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What is Responsive Web Design

May 8, 2013
Posted by Scott Leisler

responsive web design developers

There is a lot of confusion as to what Responsive Web Design is. Many people think its basically a desktop version optimized for mobile and tablet devices – keeping the design simple and avoiding the use of Flash technology. While this is true, there is a lot more to it.

A Responsive Website Design essentially adapts to the device that accesses it to deliver the appropriate output for a user’s screen size, resolution, platform and orientation.


Rather than building separate websites for desktop and mobile devices, responsive web design uses CSS3 media queries to create a single website that intelligently adjusts its layout and features based on how it’s viewed.

Breakpoints are set up to allow developers to target ranges that define specific types of displays. For example, breakpoints are set up for phones, tablets and desktops that tell the device when to bring pictures and content to an alternative screen position for the best view.

This creates a better user experience on many levels. Users won’t have to scroll, zoom and pinch their way around to find the information they need.

For marketers and administrators of websites – you’ll save time and money not managing separate desktop, apps and mobile sites. All content can be managed through a single Content Management System (CMS) access point.

With the never-ending launch of new mobile devices hitting the market and continuous rise in mobile internet usage, this makes a lot of sense to consider.

There is more planning and development involved (which can impact your project budget) but the long term benefits can easily out-weight the upfront costs if you’re just getting started and want to try to stay one step ahead of the curve.

To see some Responsive Web Design comparisons between how desktop and mobile versions display, check out CSSMATTERS’s 20 Responsive Web Design Examples for Inspiration Gallery.



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