Responsive Web Design . . . What is it?

Joseph ComoWebsite Trends

Many customers have asked us about “responsive web design,” and we’re ready to provide at least some of the answers.

Research has led us to conclude that responsive web design is right for most of our customers—or at least will be one day soon. We’ll explain why in a series of blogs.


Responsive web design ensures your website is viewed the way you intended, no matter what device—iPad, cell phone, desktop computer or a thousand others—is used to access the site.

Let’s use a smartphone as an example. Have you ever used a smartphone to access a site designed to be viewed on a desktop? If you have, you know it’s a miserable match—out of proportion, hard to read, impossible to navigate.

RWD takes care of that. First, it determines that a smart phone is the device visiting the site. Coding then adjusts the site to enable great viewing, easy reading and prominently display navigation.

Responsive design isn’t just for smartphones. Users of other devices—of all devices—have an experience of a similar quality: They visit a site that seems to be custom-built for their device.

Are the sites custom built? Yes and no. With responsive design, a single site is built. But coding modifies the site for each device, so in some ways it appears to be custom-made.

Responsive design doesn’t involve squeezing or stretching photos (or logos) to fill out, or fill in, a page. Instead coding adjusts the site to accommodate resolution, image size and scripting abilities. “In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences,” reports Smashing Magazine. “This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.”

That “each new gadget” part has become a real mess. There are literally thousands of devices that can access a site, and accommodations can’t be made for them all. Enter the responsive site.