19 Jan “Responsive/mobile webdesign” : what does it mean ?

In a time when an infinite number of screen formats and sizes continually interconnect, the “responsive webdesign” appears to be the sought after solution to ensure an optimal web browsing on all devices. The phrase “responsive webdesign” was used for the first time by Ethan Marcotte in his work called “responsive webdesign” published in 2011, where he refers to very specific principles and technologies.

The “responsive design” consists in conceiving websites that optimally adapt to any media or mobile devices (smartphones, digital tablets, …), combined with a unique play mode. To make such a user experience possible, a few elements are necessary, including resizing, cropping and scrolling multidirectional web pages.

The concept of “responsive webdesign” as envisaged by Ethan Marcotte is based on three technical features : media queries, the concept of a fluid grid and pictures’ resizing. We usually consider that media queries are the main technical elements of the responsive webdesign. This point of view is called into question by E. Marcotte himself, for whom these queries only add small modifications to the interface when the use of fluid grids does not entirely solve all adjustment issues.

More specifically, the CS3 media queries technology allows various CSS actions to be preformed according to the terminal of consultation. As for the fluid grid, its contribution may consist in the scaling according to the sets of page. For flexibility purposes, pictures are also resized in order to avoid any content overspill from the pages.

There are multiple advantages to the responsive webdesign. In addition to economies of scale in both design and maintenance of websites, the responsive webdesign shows a more accurate project maintenance and allows a transparent update. The number of mobile internet users now also exceeds the number of users connected through their computers. An interconnectivity revolution for which the responsive webdesign is highly responsible.

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