What is responsive web design?

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an emerging concept in modern web design & development. I am a big fan of visiting and making responsive websites and I am delighted that ‘responsive’ is becoming a buzzword amongst business owners – but – many people still ask – what is responsive web design? Here’s a quick overview of RWD for business owners. 

What is it?

My definition: responsive web design is a website that automatically adjusts its content and layout when viewed on different-sized screens.

Responsive web design shown on iMac, iPad and iPhone

A responsive website shown on mobile, desktop and tablet


My elevator pitch for responsive web design: You know how when you’re surfing the web on your mobile or tablet and you need to zoom in and pan around to see all the content? Well a responsive website means you don’t need to do that anymore – the website’s content and layout will adjust for the screen you’re viewing it on, making it easy for you to view and get the info you need quickly. 

Business benefits

Having your website built as responsive is a step in the right direction for ensuring that your clients are happily viewing your website on any device. Its about making your visitor’s experience more enjoyable – because – if they like your website, there’s a good chance they will stick around and perhaps even respond to your call to action.

Building your site RWD is also very cost-effective – no need to build (and maintain!) a separate, mobile website. 

How does it work?

The magic happens behind the scenes in the website’s stylesheet code, so your web designer needs to be savvy with this. The stylesheet will recognise the visitor’s screen size and present the website accordingly. The best part is that all the features of the desktop website will still be there, they’ll just be arranged differently on small screens for an optimal viewing experience. 

Should I make my site responsive?

If you are building a brand new website, I would say, yes, make your website responsive. With the rapid growth of mobile browsing it’s a big no-no to ignore the mobile aspect when designing your new website. If you already have a website, check its mobile-friendliness and perhaps talk to your web developer about converting it to responsive when you next redesign your website. 


I’ll be blogging more about responsive web design in upcoming posts. What do you know about RWD? Do you have any questions about it?

Written by Ally Minatsis

Ally Minatsis, Sydney web designer, loves seeing businesses succeed online. When she's not designing or coding a new website, she is happy to be bossed around by her two children.

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