In Part 1 of our Making the Switch to Responsive Design series, learn how to create a user experience that ignores the boundaries between smartphone, tablet and computer.
New ecommerce technology constantly blurs the lines left by previous technology. The catalog blurred the line between local establishments and distant markets, the internet blurred the line between catalog and store and smartphones blurred the line between online and offline shopping. The increasing diversity and ubiquity of web-connected devices signaled the next step in this progress: a development philosophy where devices command the way that content is delivered.
As mentioned in our previous responsive design article, one way of accomplishing this is through a separate m-dot site to which mobile traffic can be directed. More recent technology, however, has altered this paradigm Rather than directing traffic to separate sites based on the resolution of the viewing device, a single website can now directly respond to a device’s screen size and alter its design elements accordingly.
CSS—a style sheet language that has been solving web design limitations since its inception—introduced a new module in CSS3: media queries. This new feature allowed Cascading Style Sheets to render different design layouts based on certain media types. The most important of these media types was the max-width property, which allowed CSS to display content in a fluid grid that would adjust to the width of the user’s browser.
Media queries became the cornerstone of responsive web design (RWD), allowing content to adjust to the width and orientation of mobile phones and tablets. With responsive templates, another line has been blurred: that between one device and another. The result is a seamless experience across smartphone, tablet and computer.
With most repeat visitors relying on these three different device types, the result is consistent navigation and consistent branding. In future editions of this series, we’ll explore what the experience means for user experience, for your marketing and for your business’s future.
As part of our growing collection of free responsive templates, we have recently added two new options: Cherish 2.0 and Technologik 2.0. If you are considering making the switch to responsive, be sure to browse our currently available templates and check back in the future for more options and for more information.