Responsive Design: Something to Think About

Responsive design is a way to create a site that is not only compatible with a desktop computer, but also with smart phones and tablets. It gives the developer something to think about when developing a website. Should a developer look to develop the normal desktop design, or should he/she also add in changes so that it becomes accessible to smaller screens?

Responsive design has become something to consider for web developers when it comes to creating a new website for a client. But how can someone create a website for two screens? The best way to create a site for both platforms is to use media queries in the main CSS, which targets the width of the average smartphone and/or tablet. When creating a media query, you may have to create new rules that are specific to instances when it is viewed on a smaller screen. It doesn’t contradict or ignore the main CSS rules that are already created for a desktop computer screen, it instead adds to it because of the media query. The media query is states that “If the screen is this specific size, perform these specific actions”. It’s as simple as that. Media queries may add on more work than you already have, but in doing so it will help to create a responsive design without the need for outside plug-ins.

In recent years, there have been many plug-ins available for the creation of responsive design. The most common one that is seen is “Bootstrap”; this plug-in was created by the developers at Twitter. When you add the main CSS and JavaScript files for the plug-in into your site, it automatically creates that responsive design. It is definitely helpful in many aspects, including responsive design, but for some projects, a plug-in for responsive design may not be a necessity. Sure, it makes things easier for you to develop a responsive design for your website, but it may also come with unnecessary restrictions. For example with “Bootstrap”, because of the Bootstrap CSS, if you wanted to add a brand new font into your site, it will not add the font. The main reason for this is that it always focuses on the font provided in the Bootstrap CSS. Plug-ins provide many things that are helpful in website development, but in some ways they take away from the creative aspect that makes each website unique. A plugin may be good for many different projects, but don’t rely on it too much when it comes to responsive design.

There are many routes that can be taken for a responsive design website; it all depends on what the developer wants out of the website, and how the company wishes it to function when it comes to accessibility. Each route takes work, but what you can establish through all of it is a website that is accessible to anyone at any time; that is what responsive design is all about. Always remember to keep your users in mind; would the user access your site through a desktop computer, or would they likely look through their smartphones and tablets when they are on the go? Responsive design is definitely something to think about when it comes to web development and how you plan to create the site itself.