The concept isn’t new in the context of digital development when “new” means what you’ll be seeing tomorrow and “old” is just so last week, but responsive websites are becoming more and more prevalent. And a jolly nice thing they are, too. With mobile browsing set to outstrip desktop access within 3 to 5 years, it’s essential that the mobile experience is considered from the outset.
Responsive design techniques make this actually quite easy. With a plethora of toolkits now available, sites designed with fluid grid systems in mind can easily adapt to any viewport width. Add in a media query, some fluid images and – “ta-dah!” – quickly and easily add alternative layouts for virtually any viewport size or device.
When I am the sole designer on a project, my preferred workflow is to design for the desktop, then tweak the resulting layout to suit tablet and mobile, but of course it can also be done the other way around, depending on which platform is considered more important. When formal wireframes and UX designs are needed, rapid prototyping can bring responsive layouts to life quickly and efficiently.
Recently I created a website for a small wedding photography business using responsive techniques and I’m pretty pleased with the speed at which I could get the site up and running across multiple browsers and devices.