By: Bayshore Solutions Design Team

So how do you make your website work across multiple screen resolutions, from small, mobile devices all the way up to large, wide-screen displays? One really good answer is responsive web design. There is an ever-increasing variety of tiny mobile devices, tablet computers, monitors, televisions, all-in-ones and everything in between, and all of them are becoming more and more connected to the web every day. This means that your website is going to be viewed under a lot of different conditions that you can’t anticipate. Responsive web design allows a single site to adapt and work across all those devices as opposed to the less efficient method of designing separate sites for every conceivable device and display.

In the early days of the web and even now, many people compared web design to print design, and designers would work tirelessly to make their websites look exactly the same on every platform and in every browser. As mobile internet devices like the iPhone came along, suddenly everyone wanted a mobile website in addition to their normal website. Now we have and an ever-increasing amount of pocket-sized mobile devices besides the iPhone and we also have tablet devices, like the iPad.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are massive, high-resolution monitors and televisions that can browse the web. So while print design and web design have a lot in common, print design deals in fixed layouts. Print designers can make a layout and know that it’s going to be printed at a certain size. The web, on the other hand, has the presumed down-side of being variable because of all the different screen sizes out there. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If we embrace the variable sizes, we can actually turn it into an advantage and provide an experience that is better suited to our users and to their preferences. If a user has a computer, a tablet, and a smart phone, and they prefer reading articles on their tablet in portrait mode, for example, then our designs shouldn’t just tolerate it–rather, they should accommodate the device and fill the page.

But how do you actually make that happen without making multiple designs for every device? Through what is called responsive web design, your design can be built to adapt to the device that it is being displayed on. In other words, as screen size increases or decreases, your design should readjust itself to fit the display. This means that you need to detect the screen resolution and make adjustments on the fly.

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The best way to do this is to use media queries – a feature of CSS3 that asks the browser for information about the client – to detect the screen size and then make adjustments to elements like widths, colors and fonts through CSS. Because responsive sites are built using HTML and CSS that incorporate a fluid grid using percentages for widths instead of fixed pixels, when we get to a specific screen resolution the website automatically snaps into a different layout that’s proportional to the width of the screen and fills it accordingly. All of this gives users the best experience possible and gives your site the best chance of working well across all those devices.

The Bayshore Solutions web design team can work with you to create a responsive web design to best serve your, and your audience’s, needs. Contact us to get started today.

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