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Understanding responsive design

In this article, we introduce the concept of responsive design, and the impact of this on designs such as BBC iPlayer.
A variety of digital devices.

As devices have multiplied exponentially over the last decade, the toolkit for the web developer has had to adapt to meet changing requirements.

As a result, responsive web design has become an extremely important aspect of web design processes. During the early years of the internet, websites were predominantly viewed on a desktop computer in school, the local library or your home. With the proliferation of mobile devices, made extremely popular by the first iPhone and iPad, websites are now viewed on thousands of different devices of varying dimensions. Just think about the devices you use in your daily life, and the many brands that make those devices.

So how do designers and developers ensure that the website you are looking at is fully accessible and easy to use across all those different screens? The answer is that as web development has progressed and the coding languages have become more robust, developers have developed features in the core web development languages that automatically detect your viewing device and dimensions. These core web development languages are:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • Javascript

In order to begin developing a responsive website, you need to become familiar with these languages.

In the next step, you’ll meet Marcus Ophir, a digital media developer and accessibility specialist. Later this week, you’ll be analysing an interface and critiquing the accessibility features which have been included. To help you get started thinking about design, he’ll introduce you to a great resource for tutorials and exercises called ‘’.

Have your say

We’ve just learned about responsive web design and some of the languages used in web development.
  • What would be some consequences of ignoring responsive web development in the design process?
  • How do you think this would affect the user’s experience?
Share your examples in the Comments below.
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Introduction to UX and Accessible Design

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