Through fluid grids and media query adjustments, responsive design enables Web page layouts to adapt to a variety of screen sizes. As more designers embrace this technique, we're not only seeing a lot of innovation but the emergence of clear patterns as well. I cataloged what seem to be the most popular of these patterns for adaptable multi-device layouts. To get a sense of emerging responsive design layout patterns, I combed through all the examples curated on the Media Queries gallery site several times. I looked for what high-level patterns showed up most frequently and tried to avoid defining separate patterns where there were only small differences.
IN The ‘trouble’ with Android , Stephanie Rieger points out the ludicrous number of Android screen sizes on a typical UK client’s website and comes to this conclusion: If … you have built your mobile site using fixed widths (believing that you’ve designed to suit the most ‘popular’ screen size), or are planning to serve specific sites to specific devices based on detection of screen size, Android’s settings should serve to reconfirm how counterproductive a practice this can be. Designing to fixed screen sizes is in fact never a good idea…there is just too much variation, even amongst ‘popular’ devices. Alternatively, attempting to track, calculate, and adjust layout dimensions dynamically to suit user-configured settings or serendipitous conditions is just asking for trouble.
(…reposted from a lengthy comment on Zeldman’s blog …) “I love “content-out” as a strategy…setting a series of breakpoints based on ems (based in turn on font size) could create lovely context-based layouts that move fluidly from one state to another. They won’t match with device sizes but they won’t be trying to. There is a lot to think about and play with there.” - Zeldman, State of the Web: Of apps, devices and breakpoints There IS a lot to think about and designing content-out is quite liberating, but it’s also important to remember why we’re doing this. Designing content-out works quite well.
The web as we currently know it (and therefore build it) has primarily been accessed from the desktop. Current trends indicate this is about to change. The ITU predicts that in the next 18–24 months, mobile devices will overtake PCs as the most popular way to access the web.
As more organizations realize they need to invest heavily in multi-device Web designs , the inevitable question of “how” comes up. Responsive Web design, separate sites, or something in between? Here’s how I’ve tried to simplify this decision: Responsive Web Design Responsive Web design is a combination of fluid grids and images with media queries to change layout based on the size of a device viewport.
Print design has the physical constraint of the canvas. The format is fixed. The situation is different on the web. We can’t know in advance exactly how someone will view our sites. We don’t have a fixed canvas.
If you are a happy owner of a smartphone or tablet, you are already familiar with ways to consume and interact with content on these platforms. But building all those apps & websites costs money… and we still need websites for the “classic” desktop users. Is there another way to merge all those fabulous ideas into a unique platform ? The answer we believe in is called “Responsive design”. For those who don’t know about it, responsive design combines progressive enhancement techniques, CSS media-queries, and innovative project approaches to allow us to create a website that responds to the context it’s being viewed within. Not only to the screen size of the device, but also to its capabilities (keyboard or lack thereof, touch-based devices,… ).
As mobile devices have continued to evolve and spread , so has the process of designing and developing Web sites and services that work across a diverse range of devices. From responsive Web design to future friendly thinking, here's how I've seen things evolve over the past year and a half. If you haven't been keeping up with all the detailed conversations about multi-device Web design, I hope this overview and set of resources can quickly bring you up to speed.
Responsive design is the new darling of the web design world. It seems that not a week goes by that there aren’t new resources for doing it, opinions about how to do it or even whether to do it at all, and new sites that make beautiful use of it. It can quickly get overwhelming trying to keep up with it all. Here we’ve compiled a list of more than seventy resources for creating responsive designs.
Media queries are the third pillar in Ethan Marcotte’s implementation of responsive design . Without media queries, fluid layouts would struggle to adapt to the array of screen sizes on the hundreds of devices out there. Fluid layouts can appear cramped and unreadable on small mobile devices and too large and chunky on big widescreen displays.
So, you’ve decided to venture into the creation of responsive web designs . Wonderful! With the browsing landscape diversifying into mobile devices, netbooks, desktops and so forth, responsive web designs allow web designers to provide different layouts for specific devices (based on screen size and browser features) giving site visitors an optimal user experience. So now, you’ve determined that it would be beneficial to create responsive web designs. What tools can help you get the job done?
The English architect Christopher Wren once quipped that his chosen field “aims for Eternity,” and there’s something appealing about that formula: Unlike the web, which often feels like aiming for next week, architecture is a discipline very much defined by its permanence.
Some experts are projecting mobile devices to become the dominant medium for web browsing within five years, overtaking browsing on desktop computers. Regardless of how accurate this projection turns out to be, it is clear that formatting websites for mobile-friendly viewing needs to become a staple of web design and development. There are many ways to accomplish this, of course. However, CSS3 provides a fairly rich toolset for mobile-friendly formatting, relying on the client’s browser capabilities instead of back-end templating. Step 1. Think Ahead
This is a guest post by Matt Brubeck who works on the Firefox Mobile team. The upcoming release of Mobile Firefox (Fennec) 1.1 features improved support for the <meta name="viewport"> tag. Previous version of Fennec supported the width , height , and initial-scale viewport properties, but had problems with some sites designed for iPhone and Android browsers. We now support the same properties Mobile Safari does, and we also changed Fennec to render mobile sites more consistently on screens of different sizes and resolutions. touch.facebook.com before: