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by Deborah Hutton

Responsive design is a set of techniques and tools aimed at rearranging the way information is displayed on different devices.

See it for yourself:

Take a look at a desktop browser and slowly make it smaller. You should see the layout adjust itself to the new width of the browser – this is because the layout is designed using responsive design.

Why do we need responsive web design?

We need responsive web design today because computers are not the only piece of hardware that uses a browser. Therefore, designers cannot rely on one unique layout solution to accommodate all the different devices that use a browser.

Without getting too technical, designing responsively is important because we need to deal with a wide range of viewport sizes from desktop to mobile. With responsive design, we focus on the width of the normal device displayed, and add alternative width sizes using media queries to accommodate different device sizes.

Here is some current data from Danyl Bosomworth, a mobile marketing analytics expert:

– Mobile traffic is increasing incredibly fast – over 20% of Google searches are being performed on a mobile device.

– 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones and 10.16% are opened on tablets.

– In the United States, 25% of Internet users only access the Internet on a mobile device. (Bosomworth, 2014)

There is also a greater positive user experience when using responsive design on a mobile device, content is formatted for the most optimal user experience.

Responsive Design addresses the design problem of "Response." The response is the act of getting information about the specific device being used. Once a device accesses a responsive web designed site, the information is translated according to that device, and the responsive design displays an adapted version of the layout to meet the needs of that particular device.

In other words, the adapted version of a website layout design will adapt to needs of the device that is accessing the web site.

Works Cited:
Bosomworth, Danyl. (2014, March 24). Mobile Marketing Statistics 2014. Retrieved from http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

Other good resources:

http://www.splio.com/responsive/