What is a Responsive Layout Design?
I would imagine there are quite a lot of people who have no idea what a responsive layout design is? Well in a word, it is a website design that automatically adjusts to suit the screen size it is being viewed on.
This is a new approach to web design that has been developed because of the growing need to support, not just Desktop PC’s and Notebooks, but also a growing array of different Smartphones and Tablets that have come onto the market and are being used more and more to access the Internet. The market for desktops and notebooks is actually on decline as the world seems to be adopting mobile technology in preference.
It can be very frustrating for someone trying to access the Internet with a mobile device and encountering website designs that were clearly done on the basis they would be viewed using a standard PC or Notebook interface. Some steps were taken to try and ease the problem for owners of mobile technology in the form of .mobi websites that were effectively copies of primary websites but with mobile technology in mind. It isn’t actually that long ago that mobile friendly websites were the preferred solution for mobile technology, but that mindset has moved onto websites that are all device friendly. The main differentiation being that the user only needs one address to view the same information on any device. It sort of makes sense when you think about it, both from the site owner and the site visitor perspective.
Hence the reason that responsive design is looking set to become an industry standard for web design both now and for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that, if done correctly, it will improve the Internet browsing experience for many mobile users and should have little detrimental affect for desktop users. Designs need to be kept clean and simple to make navigation and interaction easier when using a small mobile device, and it could be argued that the designs may become a little less interesting as a result. But perhaps less interesting is a small price to pay for a decent user experience in terms of funtionality.
How to Make a Design Responsive
The basics for formatting a design so that it is responsive revolves around querying what size the viewing screen is and applying different (CSS) rules accordingly. This short tutorial gives a pretty good introduction to Responsive Design and there are links to further in depth tutorials from that page.
For those of us that use WordPress for blogs or website designs you can actually chose responsive design themes for your platform. Selecting a design which you like the look of and checking it out across a few different browsers and devices should tell you whether you have made the right choice or not. If you want to play it safe you can always select the new WordPress default theme Twenty Twelve which is a fully responsive design and actually quite elegant; even if it is a slightly more minimalistic approach than previous WordPress defaults.
There are plenty of others to choose from if you don’t like Twenty Twelve, even from the ‘Install Themes’ tab in the dashboard, a good tip is to check out the recently updated, because, yes many of the updated ones are now responsive themes. But you are just as likely to find a nice design under the Featured and Newest categories. I can personally recommend Custom Community , a highly configurable theme with a professional upgrade for those that want it.
I have yet to make the change but I have come to realize that time is pressing and people will probably be becoming impatient. So it probably won’t be that long before a visit to this blog could well find you viewing a responsive layout, perhaps even a version of Twenty Twelve. I prefer to try and keep things simple.