What is a responsive website? It’s a site that physically responds to its visual environment. In other words, whether the user is viewing it on a 32” flat-panel computer screen or an 8” Android cell phone screen, the website will respond by adjusting the webpage to fit the screen size and shape. A responsive website design ensures that the site looks amazing on any type of device, including mobile, and it’s an important concept for any new web developer to understand!
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF RESPONSIVE WEBSITE DESIGN?
A web designer uses a responsive web design to create webpages that resize themselves, depending on the type of device it is being viewed through. This could be anything from a large desktop computer monitor, to a widescreen laptop, to a 6-inch smartphone, to a 4-inch iPhone, to a 10-inch tablet screen.
The need for responsive designs came about as an increase in the use of mobile devices skyrocketed. Before responsive sites, there were essentially two routes to take when viewing sites using mobile devices:
1. The site would simply look horrible on a smartphone, iPhone, tablet or other mobile devices.
2. The web designer would have to create two separate sites, one for desktop viewing, one for mobile device viewing, like m.facebook.com to mirror facebook.com
So, who creates responsive websites and how are they created? Responsive web designs are created by web designers and web developers! These professionals use tools like HTML and CSS to hide, resize, enlarge, shrink and move content around, so it looks the way it was intended, no matter the screen size.
HOW DOES RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN WORK?
As mentioned above, before responsive design came about, the design industry had to take a different approach. A separate site had to be built for viewing on mobile devices. If not, the site would look horrible. Therefore, the entire purpose of responsive website design is to have just one site. But, it will include various elements that respond differently depending on the size of the device on which it’s being viewed.
HOW FIXED DESIGNS RESPOND TO MOBILE DEVICES
Take a “fixed” traditional site, for example. This site may show three columns when a user views it on a desktop computer. View that same webpage on a tablet with a smaller screen and you may have to scroll down horizontally to see everything. Or, various elements may not be viewable or simply look distorted. Take that same tablet and turn it sideways so that it goes from portrait view to landscape view, and you’ve complicated the look of things even more.
HOW RESPONSIVE SITES “RESPOND” TO MOBILE DEVICES
Now, looking at that same site created with a responsive website design, things will be much different. More than likely, looking at it on a tablet will cause the webpage automatically adjust to display two columns. The design will also cause the navigation menu, banners, widgets, etc. to rescale so the site is easy to navigate and the content is readable.
Looking at it on a smartphone, it will probably adjust to appear as just one single column. This causes the navigation and other elements to stack vertically. Or, the user may have to swipe over in order to view the other columns. Plus, instead of causing the layout becoming distorted or getting cut off, images will resize for better viewing. Basically, responsive website design makes viewing your favorite web pages possible and enjoyable on mobile!
GET A RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN EDUCATION WITH US!
Here at F.I.R.S.T. Institute, we strive every day to be of service to our students and provide them with the very best Graphic and Web Design education that we can offer — from a faculty made up of experienced design industry professionals to a broad spectrum of courses and a dedicated Career Development department, we do all we can to ensure that our students receive the best possible educational opportunities. We give students access to everything they need to succeed as a responsive website designer, both in class and on the job.
If you’d like to know more about web design school and our program, please give us a call or send us an email! Our admissions team are standing by to answer any questions you might have.