7 Basic principles of responsive web design

7 Basic principles of responsive web design

In web design, we’re always looking for new and better ways to increase the user experience on any device. One of the hottest topics in web design and development is responsive web design (RWD), a technique that allows us to create websites that automatically alter their layout depending on what type of device they’re being viewed on.

Web design is a complex process, with many steps to take into consideration before even starting such as the type of site you’re building, your target audience and their needs, what features you want to include on your site, how much time you have to build the site, marketing considerations, etc.

At its core though, there are only a few principles which govern the success or failure of any web design project. This article will outline 7 principles for designing a responsive website so you can get started on the right foot.

Table of Contents

1. Color

In web design, color can be used to create a mood. For example, cool colors like blues and greens are associated with tranquility, while warm colors like reds and oranges are for energetic environments. Combining blues and oranges might be appropriate for an underwater scene with a shark! The color scheme also interacts with the layout. A bright red might work well on large blocks of text, but it would not work as well on small blocks of text or photo captions.

2. Contrast

A big part of responsive web design is contrast. Too little contrast, and mobile screens can be difficult to read with small text, this means that you should try to make text and background colors different enough. Contrast helps make text more readable, assists the following of links, and makes the search box stand out against the background.

3. Usability

It’s important to be able to use a website, no matter what device it is being accessed from. Websites should be designed so that users can easily interact with them using their mouse, keyboard, or touch screen. Websites should also be flexible so that they can accommodate different devices in the same way and still provide the same information.

4. Simplicity

One of the basic principles of responsive web design is simplicity. The simplest way to create a responsive site is to start with a flexible grid system based on columns and rows. The number of columns will depend on the screen size, though at least two or three should be used for clarity. You can also adjust the spacing between columns, add gutters (vertical and horizontal space), and even add empty columns when necessary to help viewers see content quickly without scrolling.

5. Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a photography principle that states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts. The four points where the gridlines intersect are called “power points.” Important compositional elements should be placed at these power points.

6. Web copy

One important thing to keep in mind with web copy is that the content should be friendly and conversational. This means that the tone should match what people talk to one another in person. Short sentences, personal pronouns, and contractions are all used. The language also features more active verbs than passive ones, which makes it easier for visitors to understand.The goal of a responsive design is to improve user experience after all.

7. Navigation

Navigation is a critical part of any website. The goal of a responsive web design is to ensure that the navigation remains consistent, regardless of what device is being used. There are many ways to create navigation that will work with responsive web design. One option is to use a hamburger button that expands the site’s menu when clicked on. Another option would be to use a menu bar at the top or bottom of the site that can slide in and out based on which direction the user scrolls up or down on their device. Having navigation that works for every device will help make sure that your website can stay relevant for years to come.


A responsive web design is a design that is able to respond to the environment in which it is being viewed. It takes the shape of the screen that it is being viewed on, and changes its layout accordingly. Responsive web design is a must-have for any business, no matter how small or large they are. This article has discussed the 7 basic principles of responsive web design you can apply as a web designer on your next project.