Responsive web design refers to a website that has HTML code that enables it to adapt to changes in viewpoint and screen width. Responsive web designs have fluid layouts. A user should have the same experience regardless of the device they are using to browse the website, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone.

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design can also be referred to as adaptive design, However, the two are quite different. In adaptive designs, a website has different layout designs coded with certain breakpoints that allow the website’s layout to adapt to different screens.

One of the reasons why responsive web design is critical is because of the ability to adapt to small screens such as mobile phone screens. However, a responsive web design is not always mobile friendly. Also, a mobile friendly website is not necessarily responsive. Some of the conditions to be met for a website to be considered responsive and mobile friendly include:

  • Buttons that are big enough to press on small screens but do not go beyond the screen.
  • Images that do not appear compressed or cut off.
  • Forms that can be filled in on small screens.
  • Email opt-in forms that do not block information.
  • Social media buttons that do not take up most of the screen.

Benefits of Responsive Web Design

  • Gives a good user experience to visitors across all devices.
  • Most visitors surf the web using mobile phones, and responsive web design caters to them.
  • Helps with SEO
  • Helps website owners to attract more visitors.
  • Good user experience reduces bounce rate and leads can lead to better conversion rates.

Mobile Display Approach vs. Responsive Web Design

You cannot separate responsive web design from mobile usability. In the late 2000s, creating mobile friendly websites was quite a challenge. Web developers often made a completely separate website for mobile phone users. However, the mobile version websites were often watered down and not as comprehensive as desktop versions.

Smartphones began to be widely used, and that paused a challenge to marketers because users did not get a comprehensive version of websites on their phones. Visitors needed to have the full picture and complete versions of websites, and flipping between mobile phones and desktops is quite inconveniencing. Having separate websites was quite challenging for SEO; a slight mistake in the site maps could lead to a fall in ranking.

With responsive design, there is no need for developing two website versions. Also, you do not need to map the websites separately or worry about identical content. The maintenance involved is less because you only have one responsive website. Tracking analytics is easier too; you do not have to track users through multiple paths.   

Mobile App vs. Responsive Website Design

Most web visitors use mobile phones, and that might tempt you to opt for a mobile app instead of a responsive website. It is important to note that not all kinds of businesses need an app. Apps are needed when the users features and functionalities that work better on apps, for example mobile banking. Often, a responsive website is enough to cater for your business’s needs.

Is WordPress Responsive?

There are so many WordPress themes, and it is quite easy to find one that is responsive. While making a responsive website be mindful about CSS media queries and images, as that can affect the performance of a website.

Parting Shot

Responsive web design is a necessity and not a luxury. Most web visitors use mobile phones, and you want them to engage with and experience your website fully. As such, it is important for your wen pages to look good on all devices.


Edward is a web developer with 10 years experience in PHP development, JavaScript, WordPress development e.t.c

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