What is Responsive Web Design?
One of the most common questions I receive when discussing a website project with a potential client is “will it be responsive?” For quite some time all the major search engines have been actively demoting websites that do not have responsive layouts. So, the answer to this question should always be “yes” regardless of the available budget.
Responsive design is in place when a website layout properly adjusts itself to the viewer’s unique screen size. It has become immensely popular since the rise of smartphones in the early 2000s and became essential within the past several years.
How Does it Work?
The content of the website typically doesn’t change across devices. Instead, the theme carries detailed instructions on how to display that same content on different screen sizes. The good news is that almost any modern framework will incorporate responsive design elements from the start. Bootstrap, NationBuilder public themes, and most WordPress themes automatically adjust based on whether a computer, smartphone or tablet is in use.
When a webpage is loading the browser typically conveys which device or screen size is being used. Using mainly Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) the appropriate design elements are pre-configured for displaying the content. Website visitors generally remain blissfully unaware of this internal design working behind the scenes. They immediately see the end result in the form of a properly formatted website.