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Approaches for responsive website design

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Responsive website design (Drawing illustrating the concept of adaptive design like an iceberg)

The concept of responsive website design (RWD) is provided with the proliferation of websites consultation terminals. It was agreed to have in mind two different approaches for the responsive web design.

Responsive degradation

Starting from the desktop version of the website, some components of the web page are gradually reshaped as the screen width decreases, if they are not simply removed. This is to adapt the design according to the decreasing resolution of the screen. The most frequent and the most eloquent case is the passage of a site with multiple columns in desktop version, with one in mobile version.

This method is sometimes questioned in the web design community, since in reality a smartphone load the desktop version of the website and not the mobile version, so it will download unnecessary style data and images that can be heavy for a cellular network.

Mobile first

The concept of mobile first can be regarded as a mode of thought in which we would favor the construction of an ergonomic interface for mobile devices before establishing ergonomics for a “desktop” (office) terminal. Which is, in Internet history, the traditional display. This thought aims to improve the user experience (UX).

The development of an ergonomic interface under constraint of a small display force to purify maximum visible items by the end user. A trend that is found increasingly in the ergonomics of web interfaces.

This thought is increasingly favored by tools for creating web site. For example, the Drupal CMS is developing version 8 of its CMS trying to integrate this thinking “Mobile First“. The steady increase in sales of “Smart Connected Devices” (PC, smartphone and tablet) increased the interest in templates embodiment in RWD for most content management tools. WordPress and Joomla! also offer designs incorporating the responsive dimension.

To go further, new content management systems integrate responsive web design in their design. Some CMS as Rubedo integrate natively layout systems using fluid grids and allow (thanks to media queries) to define the items on pages that are displayed depending on media using simple check boxes.

Declensions

The responsive web design can be applied to other uses, not for websites only. Anything that uses web technologies can be considered adaptive. It is thus possible to design adaptive HTML emails, mobile adaptive HTML5 applications or Facebook responsive applications.

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