If you're reading this article from your desktop computer, your tablet, or even your phone, you're looking at a responsive design website. Take the corner of your browser window and drag it, move it, resize it. See how the content grows and shrinks to fit with the window size? That's responsive design.
"Responsive Web Design" is a term that was coined in 2010 by Ethan Marcotte on the website A List Apart, and later adapted to "responsive design" to encompass native apps and other technologies. Wikipedia defines responsive design as "crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience - easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling - across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors)."
Why is this important? In a December 2013 Pew Research Report,63% of adult cell phone owners use their phones to go online, and 42% of American adults own a tablet computer. That same month, Google released its guidelines for smartphone users.
We want the transition between the website, social media accounts, and mobile sites to be seamless. When a visitor navigates to any of your landing pages on any device, he or she should recognize immediately that it's yours. We as designers, developers, and website owners need to make the experience for the end user as simple and efficient as possible.
That's why it's important to start the process with responsive design in mind. Before we even open Photoshop, we prepare the design to be responsive to allow the end user to grab the corner of their browser window and drag it, move it, resize it. We develop with best practices in mind for optimization and optimal user experience. We ensure look and feel of your website is cohesive with your social media platforms. These all carry your new brand through your online presence and make a lasting impression on the web that incorporates not only responsive design, but a design people will respond to.
Author: Erin Johnsen
Erin Johnsen started designing in her junior high yearbook class and has been obsessed with fonts and layout ever since. She went into the digital media field because she felt it was the perfect marriage of right- and left-brain creativity and logic. Her favorite hobbies include photography, roller derby, and being a connoisseur of all things creative. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in digital media with an emphasis in internet technologies from Utah Valley University. She lives in Lehi, Utah with her husband and two children.