Up until a couple of years ago, web designers only had to worry about a very small range of screen sizes – desktops and laptops. Between the explosion of smart phones and tablets, the affordability of larger monitors and internet televisions your website can now be viewed on a seemingly infinite assortment of screen sizes.
The way we used to deal with making something mobile, even a couple of years ago, was to make an entirely different site (you know – the url’s like m.google.com) and then detect it was mobile and redirect to that completely different site. There were a lot of downsides to this method, the most obvious being that you had to update everything twice whenever you did anything.
Well, in 2011 that thinking was officially blown out of the water by a short book titled, very appropriately, Responsive Web Design. It instantly changed the entire web design industry by illustrating a new way of going about adapting websites to different screen sizes by styling the content differently based on how large the viewing screen is. Instead of a whole new website for mobile devices, your now just adding a new section to the websites style sheet to apply new styling for the different devices.
A couple of months down the road responsive web design has swept across the industry. It sparked flame-wars of epic proportion, those who fell in love instantly with the concept and those that argued that serving the same content up to everyone is still the way to go. I fell in the first of the two groups and have used every new technique I can get my hands on as this new way of designing gains traction as the way to go.
I’ll be posting more stuff on responsive web design in the weeks to come, including a brief overview of how we went about making this site and some of the techniques and scripts that we used. Check back soon!