Responsive web design is the term used for a website that changes and adapts its appearance (screen resolution) for optimal viewing on all sized screens such as smart-phones, tablets as well as laptop and desktop computer screens. It is a compact form of layout which adjusts according to device. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Adaptive Web-design’, ‘RWD’ or ‘Fluid Web-design’. Websites that are not made responsive; obviously do not adapt to different screens and as such can be hard to view and navigate on small devices. It won’t give pleasing experience to users.
With increasing frequency and international standards, new websites are being made using responsive design techniques to abolish the need for a stand-alone mobile website. You can say, a practice step taken which is admired and give one-step manageable solution for all platforms. Such a decision also enhances the user experience significantly; therefore leading to more sales and customer interaction as potential clients are not being annoyed by small text and almost impossible navigation with complicated functions.
Responsive web design functions by using a script to perceive the screen-size (device screen) the website is being viewed from or navigation through. It can detect each device whether that a smart-phone, tablet, laptop or desktop; – then uses CSS (customized individual CSS for each device) to display the site in an appropriate format without compromising quality standards, design pattern or layout. Images can be condensed wherein needed to fit to smaller screens, text is enlarged and menus change to a drop down system rather than horizontal system as per supported features.
The rewards of using this type of design over having separate mobile versions of website are stark: When you update your site, it updates for all devices inheritantly; it displays suitably on all screens. Sometimes mobile sites will be displayed on tablets by making them smaller than is ideal.
Many designing firms / companies offer both mobile web design and responsive web design for clients as per requirement. With responsive web design techniques; improving all the time, there seems negligible reason left to have a stand-alone mobile site unless for unavoidable circumstances for different marketing strategies or use by users.
For example, a fast food business may want to target people on the move with instant special offers (discount, special celebration, best food dishes etc) but would like to show their menu and upcoming promotions to laptop or desktop users. In most cases though, a website would cater for all users (all device users) in the same passion and therefore; a responsive design is the way to go and future of web designing.
Responsive web-design is the emerging prospect for websites and companies to cover vast online user segments worldwide.
I have observed many web-designing companies not utilizing this benefit. Those companies without this feature will face problem and it might be a lazy decision after couple of years. When they realize their mistake at that time, many competitors already established their multifunctional responsive web-design presence. It is recommended that companies research the power and price of adaptive designs before committing to any new web design projects and also inquire for best possible solutions.