What Is Responsive Web Design?

What Is Responsive Web Design?

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For years now, people have increasingly been using phones to do their browsing — the fact that these devices are far more portable than desktop has also made them a convenient shopping outlet. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic also significantly impact how much you should prioritize your web presence. Because shopping in person has become difficult and even dangerous for some, many consumers have turned to online shopping for their everyday needs. As a result, your website, whether lead generation or eCommerce, must work perfectly to cultivate customer interest and convert effectively. This means ensuring your website is attractive, loads quickly and is optimized for SEO.

Google and other search engines have recognized the increased mobile traffic and the overall need for improved user experience. They have already begun to adjust the way they rank websites. Tech companies also pump out device after device with varying sizes and resolutions, forcing websites to evolve and accommodate the resulting diversity.

You may be wondering, “How do I make sure my site design looks good on all devices and works properly on mobile?” The answer is responsive web design and potentially the assistance of a responsive web design agency.

In this post, we’ll answer these key questions regarding responsive website design:

•  What is responsive web design?
•  How does responsive web design affect SEO?
•  Why should I consider responsive web design?
•  How do I make my website responsive?

What Is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Design

When a website is considered “responsive,” the design adapts to the visitor’s screen size. Technically, the website server sends the same HTML code to all devices and Common Command Set (CCS), automatically altering the layout and design to match the device’s size and resolution. All images, text and icons automatically adjust to be the perfect size to ensure that each element is attractive, legible and usable.

Why Is Responsive Website Design So Important?

Importance of Web Design

Now that we’ve answered the “what is responsive web design” question, it’s time to explore the “why.” Aside from the fact that many people use mobile to do their online shopping, there are numerous reasons why you should consider a responsive website design:

Google Loves Responsive Web Design

Search engines have realized just how necessary a good mobile experience is with the increase of mobile web browsing. For example, Google now (as of September) uses mobile-first indexing. This means it crawls the mobile version of the content, essentially prioritizing the mobile experience over desktop. If your mobile site loads slowly and the design does not adjust appropriately according to the device size, it negatively impacts user experience and your SEO ranking. Your website could be buried in the search engine results pages (SERPs) simply because your design is not responsive.

Responsive web design is paramount now, but future changes will further its importance even more. Google has a major ranking update due to land in March 2021 called Core Web Vitals, and it has already begun to set the expectations for what this means for webmasters and responsive web design agencies. This update is entirely focused on online user experience, so if your website is not user-friendly (AKA responsive) by then, your website will not be able to compete in the highly competitive online marketplace. If your site is not already responsive, you need to be proactive and make the necessary changes now. If you cannot do this yourself,  is a responsive web design company that can assist you.

Responsive Web Design Is Practical

Manually creating multiple versions of your website would be impossibly tedious and require hours of labor. This page from Screensiz.es demonstrates just how many devices and resolutions you’d have to accommodate and that list only addresses mobile devices! A site that can automatically adjust to a large 17″ laptop, or the smallest 4″ mobile phone, is by far the most practical solution.

Responsive Website Design Is Timeless

Adopting responsive means that you will save time changing your site in the future. The frequency at which companies are releasing new devices is overwhelming, so ensuring your design is responsive now means that your site can evolve and adapt to new technology in the future.

How Do I Make My Website Design Responsive?

How to Make Responsive Web Design

Now that we have established the benefits of responsive website design, how do we create it?

Implement A Meta Viewport Tag

Using a meta viewport value width=device-width instructs the browser to resize the page according to the screen size. The code will look like this:

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>

Responsive Images

To make an image responsive, the CSS width property is set to 100% and the image will scale up and down.

<img src=”img_girl.jpg” style=”width:100%;”>

Because this may cause the image to scale larger than its original size, it is sometimes preferred to use the max-width property instead.

<img src=”img_girl.jpg” style=”max-width:100%;height:auto;”>

This will instruct the image to scale smaller or larger depending on the screen size, but it will never scale larger than the original screen size. This ensures that the image remains clear.

Another option is to instruct the browser to display different images in order to adapt to the viewer’s screen size. Here’s an example:


  <source srcset=”img_pingpong.jpg” media=”(max-width: 600px)”>

  <source srcset=”img_basketball.jpg” media=”(max-width: 1500px)”>

  <source srcset=”basketball.jpg”>

  <img src=”img_pingpong.jpg” alt=”Flowers”>


Responsive Text

The text size can be set with a “viewport width” unit, or “vw”.

That way the text size will change to the size of the browser window:

<h1 style=”font-size:10vw”>Good Morning</h1>

This information may only be helpful if you have experience with code and website development. Sometimes the best course of action is contacting a responsive web design agency for help.

If Your Design Is Not Responsive, Visitors Can Miss Out On Crucial Information

Whether you want your site visitors to fill out a form, buy a product, subscribe to a service, or to be educated, strategically placing each element is crucial for conversions. Your website’s purpose may vary, but ensuring a quality experience for your visitors is always a priority because Google is actively looking at your user experience. If an image is cropped or too small, your design can look unprofessional, negatively impacting the visitor’s opinion of your product or service. If your call-to-action (CTA) button is not in the right place, or worse yet, does not appear at all, it can dramatically affect your conversion rate. Thrive is a responsive web design company that also provides conversion rate optimization services, so if you think you need an expert opinion regarding your website’s ability to convert, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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