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The Five Pillars That Govern Responsive Web Designing

Responsive Web Design

Given the myriad of devices that are used to access the Internet, designers and web developers face the challenging task of designing websites that would display effortlessly on different screen sizes. They have to cater to the different resolutions and screen sizes of smartphones, mobile phones, ultrabooks, tablets and desktops.

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In such a diverse scenario, one that is constantly evolving, it is extremely difficult to design the perfect website that caters to the demands of every category of user. Here are the five dominant pillars of RWD (responsive web design) that every designer and developer should remember while building a website.



Fluid Grids

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 This is a relatively new concept. The first step is to define the maximum size of the layout of the design. Following this, the grid is categorized into a number of columns, thereby maintaining a clean look, and preserving the overall functionality. Each element is then designed proportionally in accordance with the height and width ratios, rather than using pixel-based forms. This practice will enable the different elements of the website to adjust themselves automatically to the size of the parent container. The use of fluid grids will help designers to build websites which can open up on different screen sizes without breaking up, or making it necessary for the user to scroll horizontally as well as diagonally to view the whole page.


Media Queries

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When fluid grids break down due to extremely narrow screen resolution, media queries can be used to solve the problem. These programs are highly intuitive, and can trace the kind of device being used by the visitor, thereby applying the CSS style conditionally. For example, if a website is being accessed from a cell phone, then media query will help the website to automatically optimize itself, and display in accordance to the screen size.


Custom Layout Structures

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Given the multiple platforms that are available in the market, custom layout structures are necessary to facilitate extreme changes in resolution and screen sizes. Web developers generally maintain one primary style sheet that record and define the designs’ major elements. Developers can then define flexible floats and widths to successfully manage screens of different sizes and resolutions.


Responsive Navigational Menus

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When the browser is displayed on a very small screen, then there are high possibilities that accompanying links will not be displayed. To tackle this problem, developers often program a website in such a way that the links are converted into easy-to-use dropdown menu. Responsive navigational menus also eliminate the need to incorporate tiny links which might be difficult to access. The alternative dropdown on the interface eases the task of accessing tiny outbound links.


Elastic Videos And Responsive Images

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Websites are incomplete without proper images. Therefore, responsive website designers create fluid layouts where the images are resized according to the resolution and screen size. They can be optimized for cell phones, or viewed in their full widths on screens of bigger dimensions. Similarly, elastic videos can be used to display them on devices of different screen sizes. Video snippets can also be embedded and encoded. Although it is a little difficult to incorporate videos in responsive layouts, designers have found various tools on the Internet for this purpose.


The process of designing a website responsively is challenging and is still constantly evolving. Therefore, to build functional websites that open on devices with different resolutions and screen sizes, developers and designers should keep the basic tenets of RWD in mind.

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Sudeep Banerjee

Written by

Sudeep Banerjee is the Founder & President of B3NET Inc., the leading Orange County Web Development firm, since 1999 in California. He is a forward thinking leader with expertise in Digital Marketing, Web Design and Mobile Application Development and Amazon Sales Consulting. He is an author, speaker and a consultant with 28 years of experience. He loves to play Basketball and Golf.