It’s been quite some time since the term ‘Responsive design’ has spread like wild fire in the web development industry. However, there are and will always be beginners who will come face to face with this word for the first time, and might find themselves confused. But once they find themselves reading this post, they’ll understand what the term ‘Responsive design’ means in the web development industry, and how they can create a responsive website via PSD to HTML conversion.
First of all let’s define the word ‘Responsive design’. The term refers to a web design that’s made keeping different screen sizes that are capable of displaying a website like, Smartphones and Personal Computers. Once it is transformed into a complete website, it adapts to the screen size of the device being used to display it, and resizes all of its existing elements accordingly. For example; if you take a look at W3C’s official website W3.Org on any Smartphone, iPad, or a tablet. It will adapt to the screen size of your device automatically. However, to analyze this adaptation behavior on web browser, you have to resize it by making it thinner and wider.
Why Go Responsive
In today’s time when work schedules are becoming more and more hectic, people don’t find time to go on shopping sprees, but still everyone has to shop for groceries, clothes, go out for movies, vacations, and pay utility bills. That’s where Internet has become useful and more powerful than ever, as you can do all these things within a few clicks from your PC. However, things have started to change, as people have become inclined to internet and access it on the go via Smartphones, iPad, Laptop and Tablets.
But there are websites that don’t work on Smartphones, iPad and Tablets exactly the same way as they do on a Desktop PC or Laptop. That’s because they all vary in screen sizes and normal websites aren’t made to adapt to their screen resolution. A few years ago, to counter this problem, companies started to get specific websites designed for Smartphones and tablets. For example; Google.com has a specific version for mobile phones, which can be easily downloaded on Android phones and tablets via Google Mobile. However, if you make a responsive web design then you don’t need to have a separate device specific version of your website/blog.
Ways to go Responsive from PSD files
Making responsive sites can be tricky and time consuming and you’ll only get the expertise with time and the complexity of projects that you work on. But there are certain things that you have to be aware of before trying your hands at Responsive Websites, namely; HTML 5, CSS 3, and Responsive Grids and Frameworks that can turn responsive web designing into an easy task by saving your time.
HTML 5: What You Need to Know?
HTML 5 is the latest HTML standard approved by W3C, in which some new elements and attributes have been introduced for the first time ever, and some earlier ones have been removed. However, it is still in-progress and very soon HTML 5.1 will be out, as its Editor’s draft is already out. Creating an HTML 5 doctype is the easiest thing ever introduced by the W3C, and it is; <! DOCTYPE html>.
There are plenty of interesting features that are launched with HTML 5 and out of them some of the widely used are;
- The <canvas> element, which is used for 2D drawing purposes.
- The <video> and <audio> elements that can be used for providing non-flash based media playback using the H.264, OGG and WebM video formats.
- Support for local storage.
- Content-specific elements like; <section>, <header>, <nav>, <footer>, and <article> have also been introduced in HTML 5.
In addition to this, with HTML 5 you can also make exciting apps and games for platforms like Windows, Android, iOS, Blackberry, etc. However, if you aren’t aware of HTML 5 completely, then we would suggest you to do that before moving on to responsive design. You can learn HTML 5 for free via W3Schools.
CSS 3: It’s Different and Helps in Designing Responsive Sites
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets are the best source to stylize websites. It also helps to reduce the web page file sizes to a great extent. However, if you want to make a responsive website, you cannot use the same old CSS2, instead, you have to use the all new CSS3 that came along with HTML5. With the birth of CSS3 came many new selectors and properties that makes websites more attractive and help improving the user interface. For example; now with CSS3 you can transform any of your elements into 3D, for which you only need to utilize the CSS3 3D Transforms.
But the most fascinating feature of CSS3 is ‘Media Queries’, which lets you make a responsive website. If you have used CSS 2 earlier then you might be aware that it introduced the support for the media=”screen”, which was used to specify which stylesheet should it use for data representation. But now with media queries, presentation has become something that can be tailored according to the screen resolution of the output devices, without changing every other element that is used to make the website. If you want to learn more about media queries, you can read about it on the official W3C Recommendation page here.
Browser Support is one of the most crucial aspects of responsive web design. That’s because not every browser supports HTML5 and CSS3 completely. However, they all are being developed continuously, and some of the existing web-browsers have now started to support a majority of CSS 3 Selectors and Properties and media queries.
Once you are done with your responsive website you must ensure that it runs smoothly on Smartphones and tablets, for which you can use a wide variety of tools that are available for testing mobile compatibility. This would help you identify whether your website is working as you want it or you still need to make certain changes in it to make it work accordingly. Moreover, if you know why it is so important to test the compatibility of your responsive website you can refer to this blog post that describes the essential of testing a responsive design in a beautiful manner.