Creating a mobile and tablet friendly website can be a challenging process, and responsive website design or fluid design is a term which describes the technique of adapting a website layout using cascading stylesheets to fit the screen of a smartphone or tablet device.
With mobile usage in South Africa increasing at a rapid rate. (According to World Wide Worx, 90% of regular internet users access the web on their smartphones ) It is becoming increasingly important to create a mobile and tablet friendly site especially for content based industries (such as news websites) where users are more likely to browse the websites on the go several times per day.
This fluid design method uses the screen-width to determine the type of device being used and then shows or hides elements on the website layout to render a more readable version for the device.
Responsive websites also require images to be more flexible and to adapt to mobile download speed constraints. This means selecting smaller image sizes to ensure the website loads quickly on a 3G or slower connection. Complex and bloated website programming is also discarded to speed up download time and increase accessibility.
For a tablet device such as the iPad, responsive webdesign can also detect the whether the device is being held in a portrait or landscape orientation and adapt the layout accordingly similar to a native app that is loaded on the device.
With .net Magazine choosing responsive webdesign as #2 on it’s top web design trends of 2012, we feel this technique is an excellent method of delivering your website to mobile and tablet devices. Take a look at one of our recent websites for for a practical look at using responsive website design for our client Mama Money.