Responsive web design is definitely a hot topic in web design right now. To some extent, the popularity of the concept of responsive web design is well-deserved because site users are increasingly diversifying their methods of accessing the website. iPad, ipad, Android mobile phones, desktops, netbooks — we’re at a moment where our internet projects have to work in a multitude of ways.
Let us explore the meaning and principles behind responsive web design.
Key features for a responsive web design
To order to be considered “open” to web design, it has to have three key features. Web designer/developer Ethan Marcotte — the writer who conceptualized adaptive web design — describes such functions as:
- The site must be constructed with a flexible grid foundation.
- The objects that are integrated into the model must be versatile on their own.
- Different views must be allowed in different contexts by media queries.
It is important to note that all three elements need to be introduced in order to create a fully functional web design.
Any layout that requires such capabilities is clearly not sensitive to web design. It’s that slice and it’s clean.
First, let’s dive deeper into these three features to better understand how they work together to give us truly responsive and successful web design.
The term grid, as it pertains to web design, is getting more murky. Saying that your site must be made up of a flexible grid does not mean that you are limited to choosing from one of the dozen or so large grid systems out there.
Defining your own specifications for rows, spacers and containers is often the best solution for web design and can be as robust as any existing system.
In addition, many current grid systems use the CSS groups restrictively to determine scale, storage, and alignment. Trying to superimpose these limits on responsive web design can be tricky and time-consuming compared to coding your own grid.
Whether you’re using a pre-made grid system or creating a customized solution, the truly important aspect of a flexible grid system is the mechanics of your layout size and spacing.
To web designers, it means abandoning our precious pixels and swapping them with online designs that use percentages and ems, which are numerical units of measurement.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we stop working with pixels in our image editing applications (i.e. Photoshop, Fireworks, etc.). Instead, an added step that involves a bit of (totally basic) math becomes part of the web design process as we convert our pixels to web layouts that use a relative unit of measurement.
A flexible grid which varies the format depending on the size of the viewport of the app. The switch of design is demonstrated by a simple, smooth animation.
Photos that shift and grow with our dynamic grid are another key feature of sensitive web design. Flexible photos also give web developers a little headache. Loading big, bloated objects that we scale down using HTML width and height attributes when we want more text material on narrower viewing devices is not a good practice for quicker web page load times.
For example, how big an issue depends on how popular a picture the page is. As web design evolves, we are constantly seeing sites that incorporate fewer and fewer unnecessary images and photo stock. Perhaps this is a good time to evaluate whether your web design needs to be as image-heavy as it is at present.
The solution to scaling objects is to slice them with the CSS. The CSS overflow property (e.g. overflow: hidden) gives us the ability to dynamically crop images as the containers around them shift to fit new display environments.
We can also have multiple versions of the object on the database, and then automatically serve the appropriate size version based on the user agent utilizing server-side and client-side attribute identification in conjunction with DOM manipulation.
Eventually, we have the option to hide images entirely if we really want to concentrate on non-image material, use media queries which support a stylesheet which sets the display: no image property (or a subset of images by assigning optional images to a category like optional-img to allow greater CSS selector precision in your stylesheet).
Media queries are probably the most exciting (and most intimidating) feature of responsive web design for web designers unfamiliar with them.
Users often get away with media queries, speak of them as the core component of responsive layout, and make open website components unnecessary. The truth is that media queries are hardly useful without the current implementation of a rock-solid HTML and CSS framework which contains not only a dynamic map, but also versatile images.
Media queries allow designers to build multiple layouts using the same HTML documents by selectively serving stylesheets based on the features of the user agent, such as the size of the browser window. Certain criteria include orientation (landscape and portrait), screen resolution, color (i.e. how much light the screen will render), and so on.
Here is an instance of a media request which uses a stylesheet based on the length of the viewport:
News questions are not simply a smartphone solution or a laptop solution (though they are often connected with it as such). Instead, media queries and responsive layout enable us to think outside the limits of screen size and resolution and start building websites that respond (theoretically) to all the different media.
What Responsive Web Design Really Is
When we glance at the three aspects of adaptive site projects, there really ought to be very little to be enthusiastic about. The reality is that 90% of what makes a sensitive web design is just good web design, to begin with. Well-formed HTML and dynamic format should be part of the daily feed of the modern web developer. What Marcotte has achieved in promoting innovative web design is simply to show us a different way to implement the good design principles that we should already be doing. In a modern context, considering that the need for dynamic formats is even more important today so that we can better accommodate the wider range of browsing circumstances currently in existence, we want responsive and versatile models.
Responsive web design encourages us to take the time to do the right thing, not just how we write, but how we formulate creative ideas and make new designs.
We haven’t been there yet
Anyone who has spent some time working on flexible content and media queries will realize that this is still not the end-to-end solution for building websites that cater to every single user agent. Users who browse the web through different devices often have different needs and needs depending on the device they use.
A user on a mobile web browser will most likely be interested in accessing basic information as quickly as possible. For restaurants, this could mean menus, phone numbers to make a reservation, physical address, and so on. For situations like this, loading the entire site, and then hiding 90% of it, is clearly not the ideal solution.
The Right Direction
What responsive web design is, then, is a step in the right direction. There are a lot of sites to gain from responsive design, and every designer should certainly be able to run this solution and look for ways to optimize their designs.
As developers continue to make progress on solutions that enable our creations to be viewed as designed in every environment or scenario, the users, in effect, must aspire to view the Web in the most optimal and intuitive way possible.
As both sides turn towards each other, they will eventually have more and more opportunities to build an internet that is more diverse, more interactive, and more stunning.
And that’s something worth getting pumped for.
Thank you so much for reading!
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