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Responsive web design is a website design strategy use to create websites that provide an optimum viewing experience for visitors using a wide variety of devices. These innovative techniques involve a fluid approach to design that makes websites easy to navigate and read content with a minimum amount of panning, scrolling and resizing on various devices from smartphones to desktop computers.

Responsive website design isn’t just about resizing images and adjusting screen sizes either, it’s actually an entirely new design process that involves three primary principles that together form a responsive design; Responsive grids, images and media queries, the guidelines for responsive web design.

Responsive Grids
As a rule, websites have been characterized in terms of pixels, a concept that has been carried over from the print industry where everything was the same fixed size. Responsive websites are designed using relative units similar to percentages, instead of using fixed units (pixels), giving it the ability to smoothly transition to fit various device sizes.

Responsive Images
We have seen a lot of developments in responsive images, however the main concept is that the images need to be able to reduce in size within the confines of a responsive grid. This is an effect that can be accomplished very easily using a singular line of CSS code. This line of code tells the browser that images should only be as large as their pixel value, ensuring that the image isn’t pixelated or stretched. Having said that, if the images are nested inside of a parent area that is smaller than their pixel value, the image needs to shrink. So as an example, if an image that’s 800 pixels wide is placed inside of an area that’s only 600 pixels wide, the image will shrink to become 600 pixels wide. The height of the images are automatically calculated to maintain the initial aspect ratio.

Media Queries
Responsive web design shouldn’t just be about how to develop an adaptable design on a wide variety of screen sizes and platforms. It also needs to be about the end user having the ability to pick and choose the presented content. CSS coding makes it possible to easily display as well as hide content and has for years.

If you take a two column layout and attempt to shrink it down to a smartphone screen size, it can be a little challenging. Because smartphones are widely used in portrait mode, its screen is taller than it’s wide. This suits websites that are designed to scroll vertically, however it’s not suitable for wide layouts that have several columns. This is where media queries come into play. Media queries make it possible for the CSS technology to only be employed when specific conditions are met. Today this innovative technology is the key component of responsive web design.

Responsive web design has developed into a massive umbrella that encompasses several different, ever changing techniques, tools and resources, so it’s not possible to provide a comprehensive guideline, however the information provided here will give you an idea of its core concepts.