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Definition: responsive Web design


Creating a website that renders well on smartphone screens as well as the larger screens on tablets, laptop and desktop computers. There are two solutions. The first is to switch to a separate, dedicated site upon detection of a small screen (see mobile website). The second, which is the true responsive design, is to make all the pages on the same website flexible and dynamically adjustable to the device and browser that requested them. The use of variable-sized fonts and images and multiple style sheets are basic approaches.

Responsive Means the Same Programming Skills
Whether using separate desktop and mobile websites or a single responsive website, the Web pages are coded and maintained by people with the same Web programming expertise. When a website and separate mobile apps are maintained, developers must be experienced in Web, Apple (iOS) and Android programming. This often requires more human resources because each environment is very different and barely resembles the others (see IDE). It takes a very talented programmer to be equally proficient in three coding platforms. See mobile emulator and Media Queries.




A Great Example
Both top and bottom browser renderings came from the same BitTorrent.com website and automatically conformed to the two dramatically different window widths.