Responsive design is the current trend and philosophy for building sites within the web development community. It emphasizes that a site should be flexible to work on a range of devices. While the concepts behind it are nothing new, it is a process that will continue to be important for years to come.
How did responsive design originate?
In 2010, Ethan Marcotte coined the term Responsive Web Design in an article on alistapart.com. While the idea wasn’t anything new, a greater range of internet-connected devices and new functionality promoted the concept. Simply put, the idea is that a website should be created in a flexible or fluid -manner, utilizing a grid layout in order to adapt to the screen size of the device being used to display it. There’s additional technical jargon to expand on the term, but this isn't the place for it. Instead, I want to talk about the future.
What does the future hold for web design and why is it important?
Let’s imagine for a moment what we will use to browse the web in the future. We have heard for a while about smart appliances such as fridges. These will, and some do already, have touchscreens that will allow web browsing. Other devices will undoubtedly come in every shape and size. You will see it in your car, in vending machines at the mall, at the bus stop with an interactive website - and more. The possibilities are simply endless. However, one thing is certain -you will not be interacting with websites the way you used to- not always with a mouse and keyboard, not always at a desk, and certainly not only in your home.
Now, I want you to think for a minute about the present. Think about the last website you visited. Were you at your desk in front of your computer? Were you on the couch with your tablet, or perhaps in bed with your phone?
These days you can be anywhere and use anything to browse the web. We live in an amazing reality. This isn’t just the future anymore, this is now. We already have TVs, cars, fridges and more available with web browsers. This means that we can no longer view a website as a fixed, static point. It needs to be flexible and cater to the end-user via whatever means they choose to interact with it.
Responsive web design is simply one answer to account for the wide variety of devices we encounter today and even tomorrow. We cannot be future-proof, but we can certainly be future-friendly.