Basics of Responsive Web Design

With all of the different devices out there today, responsive web design is 100% necessary and standard for all modern websites. Websites today need to be designed so that they can properly shrink down to a mobile phone or tablet device size, while still being usable and accessible on a full-width desktop screen or laptop computer. This will ensure improvement in user experience, which means higher conversions and business growth! Here are some of the basics when it comes to responsive web design.

Coding Isn’t As Scary As It Seems

We promise! Even though you might need to learn the basic functionality and best practices of HTML and CSS code in order to start building a responsive website, you don't need to know every single detail in order to succeed. So, let's take a look at what you do need to know in order to get started.


The foundation of responsive design is the combination of HTML and CSS code. You might already be familiar with this type of coding. If so, you know that it’s only scary at first! Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and honestly, sort of fun. If you’re not familiar with either one, in simple terms, you can basically control virtually any aspect or object of a website (text, links, images, columns, etc.) with HTML and CSS.

HTML focuses on the primary foundation of the website, controlling the main structure and content, while CSS allows for more specific details (AKA “style sheets”) to be set such as fonts & text, links, and margin settings. Using both HTML and CSS, you can control the responsiveness of your website by setting specific height, width, and color based on what device is detected and being used to view your content. This tutorial will give you a great headstart into the basics of HTML/CSS when used for responsive design.

Media Queries

Using HTML and CSS as mentioned above is how you make a design responsive when you combine it with a technique called media query. A media query is a fundamental part of CSS that lets you render (or change/update) content to adapt to different factors like screen size or resolution. In simple terms, the CSS code says

things like, “if the screen size is | full-width |, then | realign columns and shrink images to certain width |”. The user’s device will recognize this code communication, and the content will adapt accordingly. It takes a little getting used to when first learning about how to combine CSS and media queries, but this tutorial will get you going in the right direction

It’s All About Sizing!

It's crucial to properly size your content, such as responsive images, to create a "fluid" layout. In other words, your content needs to be sized just right in the CSS code so that any device can recognize it and display it exactly how you want it. Let's get a little more into fluid layouts and responsive images.

Fluid Layouts

Fluid layouts are another fundamental of responsive design. The "fluid" concept relies on dynamic values, like a percentage of the viewport or screen size width. It’s another element you need to use in order to get your content to properly display on the device of your user. Fluid design makes sure your website always looks similar in layout regardless of the screen size. After you incorporate fluid elements and specific percentages on your pages, make sure you test your site on a range of screen sizes, from smartphone to a large desktop browser window. Check it out in more detail before you dive into fluid layout design (it can be a little tricky!)

Responsive Images

A little more CSS is involved to make your images fit any screen size. If the CSS “width” property of an image is set to a specific percentage, and the “height” property is set to "auto", the image will be completely responsive and scale up and down accordingly. However, in many cases, using the “max-width” CSS property wi

ll allow your image to expand as much as possible while still fitting to the screen. For a more detailed explanation, check out this website that will provide you with all the different aspects of responsive images.

Get Responsive - ASAP!

Responsive web design can seem overwhelming if you're just getting started, but once you get your feet wet, you'll get the hang of things in no time. In today’s tech-focused world, there are so many different screen sizes that exist across phones, tablets, desktops, gaming consoles, TVs, and even wearable technology. Screen sizes are constantly changing, so it's important that your site can adapt to any screen size, whether it’s for a screen size that already exists, or a new one that’s bound to pop up in the future.

If you're not up for learning responsive web design yet (or ever), contact us today and we'll be more than happy to help get the ball rolling and make your website as modern and responsive as possible. Even if you just need a little inspiration or helpful tips for your website, don't hesitate to reach out or book online and we'll work our magic on your website!