What is a responsive website?

What is responsive website design and do you need it?  Responsive Web design involves designing and developing websites to provide an optimal viewing experience, easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, expanding, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices – from mobile phones, tablets to desktop computer monitors and widescreens.

Responsive Design is not the same as mobile design. Mobile design entails creating an entirely new website or web app with content specifically created for the mobile experience. Responsive Design means that the same domain, the same content, and the same syntax will respond to different devices to provide the best user experience possible for each device.

What does it entail – some examples are:

  • Optimizing images for different devices and connection speeds.
  • Changing navigational position to account for how people hold a mobile device.
  • Restyling links and buttons to be more touch friendly.
  • Ensuring elements like video or data tables resize properly rather than just hiding them.
  • Dynamically resizing fonts to work better at different screen resolutions.
  • Providing retina versions of graphics.


In the past most websites have been developed based on fixed layouts, and while a common screen width of 1024px has been considered a relatively safe size to use for websites, it doesn’t work well on small mobile screens and can lead to sites looking a little lost on larger desktop screens. The traditional method for dealing with this has been to create two separate sites, where one experience is optimized for mobile and the other for desktop – however this means that two websites have to be maintained, increasing time and cost of development and maintenance. It also ignores the growing number of devices that now sit between mobile and the desktop – such as tablets.

AlpineWeb Design uses Responsive design as a default in all of website development.  We recognized some time ago that the mobile world is only going to continue to grow and we need to be ready for it. Whether you are a restaurant, hotel, service provider, retailer etc. a large percentage of your future clients will be viewing your website on a mobile device of some sort – and you want it to be a positive experience for them – because if they become frustrated they may look for another business.