Perhaps you’ve heard the term responsive web design, but what does it mean and do you need it? Responsive web design uses flexible layouts and images to resize your website for any device. This style of web design has become popular in recent years with the rise of smartphones.

Before responsive web design, web users had to pinch and zoom to navigate sites on their smartphone. With responsive web design, mobile users see a scaled version of the full website, which they can quickly browse from their devices.

Responsive design also ensures site consistency across devices, so users have the same experience when they view a site on a smartphone as they do on a laptop.

How Does Responsive Web Design Work?

Web developers use CSS media queries to specify how a site should appear for different device types (like the smartphone or laptop). The overall layout, done on a fluid grid that uses percentages instead of pixels, might call for a width of 7.5 percent instead of 60 pixels, for example.

In the design phase, web designers typically develop a mockup site using a program like Photoshop. Designers then measure the elements and make calculations to arrive at the appropriate percentages for the grid.

Since designers use percentages and coordinates to create the page design, every element can scale up or down accordingly. Images and video content also change sizes to accommodate the device.

That stands in contrast to mobile websites, which offered standalone web content for smartphone users. Since it’s more expensive and time-consuming to develop a separate mobile site than create a different style sheet, responsive web design is the preferred approach.

What’s more, responsive design solves the problem of accommodating different resolutions and device types more elegantly that mobile versions of websites. It’s no longer a question of the smartphone versus desktop or laptop computer.

responsive design

Who Should Use Responsive Web Design?

Any business owner should use responsive web design to serve the needs of their customer base. Given the rise of mobile devices, it stands to reason that a significant percentage of your target audience is reaching your website from a mobile device. When your audience can see everything from your latest sales to your inventory, they’re more likely to shop online or visit the store. If you lack a responsive website or rely on an outdated mobile site, you could lose business.

Responsive web design is a best practice in web development, not a fad you can avoid. Make sure your website serves the needs of all your customers by investing in responsive web design today.

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