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When building a website, everyone wants to take care to make sure that they are receiving the best web presence for their endeavor. But depending on your goals, ‘the best’ can be a subjective term. When trying to determine what will work well for any web project, complex lingo is thrown around and business owners end up asking for a particular type of design without really understanding what it is. Such confusions can cause frustration and disappointment when navigating the web design and development process. One of the key terms that is frequently heard in website design sphere, is the word ‘responsive.’ Let’s take a quick look at some of the key things associated with responsive web design.

responsive-web-designWhat does responsive mean?

Developed by long time designer Ethan Marcotte, who also coined the term, responsive design is a specific method of web programming in which created websites ‘respond’ to their environment. This type of design is known for reacting quickly and positively to any change in web viewing platform type, or size. In other words, when a web designer is tasked with creating a project that is responsive, they take special programming care and time to ensure that the built web presence can be suitably viewed not only on computer screens of a standard size, but also on tablets, mini tablets, smartphones and other conduits of electronic consumption that are so popular today. While a traditionally built website may appear cut off or otherwise compromised on a cell phone screen, a website formulated with responsive design will adjust and thrive.

How does it work?

Responsively designed websites work by utilizing programming tools that allow for creation of fluid grids. On these grids, page elements are sized by proportion rather than by pixels. For example, if a given web page contains two columns of information, the fluid grid programming would tell your website not to compute the specific width of each column, but rather how wide each column should be in relation to the other columns. That is to say instead of a column being programmed to take up forty pixels of space, it might be formatted instead to take up forty percent of the available page width. This configuration retains your intended design directives and reflects in a proportional way.

Is it important?

In today’s fast paced world where half of all Americans own a smartphone and a third of all Americans own a tablet, it’s very important to ensure that your method of content and web delivery matches popular trends. Many individuals even use applications that allow for split screen capability, making viewing trends widely varied and unpredictable. It’s important to ensure a readable and easily understandable design for any possible web browsing experience. If you don’t have a responsive website, there is no need to panic. Speak to your web design professional about converting your current website into a responsive design. Many times they can even suggest brand new responsive design formats that may fit your needs better than what you already have. Responsive design encourages you to understand the way people consume websites, and finds the true power in your web display process!

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