is imminent, and people now favor their mobile devices over desktop computers. Thus, it’s crucial to start thinking about the mobile future by making websites responsive, a small price to pay to reach millions of people.

Responsive design demands a different organization of the site, such as fluid boxes (flexible grids) that slide relative to each other depending on screen resolution, versatile dimensions of elements, flexible images, and the ability of the site to recognize measurements and choose the optimal display version. This provides a superior navigation experience.

To achieve a responsive website, three main “ingredients” are essential, including fluid grids, flexible images/media, and media queries. Flexible, grid-based layout, which involves using fluid grids, is the first step in responsive web design. Fluid grids are based on percentage sizes and are well-calculated, ensuring that all elements in the layout are scaled to each other. The second ingredient is flexible media, such as images that change width and height depending on the grid’s resolution and size. Finally, media queries (@media) are efficient ways to load different Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) styles for various resolutions.

Media queries are CSS techniques that apply conditions to the CSS style based on screen resolution. They only include a block of CSS properties if specific conditions are met. Three ways to link CSS to a website include external, internal, and online. It’s necessary to set some breakpoints when making a new website responsive. Breakpoints move and display the page elements on the correct site.

To sum up, making websites responsive is the future of web design. It is essential to consider the various usability models when designing a responsive website. Failure to do so will cost a company its customers, and with the mobile future upon us, it’s crucial to make websites responsive. A responsive design requires a different organization of the site, flexible grids, flexible images/media, and media queries.

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