The use of mobile devices to surf the web is growing at an astronomical pace, but unfortunately a lot of websites are not optimized for these mobile devices. Mobile devices can often be limited by display size and therefor require a different approach to how the website content is laid out on screen.
Responsive Web design is an approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based, platform and orientation and device screen size needs to be taken into account. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS. As the user switches from their laptop to tablet / phone or even their desktop computer, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should automatically respond to the user’s preferences. thus eliminating the need for a different design and development phase for each new devise or screen size on the market.
One main common problem often found is the website menus, using a Responsive web design can change the menus from being mouse clickable in a desktop environment to finger selectable on the tablet or mobile phone.
Another area is bandwidth: where users are often viewing websites on limited download quotas / bandwidth so having images downscale or not show at all could be advantageous