Responsive Design - What It Is And How It Works?

Stuti Pradhan

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive design

Responsive web design is about making web content that automatically adapts to various windows, screen sizes, and devices. So, whether you view a website on your mobile or from your desktop computer, the site will look and feel the same. All the elements and contents will be exactly as they are from one screen and device to another.

Responsive website design is about making your audience feel special. They will love visiting your site because it’s a pleasant and convenient experience. You’ll make them feel special and important because you’re doing everything to ensure that their expectations and needs are met.

Your responsive website will attract more audiences and bring in new ones, including consumers who prefer to do everything using their mobile devices. And mobile searches are a significant portion of visits in search engines.

When designers develop applications and websites, for example, the layout of each screen so that the user may simply access the information they want. They also establish a flow that allows users to easily browse between screens. UX designers decide on the best structure and flow following design thinking process which is a first step of software development and this is a part of information architecture in user experience.

Responsive web design also means you no longer need to create multiple versions of your site to ensure that there is one suitable for every device in the market. It increases your productivity and provides your audience with an optimal search and view experience.

Why Should You Build A Responsive Web Design?

Nowadays, responsive web design is no longer an option or feature. Today, if you want your website to succeed and create a significant impact, it must be responsive.

If you want to move ahead of the competition, you have to have a responsive website. If your goals are to improve user impact and increase conversions, web design responsiveness is the only way to go. If you want to connect with millions of smartphone and tablet users anywhere in the world, focus on creating a responsive web design.  

Responsive website design has been around for years, but not many people understand what it truly is and why it is important for businesses.

Techniques For Achieving Responsive Web Design

responsive design technique

1. Remove Friction

Responsive websites are user-friendly and provide visitors with a convenient and satisfying experience. This is achieved regardless of what device they use. As such, one of your primary goals is to reduce or completely remove friction.

You’ll know that there is friction if your website halts, slows down, or hinders the buying process for visitors and potential buyers. To reduce or remove friction, ensure that your e-Commerce setup must be convenient and efficient. For example, instead of lengthy page checkouts, go for a single-page process instead. Multiple-step checkouts are ideal only for desktops.

2. Thumb-Focused Design

Think of how your users hold, tap, pinch, and swipe their devices when creating your web design. Think of the thumb and how your users utilize them when navigating through websites. Here are some elements to consider:

  • For mobile users, browsing through the website’s pages is easier because the primary navigation bar is at the bottom of the screen. If navigation is on top as it typically is on desktops, they won’t easily reach it.
  • Using the thumb to access elements on the corners and sides of the screen is also difficult. If interactive elements are really essential, they should be laid out in the center or middle of the screen.

thumb focused design

3. Take Advantage of Mobile Devices’ Native Hardware

Mobile hardware (like the device camera, or GPS services) isn’t specifically reserved for native apps, and as mentioned earlier, responsive web design isn’t just about “making everything fit.” It’s also about adapting to the capabilities of the device. In the case of mobile web design, since mobile devices have easy to use cameras, some micro interactions—such as data input—are actually easier on smaller screens as long as websites are taking advantage of the available native hardware.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Credit/top-up card scanning (because forms are often tricky on mobile)
  • Photo-sharing on social media, because the media is already on your device
  • Two-factor authentication (because you’re already on your mobile device)
  • Quickly checking stocks/analytics (because mobile apps simplify information)
  • Performing a web search with voice (because hands-free is easier than typing)

4. Mobile First Approach

As the term suggests, mobile-first design is an approach in which web designers start product design for mobile devices first. This can be done by sketching or prototyping the web app’s design for the smallest screen first and gradually working up to larger screen sizes. 

Prioritizing design for mobiles makes sense as there are space limitations in devices with smaller screen sizes and teams need to ensure that the key elements of the website are prominently displayed for anyone using those screens. 

Designing and developing for small screens compels designers to remove anything that isn’t necessary for seamless website rendering and navigation. 

5. Overall Layout

Responsive websites have well-thought-out layouts. As such, if your website is viewed on different screen sizes and devices, it should easily adapt to the screen fluidly and automatically. Creating a fluid layout means reflowing the content according to the responsive breakpoints of the devices. These simple tips may be of help:

  • PNG and JPG files are resolution-dependent, so use SVG images instead so that you can safely scale up and down.
  • Adjust the maximum and minimum width so that the width and height properties are easy to control.
  • Achieve fluidity through the use of the percentage of units.
  • Pay attention to the grids, columns, flow, and negative space as you scroll down.

Some of the examples of responsive web design:



Dropbox has used  a fluid grid and flexible visuals to design a standout responsive website. Not only does the font color change to accommodate the background color when shifting from desktop to handheld devices, but the image changes orientation as well.


When shifting from desktop to tablet devices, the area above the fold changes from a two-column layout to a single-column layout, with the copy above the signup form instead of beside it.

Unlike on desktop and tablet devices, where their signup form is a central focus, GitHub presents only a call-to-action button on mobile. Users must click the call to action to surface the form.

Like Dribbble, GitHub has also removed the search bar and hidden the menu behind a hamburger icon on handheld devices. This is a pretty common practice, as it helps reduce clutter on mobile devices, where space is limited.


As you can see, on the personal computer and tablet, the call-to-action button is to the right of the form field. On mobile devices, it’s beneath.

Similarly, the illustrations are to the right of the copy on personal computers and tablets, whereas they’re placed beneath the copy on mobile devices.

Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce company platform that enables digital sellers to start, run, and grow businesses online with shopify. Like most websites, Shopify’s menu is also replaced by a hamburger icon.

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