Web designers need to impress website visitors and persuade them to stay on the websites in nanoseconds. Visitors often visit a website in search of things, and a web designer must ensure they find what they are looking for quickly and correctly, and must design sites helping them do just that.
One of the most important ways to do this is to create focal points. This means that when we are putting together a website, keep in mind how it will look on different screen sizes, and emphasize strongly on the mobile experience.
Responsive design is web page creation using flexible layouts, flexible images and cascading style sheet media queries. It builds web pages that can identify the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.
Responsive design was the answer to the explosion of so many different mobile devices on the market. Such pages use x and y coordinates on a grid for layout and mathematical percentages for images instead of fixed-width parameters. Using percentages instead of fixed-width parameters and a grid layout creates a more fluid layout that will resize itself to fit the dimensions of any display.
X And Y Coordinates In HTML
x, y coordinates arethe horizontal and vertical addresses of any pixel or addressable point on a computer display screen. The x coordinate holds a given number of pixels on the horizontal axis of a display starting at pixel 0 on the extreme left of the screen. The y coordinate holds pixels on the vertical axis of the display starting from pixel 0 at the top of the screen.
Together, the x and y coordinates will pinpoint any given pixel on the screen. x and y coordinates are also specified as values relative to any starting point on the screen or any subset of the screen such as an image. On the Web, each clickable area of an image map is specified as a pair of x and y coordinates in correlation to the upper left-hand corner of the image.
Cascading Style Sheets
CSS or “Cascading Style Sheets” are used to format the layout of Web pages. They are used to define text styles, table sizes, and other aspects of Web pages that previously could only be coded into a page’s HTML.
Web developers use CSS to create a uniform look across the pages of a Web site, by defining commonly used styles only once in the CSS document. They no longer need to define each style of every table and block of text within a page’s HTML.
Once the style is defined in CSS, it can be used by any page that references the main file. It also makes it easier to change styles across several pages simultaneously. If a Web developer needs to increase text size from 10pt to 12pt for twenty pages of a Web site, the text size only needs to be changed on the style sheet and all the pages will be altered to reflect the larger text, for all pages referencing the same style sheet.
CSS is great for creating text styles, for formatting, and can be used to define the cell padding of table cells, the style, thickness, and color of a table’s border, and the padding around images or other objects. Web developers get precision and control over how Web pages will look, as compared to when using HTML. This is why most Web pages today incorporate cascading style sheets.
Media queries are a CSS technique introduced in CSS3 which allow the developer to specify when a certain style takes effect. With CSS2, the media query could serve printer-friendly style sheets if requested. CSS3 has expanded query capabilities to allow style sheets related to a device’s display to serve a desktop, tablet or smartphone style sheet depending on the query response.
This means that instead of building a special mobile version of a website, and writing new code from scratch, developers can simply build multiple style sheets for the same web page and associate different images if required with each of the style sheets. This saves considerable development time as HTML code is repurposed instead of rewritten.
In the past, programming was way easier. You coded keeping a 15inch monitor in mind and were done, the only problem you might have faced then was browser incompatibility. Device proliferation, the onslaught of newer and innumerous sizes and types of devices has driven developers to seek alternatives to the high-performing but restrictive native app. As devices continue to be spewed out by OEM, it has become increasingly problematic to build an app only supported by one operating system.
Responsive web design is no longer optional; sites simply must be responsive these days to stay competitive. There are so many great tools to create and test your designs, and ensure the best user experience. Building responsive applications are quite different from building responsive websites. Apps are designed for mobile first and then extended to tablets and computers. Since a mobile app is more precise and task-oriented, the original design is more complex. The result, he said, is better apps for everyone, on every platform.
The traditional way for website development is to design pages, but for responsive Web applications, reusable components are key.
In programming, a component is an identifiable, functional part of a larger program. Components usually provide a particular function or group of related functions.
In web designing, a system is divided into several components that in turn are made up of modules. Component test means testing all related modules that form a component as a group to make sure they work together.
In object-oriented programming and distributed object technology, a component is a reusable program that can be combined with other components in the same or other computers to form an application. Examples of a component include: a single button in a graphical user interface, a small interest calculator, an interface to a database manager. Components can be deployed on different servers in a network and communicate with each other for needed services.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) Techniques
There are three main coding Responsive Web Design techniques:
Media queries which adapt content to specific screen sizes
Media queries as CSS modules are just a conditional statement telling browsers to use a specific type of style, dependent on screen size and factors such as print. Media queries allow developers to use condition checks to alter web designs based on the properties of the user’s device. This is much better than simply defining breakpoints in the HTML/CSS, as it’s a more tailored experience for the user.
Fluid grids for flexible layouts
In RWD is the content should adapt to any screen viewed on. The best solutions to do this is to use fluid layouts where our content can be resized on each breakpoint. Grid frameworks could use a single grid to cover various screen sizes, or we can have multiple grids for each of the break points or screen size categories, such as mobiles, tablets, and desktops.
When flexible grids are created using CSS, the columns automatically rearrange themselves to fit the size of the screen or browser window, whether the user is on a 21-inch desktop computer, a 13-inch laptop, a 9.7-inch tablet, or a 5.5-inch mobile phone.
This enables designers to maintain a consistent look and feel across multiple devices, and saves time and money by allowing designers to update one version of the website versus many.
A breakpoint is the point when layout switches, from one layout to another, when some condition is fulfilled, for example, the screen has been resized. Almost all responsive designs cover the changes of the screen between the desktop monitors, tablets, and smart phone devices.
Flexible images and media that respond to changes to screen sizes
Images and media (videos) are an important part of responsive design, but are often elements that come with fixed sizes. There are several approaches to fix this:
Replacing dimensions with percentage values
Using maximum widths
Using background images only for some cases, as these are not good for accessibility
Using pre-determined image libraries
Removing the width and height parameters from the image tag and dealing with dimensions in CSS
Components andResponsive Design Principles
When building a responsive website, or making responsive an existing site, examine its layout.
Some designers start by creating a non-responsive layout, fixed at the default size and then adding media queries and slight changes to CSS to create a responsive site. Web design, makes it way easier to focus on one task at a time.
A responsive layout is step one to a fully responsive website. The next step is media, such as videos or images.
Implementing CSS codes will ensure that your images will never be bigger than their parent container. In order to function properly, code snippets have to be inserted into your CSS stylesheet.
The last step of RWD is often neglected by developers: Typography. There are over 8.48B unique devices in existence today, this functionality allow teams to create timeless designs capable of adapting to any device, regardless of its size or shape.
Until recently, most developers used pixels to define font sizes. While pixels are fine when your website has a fixed width, a responsive website should have a responsive font. Your site font size should be related to its parent container width, so it can adapt to the screen of the client and be easily readable on mobile devices.
It is possible to easily convert an existing website to a responsive one.
Making an existing website responsive is simple, to implement a responsive design, you need to:
Add responsive meta tags in your HTML document
Apply media queries to your layout
Make images and embedded videos responsive
Ensure your typography will be easily readable on mobile devices
All major brands have to showcase themselves with great websites and as such are a good example of responsive websites. Appedology is a leading web development and design agency, hence our website is another prime example of a responsive site. RWD is the here and now of web design. In any case, responsive app development is a valuable skill for designers and developers to acquire. Platforms may evolve or even die out, but the web will be around for a long time. If developers want to build apps with staying power, HTML is the cornerstone.
These were just a few tips to enhance your responsive practice. Before initiating any new responsive work, step back and ensure that you get the basics right. Start with your content, HTML and layer improved experiences upon them. The only limit to where you can take your designs is your imagination.