It was disruptive, controversial—one developer even wrote it off as “fools gold”.
Although it took a few years before gaining a strong foothold in the web design community, many agencies now acknowledge its superiority (in many cases) to the classic approach of designing and building separate mobile and desktop websites, and most full-service web design agencies offer it as a standard service today. The uptake in adoption is partly due to the popularity of frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap and Zurb’s foundation—which trade off performance, customization, and developer sanity for ease of use.
If you’re totally new to responsive web design (RWD), you should take the time to read the original article by Ethan Marcotte—it’s fantastic. For those short on time, from a simplified technical standpoint responsive web design is a technique that relies on using fluid grids, flexible media, and media queries to optimize the layout and design of websites so they adapt to different mediums and screen sizes.
After reading Ethan’s original article, we made the necessary modifications to Tucson Labs and began offering responsive web design as a service. Our first responsive website design project was in 2010 for the Galesi Family Foundation.
This is important because it allows developers to leverage a shared codebase which reduces duplication and complexity. different mediums. Many developers abide by a principle called ‘DRY’ which stands for “don’t repeat yourself”. Repeating yourself when writing software is easy—copy, paste, done. This seemingly innocent technique can lead to problems when a project increases in complexity and size. Responsive design helps sidestep this to some extent.
Responsive design might not always be the most appropriate technique for every project, but it’s well suited for many cases. It all depends on the project’s goals and requirements. If we decide that it is the best way to build out a given project, we take apply a mobile-first approach to our design process and add progressive enhancements as display sizes increase.
If you have questions about responsive web design or would like a quote for a project, please get in touch with us — we love to talk shop and help businesses succeed on the web. If you’re a web designer or developer looking to improve your skills, checkout the original article on responsive design or grab the Book (disclaimer: I haven’t read the book, but am pretty sure it’s ace). There are a lot of different ways to implement responsive design, so viewing the source of your favorite site is also a great way to learn about different approaches.