The Evolution of Responsive Web Design – and What’s Coming Next

Responsive web design is a process of creating a website so that it can provide the browser with the best viewing experience possible. This includes providing easy navigation and reading with as little resizing, scrolling, and panning as possible. The browser should be able to visit the page from a variety of devices, such as desktop computers, tablets, and mobile phones. A website that is developed with responsive web design can adapt to the layout in the viewing environment by use of proportion-based grids, fluid, CSS3 media queries, and flexible images. Responsive web design is becoming much more popular and its ease of use will likely result in more people opting for the option. The style has caught the eye of various designers, such as Astonish Design.

The History of RWD Doesn’t Date That Far Back

The term “responsive web design” was coined by Ethan Marcotte in May 2010 when he mentioned it in an article published in “A List Apart.” In a later article, which was published in his short book entitled “Responsive Web Design,” he described the theory and the practice of the RWD. By 2012, RWD was listed by .net magazine as being No. 2 in Top Web Design Trends of 2012. Mashable.com named 2013 the year of RWD.

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Several Concepts are Now Included in the Term

In the fluid grid concept, the page element sizing is recorded in relative units, such as percentages, instead of units that are absolute, such as pixels and points. The flexible images are created with relative units, and this prevents them from displaying outside of the containing element. With the media queries, the page uses different CSS style rules that are based on the characteristics of the device that the set is being displayed onto. This is most commonly the browser width. Finally, the server-side components (RESS), works together with the client-side components, which includes the media queries, and this can produce more rapid loading sites for accessing over various cellular networks. This also allows for a delivery of richer functionality to avoid many of the pitfalls that come along with solutions that are only based on devices.

What it Can Do for the Average Viewer from a Computer

Various websites are now using the RWD technique. This is a very useful tool for the browser because they are able to resize the website without having to scroll over to see the content. The function is particularly useful to people who are researching. For example, students writing a research paper would find this feature useful, because it allows the student to look over the text, minimize the window, and paraphrase the content in a word processing document without having to scroll in order to read the text. The capability of a person, such as a student, being able to view the content and use it with ease will increase the likelihood of that website being used as a source, and this could lead to more credibility and page views for that website.

What it Can Do for the Average Viewer from a Mobile Device

With more and more people using their tablets and smartphones to access the Internet, it is becoming vital for many website developers, such as those focused on Austin web design, to ensure their site is user friendly. The screens on tablets and smartphones are obviously smaller than those on computers, and this makes it important for websites to have RWD functioning. With an increased number of people using tablets and smartphones websites, more and more will make the switch to developing with RWD. After all, the more easily navigable the site is, the more likely it is that people will spend time on the site reviewing the content. That could drive up the profitability of these websites.

Why Apps Aren’t the Solution

Apps are equipped to handle the tablet and smartphone users, but they are not equipped to handle everyone using the site. For example, if someone develops a site and they hope to gain the maximum number of browsers, they are exposed to both home computer and mobile users. However, apps do not access that large base of home-based computer users, which neglects the market of potential browsers. By developing a website with RWD, developers can be ensured they are accessing potential clients from all platforms. The future of RWD is clear, and as Mashable.com predicted, 2013 looks to be the year where the function is gaining momentum. Technology such as this will continue to make the browsing experience easier and easier. The Internet is an ever-changing environment, and it is important for web designers to keep on top of the latest trends and functions that improve usability. RWD is one of the most powerful breakthroughs in browsing ease, and it looks to build momentum in the years ahead.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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