The response in “responsive” Web design provides a clue about how to think about the practice. It’s essentially a set of actual techniques – and yes, sometimes tools too – that move elements of the page (e.g. images, navigation, text) based on the capabilities of the device it is being viewed upon. Responsive design enables websites to obtain information about the device and then display a version appropriate for the layout. There are actually quite a few digital moving pieces, so if you’re using responsive design right now – ask these six questions of yourself or your designer before making anything digital come alive.
You likely need no further explanation of why going responsive is the best design choice for your digital presence, but you’ll also need some practical guidance – just the kind of information that subscribers expect from Website Magazine. Here’s a quick guide for those interested in using responsive design, some things you should and need to know, and more importantly ask, about responsive techniques and tools, today and in the future.
A quick note, if you’re reading this on a desktop version you’ll quickly notice that WebsiteMagazine.com is not actually “responsive” per say. Aren’t we practicing what we preach? Well, sort of – we are mobile compliant. Responsive design is terrific for lots of things (like our Web 100 project) but not for every enterprise in every single scenario. Website Magazine, for example, opted for a mobile website over responsive layout as it provided us greater control over the complexity of information we publish and some unique opportunities related to our mobile applications. So yes, Website Magazine is mobile compliant, just not responsive (and it works!).
OK, enough defending our business decisions! You want to know as much as you can about responsive design… and you’re about to. The following outlines several guiding principles as you design (or redesign) your consumer-facing websites for modern desktop, mobile and tablet experiences.