What is responsive website design?

Responsive web design is, simply put, designing a website so that adjusts itself to look good and functions well on a wide variety of devices (computers). Currently mainstream devices range from a small smart phone to a laptop of desktop with a huge external monitor. The main considerations of responsive design are screen size, web browser and human interface technology.

Responsive Design montage (mobile friendly)

Screen Size

Default sizes of websites before 2010 went up with each year bringing larger and larger screens. That has changed because of the widespread use of tablets and small laptops (notebooks and netbooks). With each new website designers have to make a decision as to what the default size of a website is.

Web Browser

Another aspect of responsive design is ensuring that websites look the same and function well on different web browsers. This is less of a problem now since all modern browsers render websites very similarly. The one exception is the Safari browser on the iPad. It is more challenging to design around because it behaves differently than the Safari browser on desktop computers. A newer problem is Apple's retina display technology is now being used on tablets (iPad3, high end laptops) devices (not just phones).

Human Interface Technology

A very real concern with responsive design is the fact that mobile devices use touch screens instead of mice and keyboards. It is critical that responsive websites function properly in all situations. This area is sure to change as the use mouseless interface systems, gesture tracking, eyeball tracking, and advanced touchscreen technology comes into play.

You can see examples of responsive websites on our web design page.

Mobile Optimized Content (Reduced Content Mobile Friendly Sites)

Responsive website can also be designed to hide elements and provide a "digest" version of the website with basic information and quick ways to reach important information like addresses, phone numbers, menus and maps.

We strongly believe that only one website should be built instead of two. If you need a mobile optimized site we will work with you to prioritize the information and navigation for the ultimate user experience. (Many clients choose to keep full information on mobile sites.)