Websites have come a long way since the early days. No more is there the need for creating animated GIFs or some flashy interesting graphics. Sites used to rely on tables to keep things aligned on the website. Tables were the way to go.. along with HTML. Add to that Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) this was the way it was done..no questions.
There were times when viewing the site on a different web browswer or platform would throw things out of whack, but that was the nature of the web. What might look great on NetScape (what's that you ask.. don't worry.. it's gone thank goodness) might be totally out of whack when viewed on Explorer.
Today, the availability of Content Management System web software such as Joomla and Drupal, it has been easier to create a website and be assured that it will look the same from one platform to another (PC vs Mac) and one browser to another (Firefox vs Safari). The bases is similar, working on a grid system. This ensures that it will look the same no matter what platform it's viewed on. But what about when you look at the website on say a mobile device such as an iPad? It's smaller and functions a bit differently than a computer. Ths is where Responsive design comes in.
Responsive web design allow for several things:
|1) Website as seen from a standard desktop computer (click to view larger image)|
|2) When a website is opened on a standard desktop computer and the browser window is narrowed by the user, the website content adjusts accordingly, shifting, shrinking or moving content to accommodate the browser viewing area.|
|3) When a viewer uses their mobile device to view the website it automatically adjusts to fit the device they are using. The menu changes to accommodate the device.|
Back before the popularity of mobile devices there was not much concern for auto responsiveness. A website may have just used tables for layout (as awful as that might sound). But today the world is very mobile and the need to have things readily available on our mobile devices is increasing everyday.
Now if only we can get rid of that pesky Internet Explorer!