The Flexible Web
“Responsive Web Design is an approach to creating websites that can respond to all known web browsing devices, with content delivery and UI interaction optimized to the greatest degree possible for all visitors.” – Kezz Bracey, The State of Responsive Web Design
In just a couple of years, Responsive Web Design (RWD) has gone from being a novelty to a necessity. Welcome to the ever-evolving world of web design and development! One of the main reasons for the rapid adoption of RWD as common practice is the surging percentage of consumers using mobile devices to access the internet. It’s estimated that mobile internet usage in the US alone has risen by 73% in the last 12 months. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, India and South Africa, the use of mobile internet devices has already overtaken desktop, with all indications that this trend is to continue throughout the world.
Now that consumers everywhere are demanding to view websites on mobile devices, it’s the responsibility of web designers to make websites that are beautiful, accessible and optimized for every size, shape and type of screen. Ramey put this principle into practice with the redesign of Visit Mississippi in 2014, and has made the ‘one design, all screens’ concept standard for all future websites.
What are the principles that make RWD work? The answer isn’t as simple as a set of rules and techniques – it’s more a way of thinking about motion, simplicity and instant interactivity. Instead of thinking in narrow terms about designing for three or four common screen sizes, web designers and developers must now must think fluidly – building designs that ebb and flow gracefully through an endless variety of screen shapes and sizes.
A few guidelines to keep in mind for practicing RWD:
Keep it simple. (Visually) In today’s world, people’s attention span is shorter than ever and they want only the information they are looking for to be presented to them.
Again… keep it simple. (Functionally) Don’t give users any reason to think or need to figure out how to navigate your design/site, because they won’t.
Think fluidly. Try not to design with elements that must be a set width or height to be understood and viewed on any/every device.
Take advantage of the latest and greatest. Smartphones and other devices keep getting smarter and faster. Along with that are some great functionalities and techniques you can explore and take advantage of with design/development, so search/Google/Bing to see what everyone else is doing… then do it better.