What is Responsive Web Design?

Here’s a topic that gets floated out a lot in web design circles today: responsive web design. So powerful is its charisma, in fact, that as soon as a discussion begins about it, fanfare erupts to greet it, odes are written about it, and heaven seems to pause a minute to consider the commotion. It does, indeed, bring with it a lot of buzz.

However, responsive web design is more than a buzzword. Some would even argue that it deserves far more than that “distinction”; responsive web design, they say, should be the norm. Except, many are still caught asking, “What is it?”

Responsive web design is the intelligent use of CSS—and, though not generally recommended, JavaScript—to create a website that maintains its usability regardless of what kind of device is used to browse it. It takes into account the characteristics of each device—its resolution, its rendering capabilities, the maximum width and height of its screen, etc.—and enables the website to adapt to these attributes in real time.

Responsive web design allows websites to maintain their usefulness and efficiency across the entire spectrum of devices so users will be browsing the same sites regardless of device. There will be no need to create multiple copies of the site to suit each device. It also makes it easier for everyone who accesses the website, even the all-important search engine web crawling robots.

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