How to build a responsive website from scratch
Development & Product

How to build a responsive website from scratch


A majority of the purchase decisions online happen on the mobile nowadays. Hence, responsive website design has become indispensable for creating websites that seamlessly and responsive design adapt to smaller screens on various devices, ensuring an optimal user experience.

This approach to modern responsive website design involves crafting responsive websites that dynamically adjust their browser width, layout font size and functionality. It aims to suit the specific screen sizes of desktops mobile tablets, and smartphones.

The significance of responsive web design is underscored by its ability to enhance user satisfaction and improve search engine optimisation. Additionally, it streamlines maintenance processes, emphasising the holistic benefits of this approach.

While providing a consistent and user-friendly experience across multiple devices, responsive web design boosts engagement, especially on mobile devices. It also positively influences a site’s visibility on search engine results pages. Ultimately, it drives organic traffic.

In essence, responsive web design is a fundamental practice in modern web development, addressing the challenges posed by the diverse landscape of internet-enabled devices. Its benefits extend beyond aesthetics by playing a pivotal role in user retention and search engine rankings. Cost-effective, modern responsive design in web design and maintenance makes it an essential component of a successful online presence in today’s digital era.

Understanding Responsive Web Design Principles

responsive web design

Fluid Grids and Flexible Layouts:

   – Responsive designs use relative units like percentages instead of fixed pixel values for widths and heights.

   – Fluid grids allow elements to scale proportionally, adapting to varying screen sizes.

   – Flexible layouts use relative units for spacing and positioning, ensuring seamless adjustment to different screen dimensions. 

Media Queries:

   – Media queries enable conditional styling based on device characteristics like screen width, height, or orientation.

   – They allow developers to apply specific styles or adjust the layout for optimal presentation on diverse devices.

   – Media queries play a crucial role in creating a responsive design that caters to the specifics of each user’s viewing environment.

Progressive Enhancement:

   – Involves building a solid foundation for the website and then adding advanced features or styles for devices that can support them.

   – Ensures a baseline functionality for all users, regardless of their device capabilities.

   – Focuses on starting simple and enhancing the user experience for more capable devices.

Graceful Degradation:

   – Involves starting with a fully-featured design and ensuring that the website still functions reasonably well on less capable devices or older browsers.

   – Ensures a consistent user experience across a range of devices by gracefully handling variations in technological capabilities.

   – Prioritises maintaining core functionality while gracefully adjusting for devices with limitations.

Choosing a Front-End Development Framework

Selecting the right front-end development framework is a critical decision. It plays a key role in building modern, responsive, and visually appealing web applications. Several popular frameworks, including Bootstrap and Materialize, offer pre-built components and styles. These tools are designed to expedite development.

1. Bootstrap:

Widely adopted and well-documented, making it beginner-friendly.Recognisable Bootstrap styling may lead to a somewhat generic appearance.
A vast community ensures robust support and a plethora of resources.Heavier file size compared to some other frameworks.
Responsive grid system and a rich library of components for rapid development.
Pros & Cons – Bootstrap


     – Core components include a responsive grid system and modals.

     – Emphasises mobile-first design and customisation through variables.

2. Foundation:

Highly customisable with a modular architecture.Steeper learning curve for beginners compared to Bootstrap.
Efficient and lighter in terms of file size.Smaller community than Bootstrap, but still robust.
Strong emphasis on semantic HTML and accessibility.
Pros & Cons – Foundation


     – Core components encompass a responsive grid, and a variety of UI elements.

     – Offers a Sass-based architecture for customisation and scalability.

3. Materialize:

Based on Google’s Material Design principles for a modern look and feel.Limited in terms of pre-built components compared to Bootstrap.
Easy to learn and suitable for projects with specific aesthetic requirements.Smaller community compared to more established frameworks.
Lightweight and optimised for mobile devices.
Pros & Cons – Materialize


     – Core components include a responsive grid and a variety of animated transitions.

     – Adheres closely to the Material Design language, providing a cohesive visual experience.

When choosing a front-end framework, developers should consider factors such as ease of use, and community support. They should align their choice with project requirements and personal preferences. Each framework brings its unique strengths, making it essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages to determine the best fit for a particular development scenario.

Building the HTML Structure:

In responsive web design, the foundation of creating a responsive, and accessible website lies in the use of semantic HTML markup. Semantic HTML not only defines the structure of a webpage but also conveys the meaning of each element to browsers and developers alike. This approach enhances the creation of a more responsive website, a responsive web design website that’s SEO accessibility, and overall maintenance.

HTML5 introduced a set of semantic elements that play a crucial role in structuring a responsive webpage. These include:

: Represents the header of a section or a web page, and often contains logos, navigation, and other introductory content.


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