Ever since the usage of smart phones and other net-savvy gadgets has increased, one of the biggest problems that website developers have faced is to develop a website that does not appear distorted when opened on a small screened device. Responsive web design presents a brilliantly functional solution. Responsive web design is a development process that makes the website render well on devices of all screen sizes and shapes by altering the page layout and without causing distortion of images. These designs work on the principle of fluidity, but are different from fluid web design.
The size of a computer screen is measured in pixels. Images and layouts of conventional websites are designed based on pixels. When you access such websites through a small screened gadget, the tiny pixels shrink individually in an attempt to fit into the smaller screen. So, the picture as a whole gets distorted.
In fluid and responsive designs, pictures shrink as a whole. In other words, the length-breadth proportion is maintained during shrinking. As a result, although the picture shrinks, it does not appear distorted.
The basic function of responsive and fluid designs is the same – websites designed using these technologies are not distorted on any screen size. Both these designs behave like a fluid that fits into any container, which in this case are screens of different sizes. The difference between fluid and responsive designs is in terms of spatial proportions. Fluid design maintains the spatial proportions. This means that you see the exactly same layout when you view a website on a small screen.
Responsive web design is an enhancement over fluid design. When websites are designed using the responsive concept, layout of pages vary depending on the size of screen although the images and texts remain the same. For example, when you open a responsive website on a smart phone, a two column layout is cut in half and the right half of the page appears below the left half rather than side by side. The designer takes care that such divisions do not hamper the content or readability of the page. Instead, layouts are customized so as to increase readability and to lend a better user experience.
For creating responsive websites, designers use CSS Media Queries. The website figures out the screen resolution of the device and appears in the respective fashion. These designs go one step further. They sense the nature of device and change suitably. For example, on a touch device, you can enable swiping features to enhance user experience.
In 2013, responsive web design is slated to take over the development scenario because of an increase in the use of smart phones and gadgets. According to market predictions, the number of tablets in the world is going to cross 100 million in 2013. The use of Internet enabled phones is also going to experience a multifold increase. Considering the scenario, you should switch to responsive design so that your customers are satisfied when they access your site through different devices. You also save a lot of money because one design works on any device of any size.
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