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Web Design: Responsive Website

The trend of ‘mobility,’ in terms of web access, did not only give way to the creation of mobile websites, but it also gave birth to a design principle called “mobile web design.” But, just a few years after the introduction of mobile web design, a new principle that also caters mobile websites’ needs, was presented to the web design community.

Responsive Web Design

“Nothing is permanent, except change,” as an old motto says. True enough because even the web design industry is also coping to change, whether it is in technology or design trend.  And an obvious change in this industry is the innovation of responsive websites.

In a simple manner, a responsive website follows the principle that the design must respond or adopt the screen size of the user’s device without having the expense of developing different websites for different platforms. This principle, as termed by Ethan Marcotte in his A List Apart article, is called “Responsive Web Design” (RWD).

The responsive web design principle allows the designer to design one site. It can be formatted for different devices like desktops, laptops, computer tabs and cellular phones. Hence, a website made of responsive architecture, automatically changes its orientation in order to accommodate the screen size and resolution of different devices.

A responsive website has the following design elements:

Flexible Grid- Build a website that has fluid grids. Thus, instead of using pixels, use a percentage in defining the column or div widths of your grid system.

Responsive Images- Images must be flexible too, so that they will just the site’s fluid grids whenever a visitor changes his/her device in viewing your website. Thus, images must have a max-width and not fixed-widths.

Media Queries- The beauty of a responsive website is that designers have the power to create multiple layouts using the same HTML documents by using CSS. It eliminates the need to create individual sites that will work on different browsers because CSS can detect and adjust according to the screen size of the user’s device.

The need to make a website responsive

Responsive web design is definitely making a buzz in the design industry. In fact, it’s on the second spot in netmagazine’s “15 Top Web Design and Development Trends for 2012.” But just because it’s trending, does already mean you have to go with the flow. Before you jump into modifying your existing website in favor of being responsive, you must have to think of it first. Below are some points that might help you in deciding.

Goal- As a website owner, you must identify your goal for a having a website in the first place. If your aims are to market, sell and promote your products and services via Internet, creating a separate mobile website is more advisable than making your website responsive. It is because the content of a separate mobile website suits the needs of mobile users, since it is specially made for them. On the other hand, if your website is blog type or news type, then use the responsive web design principle as to not sacrifice your site’s rich content.

Users- Who are your target users? Are they using the mobile platform in browsing your website? If your target audience is a mobile-device-oriented individual, then a separate mobile website is a must. However, if they are not so much into using a mobile device in surfing the net, then you can consider creating a responsive website to cater their different browsing needs.

Present Situation- What is your current situation? Is there really a need to have a separate mobile website or a responsive website? Or your existing website is already enough to sustain the needs of your business as well as your consumers? How much is your budget for developing a new website? These are just some questions you can ask yourself, and thus, can help you in deciding to whether you must modify your website or not.


Both mobile and responsive websites have their own benefits and drawbacks. You just have to analyze your needs as well as your target market’s needs.