Beginners guide to responsive web design

Start with the basics. What is responsive website design?

Since 2011, the industry has laid down a set of standards to specifically deal with the challenges of building web-sites for mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop. This standard is backed by Google, Microsoft, Apple and most of the web development community. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called, it’s what the world is now using.

Responsive frameworks automatically adapt their size and shape to fit the device they are being viewed on. Our site, here, is responsive – progressively shrink the size of the browser window you would see the site changing size and shape automatically. Pretty clever eh?

What was wrong with the old way of building sites?

That way was born in a time when computers had TV-like screens that were all very similar size and shape. It was a time of simpler devices and dumb phones. Today we have tablets, laptops, big mobiles, portrait and landscape, tiny smart watches, 60″ connected TVs. Its a time of ever increasing device diversity.

Its also a time of diversity of use. Smartphone have been around since 2005 but not many folks used them so it wasn’t really a big issue. It is now, by the end this year website traffic will be ONE THIRD PHONE, ONE THIRD TABLET and ONE THIRD LAPTOP. The old way doesn’t work in the new world.

How long have you got?

The clock has been ticking for a year or so. The big change affecting 2013 is what’s called the PC-buying cycle; any given PC owner will change his PC every 3 years. The current crop of PC owners who bought in 2010 are not replacing their PCs but adding a tablet or smart-device; this will continue to grow over the next 2 years until almost all PC owners will own a tablet. Originally, they selected a tablet or other smart device as an additional use item but very quickly it replaced 75% of what they did on their laptops.

It has become the dominant device in and out of the home. It also sounds the death knell for the PC.

How long have you got? Need to deal with it now.

What can you do about it?