Responsive Web Design is a term that has come to be the standard in advanced web design for multiple- screens. We like to refer to the leveraging multiple screens as the “cross-screen” scenario. It is quite timely based on the massive growth in mobile web users (mobile web design movement), the lowering of cost in LCD screens ( Digital Signage movement) , the new device category of Tablets ( Tablet web site design movement) and convergence of the latest developments of adaptive web design based on HTML5/ CSS3 and JavaScript. The phrase was coined by Ethan Marcotte, unstoppable robot ninja,  became a hugh phenomena since the article published in A-List Apart in May 2010.   His book as well has received many accolades from the interactive web community.

Responsive Web Design is based on the idea that a website design and layout should “respond” to the device it’s being viewed on. This is usually accomplished by using techniques, such as:

• Adapting the layout to suit different screen sizes, from feature phones, Smart phones, tablets, laptops, widescreen desktops, to large digital signs
• Having a layout that looks great and the user-experience is optimized for any new screen size that gets introduced
• Resizing images or swap-out images to suit the screen resolution/size
• Serving up smaller, lower-bandwidth images and content to network constrained devices ( e.g. mobile devices)
• Simplifying page elements for mobile
• Providing only essential elements on smaller screens ( turning off the non-essential elements)
• Progressively enhancing elements for larger screens
• Leveraging all of the different web 2.0 widgets and frameworks to exist across any screen format

Here is an example ( an our favorites) of one of the first complex media publishers websites built completely using Responsive Web Design techniques  ( picture from (

Responsive Web Publishing is based on the concept that the content itself should “respond” to the user in the most efficient personalized matter based on his or her location, context and need at the time.   In a vivid post by Chris Palmieri he describes differences between Responsive Web Design and Publishing.  He states that essentially the mobile device is much more personal and the content delivered to it should respond to the needs of that user.   As designers leverage techniques for more advanced responsive web design practices, so will publishers looking to build out more engagement, the ‘best content’ to respond to readers needs on the go.