Web Dev 101: The Missing Pieces of Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is a challenging beast. It requires skills across numerous disciplines and an ability to see things from the user’s point of view. In this article, you’ll learn about responsive web design and why it’s so challenging.

See also our follow-up post on making responsive design accessible to users with disabilities. We live in a world where smartphones, tablets, and other devices are used to access the Internet at any time and anywhere. As such, website designers have had to find ways to make sites more accommodating to different types of screens and resolutions. This has led to the emergence of responsive web design as a new trend in the field of website creation and optimization.

What is Responsive Web Design?

If we want to understand what responsive web design is, then we must first understand what web design is. Web design is the practice of creating websites. Only recently has it branched out to include designing for multiple devices, such as mobile phones and computers. In the past, desktop computers were the only devices that people used to access the internet.

However, in the past decade or so, smartphones and other devices have grown in popularity and usage. Web designers couldn’t ignore this reality. So, they came up with a way to create websites that respond to the device they’re being accessed on. This is the practice of responsive web design. In a nutshell, responsive web design is a method of designing websites to adapt to different devices like smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers.

It allows a single website to be accessible and usable on any device, regardless of how big or small the screen is.

Why is Responsive Web Design So Challenging?

The main reason why responsive web design is so challenging is that it involves more than just web design. It requires web designers to pay attention to the user experience from beginning to end, regardless of how they access the website. This means that, in addition to designing attractive graphics for the website, designers must also consider how easy it is for people to navigate the site. They must also keep in mind how easy it is for people to find the information they’re looking for and how simple it is for them to complete a desired action, like making a purchase. Beyond that, responsive web design requires that designers not only consider the visual appeal of a site, but also its usability. They have to make sure that a site’s layout makes sense regardless of the device being used to access it.

Responsive Web Design Basics


Breakpoints are the points in a site’s code where a responsive website will switch from one layout to another. Designers choose the breakpoints according to the devices they’re designing for.

Media Queries

A query is a simple line of code that allows designers to tell a website’s code to do something when a certain condition is met. For websites that are responsive, these conditional statements revolve around the screen resolution.

Fluid Grid

This is the grid system that’s used in responsive web design. It allows designers to change the layout of a site’s pages, columns, and other elements based on the device it’s being accessed on.

Device agnostic

The goal of responsive web design is to create websites that are device agnostic. This means that they’re designed in a way that doesn’t take the device into consideration. Instead, they’re created in a way that’s independent of devices.

Key Strategies for Implementing Responsive Design

Start with a Strategy

Before you even begin to design, you should have a strategy in place. This shouldn’t just apply to the design of your site. You should have a strategy for designing the user experience as well. This includes making sure that everything is easy to find and that nothing is buried in a place where the user can’t find it.


You must prioritize certain elements over others. You can’t put everything on an equal footing because you don’t have the room for it. Instead, you must make decisions about what’s most important and what should get the bulk of your attention.

Consider the User

One of the main things that you have to consider when you’re building a responsive web design is the user. You must be able to think from the user’s point of view. You must be able to ask yourself, “What does the user want? What does the user need?”

Simplicity is Key

The most important thing to remember is that simplicity is key. You have little room to work with when building a responsive web design. Everything has to be simple and straightforward. You can’t add anything extra or unnecessary. You can’t put anything in a place that doesn’t need to be there.


The key to a successful responsive web design is simplicity. You must start with a simple design and make sure you keep things as straightforward as possible throughout the entire design and implementation process. If you make building a responsive design sound easy, you’re probably not doing it right. That being said, responsive web design is a valuable skill that every modern designer should possess. It’s indispensable for designers to keep up with trends in their field and design for the modern user.


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