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Responsive Web Design: Basics and Meaning in 2022

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13/04/2022 |

7 min read

Dominika Reszke,

Magdalena Kwiecień

Responsive web design is definitely one of the elements the digital transformation calls for. Mobile devices are something ubiquitous nowadays, just like their users’ urge to browse web pages that look equally good on all screen sizes or platforms and in every environment.

Mobile-friendly websites (which obviously cover smartphones and tablets, too) are a must nowadays, with all screen resolutions compatible and all content, including images, and font size properly and smoothly adjusted. This way, they can be ranked higher by average users, including existing and prospective clients.

Responsive web design is not something special in 2022 but rather a useful feature most of them take for granted. So if you still haven’t embarked on the responsive web design revolution, read on to find out more.

 

Table of contents:

1. Responsive web design in short

2. Responsive design – reasons to use it

3. Responsive web development – key takeaways

Responsive web design (RWD) in short

But what is responsive design meaning, in brief? We call a web page responsive if the web content can adapt to any screen size or a browser window size as well as the orientation of the device used to view it. In other words, responsive web design (also abbreviated as RWD) is an approach to web design that is aligned to users’ behavior and makes their experience better, and their lives – more comfortable.

Technically, as Google puts it,

„responsive web design is a setup where the server always sends the same HTML code to all devices and CSS is used to alter the rendering of the page on the device”.

It’s good to know that a responsive web app or a responsive website are examples of the capacity called user interface plasticity. The content’s flexibility under the RWD approach is well reflected in the analogy that „content is like water” – the phrase coined by Josh Clark (or Bruce Lee). As such, content is to easily adjust to the container it has been poured into.

Living in 2022, many mobile device users may assume that responsive design with websites easily adapting to any device is something obvious but it wasn’t so just a decade or two ago. Before that, websites’ content, e.g. columns’ and images’ width, was set in stone, or rather in code, irrespective of the screen width and size. That’s because websites were only made for two sizes – 800 and 1024 pixels, adjusted to desktop screens, commonly available at the beginning of the 2000s.

The term „responsive web design” was coined by Ethan Marcotte in 2010, and encompassed techniques such as flexible images, fluid grid, and a media query. However, the first responsive design website – Audi.com – was launched as early as 2001 or 2002. Nevertheless, there are approaches, such as progressive enhancement or mobile-first design, named as RWD’s predecessors.

As for RWD’s breakthroughs, it was in June 2012, when media queries – a feature crucial for responsive design that allows content’s adaptability to various screen sizes and resolutions as well as other conditions – became a W3C recommended standard.

The year 2015 marked another milestone in RWD’s career. It was then that responsive design increased its practical importance by imposing the important mobile-friendly change. It simply meant that mobile search rankings were boosted by Google „for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices”.

A few years on, responsive web design is still king, and a responsive web design company is where any manager who cares about things like SEO and visibility over the web usually goes.

Responsive design – reasons to use it

Adapting to changing circumstances is one of the indicators of modernity, and that’s what responsive website design, adjusting to virtually all kinds of media that render it, is about. But, of course, it’s just the starting point to other advantages of using RWD.

Some pros of responsive design include:

  • increasing usability and page speed
  • satisfying users’ needs, offering them a nice experience
  • enhancing social sharing capabilities
  • being very SEO-friendly and favored by Google
  • lowering bounce rates
  • increasing conversion rates
  • being more visible over the web
  • creating corporate reputation better

Besides, these days, consumers are used to getting what they want immediately, also via mobile devices of all kinds. And any disruptions may result in turning to another services provider and eventually losing a client. 

Also, the company is seen as more modern if the web designs it provides can be displayed well on all kinds of devices. Or rather, totally obsolete, if it fails to meet the responsive web development golden standards. Some even say that, in the long run, responsive web design makes online projects timeless and future-proof.

The decisions to use techniques such as fluid proportion-based grids and responsive images that adapt to changes in screen resolution, orientation, page layout, or device width have turned out to be key to success for thousands of businesses to date. An impeccable mobile site experience is definitely something worth fighting for.

That’s because a staggering 67% of mobile users admitted that when they are visiting a website that is mobile-friendly, they are more likely to make a purchase there. On the other hand, 61% of users said that if they couldn’t quickly find what they were looking for on the particular mobile site, they would switch to another one.

Responsive web development – key takeaways

Responsive web design is certainly here to stay as its huge importance tends to be held steady or even grow. One of the reasons for that is that more and more people use mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, as they become more available, especially within emerging digital markets.

And because mobile phones are more and more heavily used for surfing the Internet, you simply need to align your online presence to their screen sizes as well as to other mobile devices’ dimensions. If users cannot reach your content any time they want, they may lose their patience fast and go elsewhere.

If we take the total global traffic under consideration, mobile internet traffic share accounts for as much as 56.89% of it, Statista’s data indicate. The percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide has been surpassing the 50% mark for several years now, however, in the middle of the previous decade (i.e. in the first quarter of 2015), it was only 31.16%.

Nowadays, mobile devices are commonly used for a variety of online activities, such as accessing social media, reading news, dating, shopping, making payments, finding and ordering various services, using emails, watching movies, etc. When a given website adjusts to browser width or screen width, all these are simply much easier for average users. But RWD is also very beneficial for the websites’ owners.

Making use of responsive web design used to be a competitive edge but lately, it has become a standard in the corporate world. Except for pleasing customers and other users, it’s vital and advantageous in many other ways, including SEO and reputation enhancements, as well as social shares increase.

If you, too, want to take advantage of responsive web design and make your company more visible and more aligned to the challenges of modernity, contact us now.

Rated: 5.0 / 1 opinions
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Dominika Reszke

IT Content Writer with 12 years of professional writing experience. Prefers facts and figures to any kind of fiction.

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Magdalena Kwiecień

Maker, thinker, pragmatic perfectionist && JavaScript developer with 10+ years of professional experience. Big fan of React, TypeScript and clean code.

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