Complete Guide to Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Trends for accessing the internet has changed and people have been using mediums and devices as per their convenience. What usually happens is that we intend to convey the same message to the users no matter what their device is, or from where and when will they be accessing our website. And of course, we want our website to look the best, whether it is a computer, tablet, Smartphone or any other capable device.

This is when the need to think-out-of-the-box arises. There are two things you can do to ensure your visitors have an optimal user experience even when the devices they are using are different:

  1. either you detect the device used when your website is being accessed and display web pages accordingly.
  2. or, you use Responsive Web Design (commonly referred to as RWD)where the web page optimize itself detecting the device used.

The Beginning of Responsive Web Design

It is when the mediums to access internet started multiplying and the uses of those continued to grow, that arosea need for websitesto adapt to different media and resolutions. It is the result of this challenge for companies, whichhas given rise to a new approach in website designs -Responsive Web Design.

So, what is it?

The responsive design is a technique to create a website that suits all resolutions and all media like desktop, notebook, Smartphone, tablet and other capable devices.

If I had to explain responsive web design in simple terms, I would define it as something that responds to its environment. Responsive design is the process used by web developers to design and build websites that are flexible to work independently across different platforms and devices. You might have often tried to access a web page from your tablet or your Smartphone only to realize that it is extremely frustrating. Responsive design creates websites through Multiple Fluid Grid Layouts. The main aim of responsive web design is to ensure a great user experience, no matter how people access your site.

If you want a short demonstration of how this responsive web design works, you can try by gradually reducing the width of your browser window. A responsive website will automatically adapt to the size of the screen, arranging the elements according to the width of the screen.

What RWD gives you?

Many people believe that it is always better to create a specific website design for a Smartphone for it can have a lot of advantages. However, responsive design is at presentthe best possible solution. There are obvious reasons why you should use responsive web design.

  1. The responsive web design uses mixed approach – that is, it uses fixed widths for large and medium screens and fluid grid layout for small ones.
  2. It allows you launch a website for Smartphones, iPad mini, Windows 8,iOS, Andrews and others almost simultaneously.
  3. It gives your visitors an optimal user experience, no matter the device they are using.
  4. You save time and money.
  5. There are no chances of content duplication as you create one website for different platforms.

It is worthwhile to consider whether you really need a website or a dedicated application for each different version of Smartphone, tablet and other mobile devices.

How does Responsive Web Design Work?

There have been ample of devices used by people to your website. Well, although the concept of RWD is rapidly gaining popularity, the tools, methods and standards are still being refined. However, here is a small guide for you to understand how exactly RWD works.

  • Media Queries. The RWD uses media queries that adjust the website according to the device used to view that particular website.The best thing about media queries is that it determines the position of the phone – whether portrait or landscape and displays the website accordingly. It also adjusts the size of the content to be shown depending on the device used.
  • Break Points. Breakpoint is nothing but a transition between the device used and the unique set of CSS code that the RWD uses to construct a flexible layout.
  • The Fluid Grids. Just as the name suggests, this works like our traditional rows and columns. When building a RWD, the grid measurement expands and contracts as per the requirement of the layout. These grids have been used throughout to build websites that don’t just look aesthetically appealing but also function well regardless of the devices used to view the website.
  • Develop Beautiful Websites with CSS frameworks. With the below mentioned CSS framework, you now have the possibility of exploring the beautiful side of the website at any size.
  • Responsive Grid. We seldom refer to this as a framework. It’s just awesomely brilliant. This gives you a quick, easy & a flexible way to create a responsive website.
  • The Semantic Grid. This allows you to establishgutter widths and column, choose the number of columns, and switch between pixels and percentages.
  • Frameless Grid. Are you tired of responsive design? Do you dislike fluid grids? It’s time to give Frameless grid a genuine try.
  • Bootstrap This is definitely a sleek, native and a potent front-end frameworkthat ensures fast and easy development of a responsive website.
  • GridLESS. GridLESShelps you develop world’s first truly mobile, scalable power platform. An impressive framework that allows you to make responsive websites with beautiful typography.
  • Proportional Grid. This is a potential, framework allowing flexible grids. Best for handling responsive web design.
  • Simple Grid. When you are building a website, it is better not to worry about the codes. This is where Simple Grid helps you. It keeps things simple and up-front with very little markup and classes required.
  • Ingrid The main aim of this layout system is to eliminate the use of classes on independent units. Well, a fluid and lightweight system,Ingrid achieve its targeted goal.

Opportunities and Challenges of Responsive Web Design


We have just taken a look at the problems of responsive web design. However, outranking those problems is a bunch of advantages which will justify the popularity of responsive web designer in the industry.

  • Cost Effective
    If you consider a long run, this layout turns out to comparatively less expensive, saving you a dime.
  • Time Saving
    The RWD eliminates the need for different levels of design and development phases required for different devices.
  • Consistency
    There is no need to individually optimize websites to fit different sizes. All you need a fluid grid and you have a stunning website which supports different devices.
  • User Experience
    It is considered to create a better user experience because it breaks the monotony of a consistent layout that runs through all the devices. Every device will have a slightly different layout and ensure optimum user experience.
  • Focus
    This layout enables website owner to focus more on the content of the site rather than playing around and wasting time on its appearance.
  • Duplication
    And of course, it avoids the possibility of content duplication further leading to optimized costs, maintenance and accessibility.
  • Lifespan
    Creating a RWD will ensure a longer lifespan of your website than those of the traditional websites. The reason is that it can adapt to different resolutions.


Although there have been quite a lot of advantages of responsive web design that have been, there are certain problems faced while creating responsive web design.

  • Planning
    While designing a responsive wen layout, it is necessary that you have carefully planned and rigorously tested the website layout and navigation. This makes the entire designing process is quite time consuming.
  • Compromises
    When you plan to create a responsive web design, you will need to make a few compromises taking into consideration content of your website. This is only because of the limitations that viewers have while browsing your website on a small device.
  • Optimization
    You will have to decide on the optimization of the content. What you actually need to determine is, that whether it is worth blasting your content on certain devices.
  • Relevancy
    Finally, the responsive layout might prove good for projects that lay their focus more on content. It might be comparatively less relevant to other sites which do not lay much focus on their content path.

Hottest Web Design Trends

It can be tough to predict the future; however, with the ever changing consumption needsand fast moving web, you should take a chance to know what’s in store for the industry in the years tocome. Following are the hottest web design trends you need to be careful about.

  • Responsive Web Design
    With the ever rising need to create a layout that supports all devices from desktops and Smartphones to tablets and notebooks and anything released in the future, Responsive Web Design will be the hottest trend in the coming year.
  • CSS Transparency & CSS3 Animation
    Well, what more would one want them to be able to edit opacity on a web page without using Photoshop? Yes! You heard it right! The new CSS3 properties allow for opacity edits on any web page element in any modern web browser without the need of Photoshop.
  • Landing Pages
    Everyone wants to capture new leads for their product. This is possible by creating a landing page which issimple and focuses on the core product or service you offer.
  • Comprehensive Illustrations
    It is necessary that your website creates a mood for the user to feel connected to your site. This is possible with detailed illustrations. Creatively presenting your website definitely works to get the maximum number of leads.
  • SlideThrough Web Pages
    Although there have been new techniques tried and tested in web designing, sliding web pages can take you away if created accurately. In fact blending it into a responsive design can create wonders. This surely has to be one trend people look forward in the upcoming year.
  • Retina Support
    Retina Display has been the most talked about in the industry. These are nothing but screens that are twice as dense as any average LCD. These screens have a high enough pixel density that enables the human eye to notice unnoticeable pixels even from a typical distance. Well, they all focus on improving the user experience.


RWD allows great flexibility in achieving low cost website and considering long termwithout compromising on providing optimum user experience. This will definitely allow you to achieve your goal, without bothering much about your content and navigation.

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Written by

Allison Reed

Allison is a professional SEO specialist and an inspired author. Marketing manager by day and a writer by night, she is creating many articles on business, marketing, design, and web development. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.


  • orange county web designer
    February 19, 2013

    Impressive guide about responsive web design. Thanks for sharing.

    • hauer mateusz
      March 24, 2013

      also. good material 🙂 thx

    February 26, 2013

    Good info!

  • vbltechnologies
    February 27, 2013

    good post on complete guide responsive web design helps to improve the designs .. thanks for posting.

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