Understanding Responsive Web Design to Better Serve Website Visitors

Google sent designers and developers alike scrambling when it recommended using “responsive web design” in June 2012. That forced many companies to seek out mobile solutions after Google said it would eventually stop showing web pages that directed users to a different page while using a mobile device.

In other words, as the social media blog Soshable points out, Google wants people to have access to sites from any device, mobile or otherwise. Since then, “responsive web design” has been the latest buzz word in the design world, and scores of companies are trying to convert their sites to adhere to Google’s recommendations. But what does responsive web design really mean? Here’s a brief overview:

Whether you’re using responsive website templates or you’ve shelled out the cash to hire a professional designer, it’s important to gain a better understanding of the term. Soshable, for example, says many people haven’t made the distinction between what’s considered a new technology (but is not) and a new way of designing that utilizes new technologies in such a way that it allows sites to work well on any device.

Understanding responsive web design is critical for your online success

Responsive web design makes your site look good in any device

That’s where flexibility enters the picture. Layouts should adjust automatically to the different devices they’re being viewed on, from menus to images to content, according to Soshable. Remember, your site could be viewed on someone’s Android cellphone or on a 10-year-old desktop PC.

HTML5, CSS3 and Media Queries

Responsive web design comes down to three main components, according to Flaunt Responsive, a site geared toward responsive design. Those components include:

  • HTML5: This is the fifth version of HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, which is used to display content on a site. Think multimedia, offline storage and graphics support.
  • CSS3: Supports responsive layouts with special stylesheets and is the latest HTML5 implementation. What does all that mean? As Flaunt Responsive explains, CSS3 selectors are used for everything from background colors to fonts, plus you can liven up your site a little more with round corners, text shadows and animations.
  • Web Queries: Combines HTML5 and CSS3 so that web content can seamlessly appear on various screen sizes, with resolutions and width in mind. Flaunt Responsive says media queries is a core component of “responsiveness.” In other words, it allows you to create one website for every conceivable screen size. This is particularly important if you are operating or creating multiple websites.

It’s Not Just About Mobile Devices

Responsive web design isn’t just a way to ensure that one menu item on your favorite site still appears when viewing it on your smartphone. Think of it like building a highway. When you’re undergoing a massive construction project like that, smart developers will build it with the future in mind. In other words, the highway will likely need to support far more traffic in five, 10 and 20 years from now than it does now.

The same can be said of responsive design. According to ThinkHandy, a digital marketing agency, responsive design needs to have the future in mind. Easy navigation, flexibility and grid-based layouts are all keys to responsive design, the agency says, adding that it has created a fundamental shift in the way sites are – or should be – designed.

Consequences of Not Having Responsive Web Design

Dropping from Google search listing will obviously affect your traffic numbers, but there are far more immediate concerns. Number of people using mobile devices to browse the web have increased significantly, making it critical that your website looks good in any device. Most sites have witnessed considerable increase in sales after they switched to a responsive design. So start working on it right now or you could be losing thousands of dollars in the process.


Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

Get started here
Download our all-new E-book for tips on 25 powerful Business Diagrams today!



Software engineer turned tech evangelist. I handle marketing stuff here at Creately including writing blog posts and handling social media accounts. In my spare time, I love to read and travel.


  1. Adam Jackson

    Awesome Article, Responsive website is must at present date. First it is google ranking factor. second a responsive website give a awesome user a experience . Which ultimately leads to online success.Today, most people use mobile devices to surf web. Mobile responsive is necessary.keep inform us

  2. Purba

    Those facts you mentioned about HTML5, CSS3 is unknown for me and I appreciate your effort and glad you shared this here.

  3. Rajib Hasan

    If you’re curious about using the newest website technology to push your company in the market, you will need to think about a dynamic & responsive website

  4. ruchi sharma

    Awesome Article, Responsive website is must at present date. First it is google ranking factor. second a responsive website give a awesome user a experience . Which ultimately leads to online success.

  5. shane

    This what i searching for, already got it, with your suggest/tips about responsive design..everything get perfectly, and more functionable and more get benefit..,thanks for sharing admin, keep inform us

  6. Keith

    Great article, responsive website design is a must nowadays. Especially with Google taking more notice of the mobile site. If your site is not responsive you will find it hard to show well in search rankings.

  7. Ian Lawson

    You’re definitely right about the purpose of responsive design. It’s not just about keeping your search rankings. It’s about user experience. With the increase in use of mobile devices to access the web, who would possibly want their site to function poorly? In the end, optimize for your visitors, not for Google.

  8. Kathlene Rushing

    Thank you for this great article about responsive web design. There is a lot of confusion about responsive mobile sites and mobile sites. Thank you for your clarification of what a responsive website does.

  9. Dave sampson

    Hi Nishadha,

    Exactly, We need to understand responsive web design very deeply. Responsive design plays major role in recent years because most users access the website from tablets and IPads if our website is not responsive, the whole website structure gets distracted and increase bounce rate of the website. I share your blog post to my designer team and I hope they all find helpful. Thank you Nishadha for excellent written up! I am looking forward to reading your next post. Cheers, Dave

  10. Roshan Soni

    Yes this is very informative article about responsive or flexibility websites. It is true that if you don’t have responsive website then why any customer will come into your website for shopping or selling purpose..So if you are E-commerce service provider then your website or online business must have Responsive Websites.

  11. Aryan Sao

    The concept of the responsive web design is very important for the website development. This article is really helpful for understanding the basis of the responsive website development. Thanks for sharing this information.

  12. Allan Roger

    Today, most people use mobile devices to surf web. Mobile responsive is necessary. Actually responsive layout give you less bounce rate, conversion rates, increase visitors time, traffic, leads business and etc.

  13. Responsive design is essential for those with smaller budgets who cannot offer mobile-specific apps, and the like. Modern frameworks like Bootstrap make it very cheap to cater for different devices at a basic level.

  14. Very nicely written post. Mobile responsiveness is very easy to implement if you know css well enough! Then its just a matter of having the right classes in your html.

  15. Its inevitable indeed! I have noticed 14% decrease of bounce rate on my website when it’s made responsive..

  16. Today’s SEO is making it more difficult for sites that are not responsive to rank. The good news it, having a responsive design is as simple as under 100 bucks.

    Thanks for the information Nishadha

  17. Jaime

    Having a responsive web design is one of the most important things to consider when creating a website because it is how the users will use the site. Many visitors tend to leave websites especially if they get confused or the site is very hard to use. We all need to keep in mind to put the users first in designing a website. Thanks for sharing your post. 🙂

  18. Daniel Winsett

    Is there any negative effect of responsive for website to slow load on? If yes, then we can get rid of it?

    • The adjustments are done through CSS, so there is some extra coding which might have a slight impact on the load time. But I think the benefits outweigh the negatives.

  19. liam c

    Hello Nishadha,
    fantastic article by the way, you are spot on about mobile optimization, one of my sites suffered greatly due to the fact that it was hard to navigate and it was just putting people off, after i had a web designer check it out for me and advise me on what to change it has turned my site around! mobile web surfing is the future now with so many people having access to tablets and mobile phones!

  20. Gary

    Hi Nishadha;

    Really like the article especially the bit about smartphones;

    Think of it like building a highway. When you’re undergoing a massive construction project like that, smart developers will build it with the future in mind. In other words, the highway will likely need to support far more traffic in five, 10 and 20 years from now than it does now.

    Thanks for sharing

  21. DastokVandorat

    Thanks for your Excellent data about responsive configuration. I think this will help us to legitimately comprehend the base of responsive plan Web Design.It Really Helpful For Me In My Website Projects.

  22. Michal Smith

    According to my experience I saw lot of websites related to every subject like beauty, e-commerce, service provider, personal websites but one who focused with their goal and profits are the success web developer. For example: NEWS websites, NEWS websites are built to give information about our surroundings but have you ever noticed what they got?

  23. Autonomes Fahren

    Really Great data the time now has gotten changed in this present day innovations.

  24. Nimisha

    I totally agree with you. It really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Hafeez Ansari

    Search engine now index and rank responsive sites with better accuracy and google like responsive websites. You’ve lighten up a very important topic. Great write up. Thank you for sharing this article. Please keep it up.

  26. otto

    Wonderful Work Nidisha, I can’t agree with you enough about the importance of responsive design today, Its definetly not just about search but about people who uses smartphones.

    We are missing the jack there.

  27. Jon Armstrong

    Do you think mobile website redirects are a good option? I prefer to create a site that is truly responsive but sometimes a client will request a standalone mobile version.

    • Nishadha

      There are situations where a mobile website is a better option. You can even explore the option of providing an app rather than a mobile version website. For example if you’re a bank a web app to do transactions easily might be good thing for your customers.

  28. Tom

    Fantastic article ! We think its interesting that tables are still used in responsive HTML emails. Although tables are in most circumstances becoming less poular within website design, when it comes to e-mail marketing they are still the standard. Whats interesting is that even though we are moving into the ‘responsive design’ era, nested tables are still the industry standard for html e-mails. we run a small web design business in Bournemouth and have had to backtrack and learn tables !

  29. Prashanth

    Thanks for the information about responsive web design.

  30. Rahul Sharma

    I agree, responsive web design is a must these.
    Thanks for sharing the information.

  31. serrurier 75008

    Thank you for this article. I also think it is preferable to have a good desgin in his blog and also it must be responsive because most of the people already, there are 24h/24 connect from their phone/tablet so why not offer a consistent platform with their phone / tablet

  32. moath obiedat

    Hi Nishadha,
    It is great information about the Responsive Web Design. And if you can say which framework is better to use for Responsive design.
    Thanks for the information and keep going …!

    • Nishadha

      Hi Moath, what do you mean by which framework ? are you talking about CMS’s like WordPress and Drupal ?

  33. Matt C

    Great article. Responsive is incredibly important.

  34. Irfan Saleem

    Everyone saw that coming. Mobiles are taking place of computers and laptop so fast and it’s not a surprise that Google is literally forcing people to make responsive sites. It’s better for all of us web developers.

  35. David

    Hello Nishadha,
    I have also noticed that the responsive based websites has the better traffic than the other kind of websites. It is pretty interesting stuff that you have shared in this article and I got a very valuable point for marketing as well for the responsive websites. Its a fact that every one would love it. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Nishadha

      You’re welcome David. With millions of users choosing their smartphones to access the web its no wonder mobile responsive sites gets more visitors.

  36. Rahul kumar

    very nice post…found useful information on web designing..i am searching for it since a month ago but today i found it on your blog nice information …thanks for sharing this relevant information with us

  37. Courir

    I agree with you , thank you for this informations .

  38. Eric

    Good information the time now has gotten modified in this modern technologies.

  39. Designers should have a mobile first mindset. Many people are shifting away from desktops and gravitating more towards mobile devices. Although many people will still use larger displays at work and possibly even larger at home(television). That is why I think responsive design is very important, it allows us to design for every screen size.

  40. Harrison Tsai

    Any website that is not responsive is seriously missing out on lots of high potential traffic. These days, majority of people have smart-phones, and people are now preferring web browsing via mobile devices over desktops!

  41. Luke MacDonald

    Responsive web design is a very popular web design trend of nowadays. I think to make website popular around online world a responsive website design is must. To make a good responsive design it’s also important to understand about the do’s and don’t regarding such web design platform. I think this article will be educative for newbies to learn about such fact. Thanks.

  42. lesatkan

    but responsive have negative effect for you website like a slow load.

  43. D Thomas

    Hi Nishadha, it’s always really interesting to read opinions on responsive web design as it’s something I’m researching at the moment and I found your post very informative so thanks for posting.

  44. Baskar

    Hi Nishadha,

    It is great information about the Responsive Web Design. And if you can say which framework is better to use for Responsive design.

    Thanks for the information and keep going …!

  45. Moqtadir Rakib

    Hello, Nishadha
    That was great information about responsive design. Lovesome Write up! I think this may help us to properly perceive the bottom of responsive design.
    Enjoyed reading your post. Keep writing informative and useful post like these one.


  46. Abdul Rafay

    Enjoyed this Awesome Post Really!
    I’m also a Professional Blogger and Web Designer

  47. Sahil

    Hi Nishadha,

    First of all thanks for this great post !! There is no doubt that responsive web templates are very necessary these days, and one should not ignore it. And having a mobile responsive site is also very important, because most of the users now browse Internet through their phones.

  48. CJ Holt

    A responsive site is a must nowadays. With everyone trolling the web via an iPad, iPhone, or tablet you need to make sure your personal or business can be seen on a number of devices. Thanks for the tips.

  49. Jessica78

    “Its really great job. These tips are more and more important to sale a home.
    I think these are the key terms which are need to strictly in consideration to sale our home. Thank you for sharing with us. It would be effective for all.”

  50. Matt

    Great Post. Responsive websites are imperative these days when your audience is viewing you on a number of devices.

    Modern Website Layouts: http://howtomakewebsite.ws/design-articles/boxed-vs-stretched-layout/670/

  51. Moqtadir Rakib

    Hi, Nishadha.
    Really enjoyed reading your post..We have website about web design …Keep writing informative and useful post like these one.
    We are Web Hosting provider, and our website is
    Learnt a lot .. 
    Moqtadir Rakib

  52. Shivam Mahajan

    Thanks For Your This Awesome Information About Responsive Web Design It Really Helpful For Me In My Website Projects

  53. Diane

    Thank you Nishadha for a very informative post. I agree with you about flexibility. And it is so true that layouts should adjust to different devices that the readers or visitors use.
    And Andrew I also hate websites that it takes longer to load. It is just a waste of my time.

  54. Andrew

    Hi Nishadha,
    This is great information. As a consumer, I hate waiting for webpages to load. Whether that be on my smartphone or one of my computers, web response time should be quick. If it is slower I will likely leave the page. Thanks for sharing this,

  55. Alysha

    Hello Nishadha, Thanks for your Excellent information about responsive design. I think this will help us to properly understand the base of responsive design but I don’t know can I use html4 and css old version to make a responsive design ?.

    • Kontraktor Pameran

      Thanks for sharing i like your post its my first time visit here 🙂

Leave a comment


one × five =

Back to top