Responsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
RWD is a fairly new concept; Ethan Marcotte coined the term Responsive Web Design (RWD) in a May 2010 article in A List Apart.
Chatter about RWD picked up markedly during the past year, as mobile use exploded. Last month, 12% of all web site page views were on a mobile device — nearly double the percentage a year ago. Accommodating mobile devices is no longer a nice-to-have; it is fast becoming a necessity.
Last Saturday, I did what anyone in my situation would do: I Googled “how to build a responsive website” and found my way to a brief tutorial that in turn pointed me to the web site for Foundation, a free, open-source RWD framework.
Foundation’s creators, the web design agency Zurb, calls it “the most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world.” A bit much, but Zurb can be forgiven hyperbole, because Foundation is an awesome tool for building web sites.
Using Foundation with Textpattern, the most powerful and flexible open-source content management system (the new version 4.5 is a huge leap forward for an already-excellent CMS), is an unbeatable combination. Designing and building web sites has become incredibly smooth and intuitive. I am not kidding, it’s life-changing.
For my first RWD project I chose the web site for The Sharp Things, an orchestral indie pop and rock band, in which I have played guitar for more than 15 years. We’re getting ready to release a magnum opus of four albums in 2013-2014, and returning to the public eye after three-plus years in the recording studio, so it was important that our revamped web site be killer.
I am itching to do more with Foundation, Textpattern and responsive web design. I haven’t been this excited about my work since I learned HTML back in 1994! Luckily, my good friends at Dromedary Records are in urgent need of a redesign. Check back in a few weeks!