Today’s empowered consumers want lots of choices. It’s not just about the freedom of where the customers buy, but how they want to be serviced and how they want to be sold at anytime, anywhere using different outlets as well as different devices. A huge trend in 2013 will be that most ecommerce retailers will be using responsive web design.

Essentially, responsive web design indicates that a website is crafted to use CSS3 media. This is the extension of the @media rule and is a construct that allows style sheet rules for various media in the same style sheet with fluid proportion-based grids to adapt the layout to the viewing environment. As a result, users across a broad range of devices and browsers will have access to a single source of content, laid out so as to be easy to read and navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.

Because there’s so many different browsers, so many different computers, so many different resolutions and now with the problems of different mobile devices; you’ve got your Apple, the smart phone has a certain form factor. Apple is coming out with a mini device which is a smaller 6-inch screen. There’s just a plethora of screens that customers are interacting with, so it becomes an insurmountable challenge for web designers and developers to create applications that will perform well in all these different environments. So in very simple terms, photos and text will now snap into place even if they are too large for the device or page.

Either you are over-serving or under-serving content; it’s never just right. The premise of the web designer is to take the same code and apply it to different style sheets. This allows you to basically transform the same exact content to suit a particular device resolution by applying a certain style sheet.

You’re still running the same code; you’re simply manipulating the application at the interface or UI layer. So, you don’t have to re-code. That is much easier and a lot faster and quicker to accomplish. That has a huge payoff in terms of usability, in terms of interactivity, time spent on sites, and customer satisfaction in general.

You can’t consume the same amount of content on a smart phone as you can consume on a 24-inch desktop monitor. That’s the whole premise of the responsive web design. There’s a lot of intelligence that goes behind it. It gives a lot of power to the designers, the UI specialist and the user experience people without having to veto every new device or resolution you wish to support.

Because of the adoption of so many more mobile devices, responsive web design will continue throughout 2012 and 2013 will be the year of responsive websites. Many web designers and developers are currently moving to the use of fluid layouts instead fixed width, and media queries are finding their way into many style sheets – allowing sites to easily be viewed across multiple screens sizes and devices.