Understanding the Fundamental Elements of Responsive Web Design


Web design is no more what it used to be a few years ago. There were little variations of the screen sizes and not much had to be taken care of, but the circumstances have taken a 360 degree turn. With mobile devices dominating the World Wide Web, your website has to perform seamlessly on any and every device – whether it is a 7” tablet screen, 4.8” smartphone screen or any other designs. This is the reason why responsive wed design has taken over normal web designing concepts.

Responsive web design is no more a thing of the future and there is no wondering why there is so much buzz about RWD (responsive web design). A recent survey on Google+ found that among 652 followers, 82 percent voted responsive web design to be the most commonly used mobile configuration strategy.

According to another research by The Search Agency, 91 percent of top 100 ETail (online retail) companies do not use responsive web design.        

So even though, it may seem that a large portion of the online businesses have adopted responsive web design, there are those who still don’t. If you are among those who have still not embarked on the responsive bandwagon, it is high time that you do so. Switching to responsive web design makes sure you reach the widest range of audience and you make the most of your online business.

Responsive Web Design and Key Features

By now, almost everyone is aware of what a responsive web design is; those who have still don’t know, keep reading:

Responsive web design is a design approach that dynamically changes the appearance of the websites depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to browse the website. So with help of RWD, the same website can be viewed on a multitude of devices without any distortion.

So what makes a responsive web design different from an ordinary web design? Here are the key features that make RWD different from standard web designs:

  • Flexible/ Fluid Grids
  • Flexible Images and
  • Media Queries

 Let’s explore each of these features in details. Keep reading:

Flexible/ Fluid Grids

To create a successful responsive website, you need to design the website such that it seamlessly adapts to screens of all sizes. Flexible grids are the best options when it comes to RWD since they are created using relative proportions rather than fixed pixel values.

In simple words, traditionally, fixed width grids were used to position the elements, which means the elements got cemented to that specific position. In a fluid grid layout, everything is created in relative proportions – that is in percentages or relative sizes. So no matter what the size of the screen is, the grids adjust according the percentages allocated for them. But designers need to be very careful while creating flexible grids, since a lot of proficiency is required to come up with the perfect flexible grid systems. The web designers should be able to define specific parameters for the design elements (columns, containers, spacing, etc.) to provide the best web design solution.

Without the flexible grid system, it would be tough to accommodate the website on smaller and larger screens alike. In this approach the columns scale themselves automatically and move along with the grids to align the content suitably as the screen size increases or decreases.

Flexible Images

With responsive design, even the text and images get aligned suitably to offer a seamless user experience. To offer great user experience every design element needs to be scaled appropriately. This means even the images and texts need to be scaled down or scaled up with the changing screen dimensions and this can be tough.

In order to make websites lighter and expedite loading times, a lot of websites are incorporating lesser images and stock photos. If it is important to use images for your website, you can set the image width to 100 percent of the container which ensures it does not get chopped off and remains visually appealing as it was on the larger screens.

There are many different techniques to align the texts and images on a responsive website such as locking the image to occupy a certain portion of the vertical screen, limiting the minimum/maximum size of text containing images, etc. A web designer who is proficient enough to design responsive websites will be able to decide which technique suits your requirements.

Media Queries

This technique enables the web designers to design several design layouts using the same components (texts, images, etc.). Using media query, you can adjust the style, font and other elements of the web page depending upon the media type used by the users to browse the websites. Media queries can be utilised for handheld, TV, print, screen and projection. With help of this technique you can adjust the components according to the device width, height, resolution, colour index, aspect ratio as well as height and width of the browsers.

Media queries work successfully only in conjunction with flexible grid and flexible images. Most of the up-to-date web browsers respond to media queries and when implemented properly, it can provide flawless user experiences to the end users.

Media queries don’t just offer mobile or tablet solutions, they go beyond these. With help of media queries and responsive web designs, the designers can get out of the constraints of resolutions and screen sizes. Now it is possible to build websites that adapt to all different mediums.


Today’s consumers have different wants and needs when it comes to user experience, so it is necessary that you design websites that cater to the needs of all these different people. Responsive web design is a step in the right direction and all the online business owners should start thinking the responsive way.

In the web designing industry, one-size-does-not-fit-all; so the web designers must think of with unique solutions to allure the target audience. The opportunities are endless, so think of building websites that are more dynamic, more engaging and more user-friendly!      

Posted in Web Design Portfolio