The term Responsive Design has very quickly become part of the web design conversation and as more high profile sites move from offering separate mobile and desktop sites to embracing the responsive method, it is set to redefine how sites are designed and managed.
Responsive Design was first mentioned by Ethan Marcotte writing for AListApart In considering the problem of how to design for a multitude of devices, he looked back to the foundations of web design and some key ideas that had largely been discarded in favour of fixed grids and printed page-like layouts.
Responsive Design was originally described to have three core ingredients: a fluid grid layout, flexible images and media queries. Since then the idea has been expanded to include grids that have a number of fixed sizes under a more expanded term of Adaptive Design. The core idea is the same but it generally accepted that only designers look at a site and then shrink the viewing area to see if it’s responsive and having a smooth fluid transition isn’t necessary.