Responsive web design ensures that users have a good viewing experience no matter what size and type of device they’re using. Responsive web design allows a site’s layout to change as the screen size being used to view that site changes. For example, a desk top display can receive a site design with multiple columns of content while a small screen can have that same content presented in a single column with text and links that are appropriately sized to be read and used on that smaller display.
Mobile device ownership has greatly accelerated in recent years and traditional PC sales have slowed. Then in the middle are tablets. Now that Google is prioritizing mobile-friendly sites in its search results algorithm, it’s essential to make sure your site is optimized for mobile by using responsive design.
Web designer Ethan Marcotte claims he coined the term “responsive design.” In 2010, he published an article called A List Apart in which he discussed the rapidly changing environment of devices, browsers, screen sizes, and orientations. Building separate sites for every type of device simply wouldn’t be sustainable. Instead, he proposed an alternative concept: responsive design, which calls for building flexible and fluid layouts that adapt to almost any screen.
We live in a world where our sites our not only being accessed by a variety of different devices and screen sizes, but the same customers are returning to our sites at different times using these different devices. This means that, to best support their experience, our sites must work well regardless of which device they may be using at a given time. The same content that they have access to on one device must be present when they return on another device to ensure consistency in the information that they are seeking.