Responsive Web Design – an Emerging Design Trend for 2013
Responsive web design is by far one of the most emerging and discussed topic in the web design community. It is meant to define a similar visual representation of a web page and to facilitate web browsing across a broad range of screen sizes.
So, what actually responsive web design is?
It is the design that fits ideally and looks accordingly on a wide range of screen resolutions (from desktop computers to laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.). The content of the responsive layout is adjusted, rearranged and resized according to specific resolutions. It offers a great user experience of a web page on every screen size, providing “one website for many screens”.
Where it came from?
Responsive web design became very prominent when the mobile devices market and mobile web browsing met a tremendous popularity. The use of Internet is shifting fast to mobile devices, consequently websites are accessed via a lot more screen resolutions than before. According to recent statistics mobile browser usage increased to 14,55 % of all web activity, it is expected that in 2013 tablets will outsell notebooks for the first time ever and the total number of smartphones in use is 1,03 billion (Impressive, isn’t it? It’s around 15 % of World’s population). It is just a matter of time when mobile activity on web will surpass desktop Internet usage. Responsive design is the future of web browsing as users are switching to mobile environment and publishers are willing to reach their audience across all possible devices.
How it’s implemented?
Responsive design is rather a set of techniques than a single directive. It is mainly related to the usage of Fluid Grids: a frame system that uses percents for column widths, in this way the elements of the fluid grid layout are adjusting according to certain resolutions; and CSS3 media queries: that are used for applying custom CSS styles for different resolutions, thus manipulating and changing the layout and its content accordingly. In other words, these techniques are used to detect users’ devices, resolutions and output the most appropriate design for them, providing a positive browsing experience and a beautiful visual representation of the site.
What are the advantages of responsive web design?
The advantages of responsive web design are obvious:
1) The website adjusts perfectly to different screen resolutions and looks great on all PCs and mobile devices
2) It offers a great usability and positive user experience to all visitors, regardless of their device
3) The URL of the website remains unique, so all the marketing efforts can be consolidated to promote it
4) It is a good SEO practice, Google recommends responsive web design, as it solves the duplicate content issue, consolidates the rankings for mobile search and link building efforts
5) Having a responsive website means an unified analytics and reporting activity for it, facilitating the tracking activity
6) Better conversion rates and sales, as it eliminates the deviations of conversion paths and performances
7) And much more..
How to see if a website is responsive?
Just resize your web browser and you’ll see how the layout of the site is adjusting while you are minimizing the browser size. It’s that simple! If the elements of the design are not changing their position or scale: the site is not responsive.
Give it a try, run the live demo of this Responsive WordPress Theme and resize your web browser to see the amazing effects. Click on the image below to see it in action.
You can also see how a website will look like on different screen resolutions, using built in features of web browsers or additional extensions. Most of modern web browsers have implemented a responsive view feature. Here is how you can access it on major browsers:
Chrome: Open the Chrome Console (press F12 on your keyword), click the “Settings” icon in the bottom-right corner, select “Overrides” option. Chrome offers a powerful set of options to emulate the site appearance, you can select different user agents, screen resolutions and even simulate touch events for a website.
Firefox: go to “Web Developer” -> “Responsive Design View” – select the resolution you want, or rotate it to see the effects. Very simple to use and intuitive feature (our choice indeed ), still an essential one.
Internet Explorer: Open the Console (press F12 on your keyword), access “Tools” -> “Resize” select from the list of resolutions or set up custom ones. Note: IE 8 and older versions doesn’t support CSS media queries, so you’ll be able to see a responsive design only starting with IE 9 version.
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
* The term “Responsive Web Design” was mentioned for the 1st time almost 3 years ago by Ethan Marcotte, in an article describing the theory of responsive design.
* Responsive Design was named the 2nd Web Design Trend for 2012 by .net magazine after progressive enhancement.
* Mashable called 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design. Note: Currently, 30% of Mashable’s traffic is mobile. By the end of 2013, it may exceed 50%.