What is Responsive Design?

I’m recently getting more and more requests from new clients with older websites who want them tweaking or re-designing to look better on tablets and phones. Web developers live in interesting times, if you’ve looked into your own website recently you may have come across the terms ‘HTML5′ and ‘Responsive design‘, but what do they mean?

Put simply responsive design is how a website ‘responds’ to being displayed on a phone or tablet. Once upon a time print magazines were ‘portrait’ and websites were ‘landscape’ but that’s not the case  now. There are dozens of permutations of screen sizes, resolutions  and proportions. Unlike print the modern web no longer thinks in terms of pixels, with  images and text moving around to make best use of the screen they are being displayed on. Everything is fluid, nothing is fixed. Understanding this is key to getting the best out of a web based project.