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What is Mobile Responsive in Website Design?

Last Updated

While you may have heard the term ‘mobile responsive’ being used many times nowadays in relation to websites and online browsing; what does this actually mean? Here we explain.

In short, mobile responsiveness means that your website works and performs to the best of its ability whether it is accessed through a traditional PC/laptop or a mobile device such as a smartphone/tablet. If your website were to stay the same size and retain the layout as seen when using a laptop, imagine how difficult it would be to read, navigate and use this website on a much smaller screen such as on a smartphone.

To achieve mobile responsiveness, your website must be built to work at its optimum level regardless of where it is accessed from. Read on below to discover how mobile responsiveness works. To find out further information as to why your website needs to be mobile responsive; click here.

What is a Responsive Website Design?

A responsive website design is a design whereby your website is presented to the web browser in an accessible and usable manner no matter what type of device they are viewing your website on.

To achieve this, the following points of design must be considered and actioned. Ireland Website Design are experts in website design and also at designing these websites so that they are all fully mobile responsive.


A big element of mobile technology is that many such devices utilise touch screen technology in place of the mouse and cursor usage as seen with PCs and laptops. As such, a mobile responsive website needs to be suitably reactive to touch and be able to flow and scroll as easily as if the user was scrolling using a traditional mouse wheel.
For this to happen, the mobile design is made to read the boundaries and parameters set by the device that is being used. A drop-down menu may be able to display four items on a smartphone screen. However, if the phone is held sideways and the screen shifts to landscape mode, this same menu may now be able to display five or more items instead. This is because the design is able to fluidly adapt to the constraints that each type of mobile device stipulates.


Getting into a more technical side of mobile responsiveness is how the design itself is deducted and incorporated. Many calculations are taken to ascertain the optimum height and width that certain elements (menus, images, blocks of text etc.) appear well in and are not too tight, squashed or illegible. To make the best use of the real estate space available on mobile devices; the design may need to sacrifice in some places, images of products may have to be scaled down for example, but the trade-off is that with a single tap of an image of a product – this can appear bigger and in more detail in a pop-out or overlay box. In this way, users are not greeted with a sluggish and busy interface with every single product image squabbling for room. Instead, they are given a condensed full version of events where they can single out and expand upon the points that are relevant to and of interest to them.


Taking into account the previous two points about fluidity and design, the notion of breakpoints now come into play. Breakpoints are measured instances and parameters whereby your mobile responsive website design automatically adapts to best suit the user experience particular to the device they are using. The goal of breakpoints is to channel your desktop website into each type of mobile device with a minimum loss of change to your overall website design and usability. If your desktop website is naturally quite a slender design with a streamlined layout, you may find that the website looks and performs exactly the same on a tablet with a large screen. Yet on a mobile device where screen sizes can vary wildly, breakpoints kick in to display the most optimum version of your desktop website as possible to the user. At a basic level, this works as follows. If mobile 1 has a screen size of 4 inches across and mobile 2 has a screen size of 3.5 inches across, mobile 1 can obviously display more information at once and mirror the desktop website better. Mobile 2 with its nominally lesser screen size may display a slightly more bitesize and watered-down version of the desktop website simply to make the best use of the space available.

As you can see, making a website that is mobile responsive is best left to the experts such as the website designers and developers at Ireland Website Design. Get in touch with us to discuss all of your website and mobile responsive needs and we can ensure that your website is best optimised to give you a strong online presence and competitive edge.


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