Responsive Web Design is another one of those ideas that has taken the web community by storm. Responsive Web Design, a.k.a.RWD, is a set of techniques that allows a web site to present content well to all are almost all users nor matter what sort of device they use. There has long been a problem associated with making a website that is usable by both a desktop computer with a high resolution monitor and a smart phone with a very smallscreen.
Perhaps you recall the days when sites had a disclaimer on the that went like: ‘This site is best viewed with X browser‘ and how annoying it was if you used some other browser. There was a time when 80% of website visits came from one or two browsers. That is not the case now and has not been for some time. Today, it is unacceptable to NOT support the most common browsers, even though it can be expensive and time consuming to test a website design across a large cross section of browsers.
There are many common browsers today operating on a lot of different devices. According to Yahoo’s Graded Browser Support pages, “There are over 10,000 browser brands, versions, and configurations and that number is growing.” Savy large scale web operation test their sites to insure that they support the most common browsers, but I haven’t heard of anyone who tries to support an exhaustive list of all or even nearly all browser.
Progressive Enhancement (PE) involves a particular sequence of design. First the basic markup, geared to the lowest common denominators of browsers, is applied to the content, then ehnhancements available in common, widely used browsers, are externally linked into the page. The external linkage means that enhancements that are not used on a page are not downloaded and that makes the page load quicker.
I’ve been experimenting with the Skeleton WordPress theme in order to implement RWD on this site.