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Gone are the days when user interfaces were only designed for desktops or the web. Today, we have multiple different devices such as mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc. with ever-changing display sizes. If we believe in the current trends, then foldable devices will govern the future of interface designs.
Responsive designs likely be the future of user interface designs going forward. Since we are unable to keep up with the endless new resolutions and devices, we are going to see a new era of UI/UX designs for the web. Creating separate versions of the web apps for different screen resolutions or devices would be impractical.
Thus, responsive web design is a great fit for those web app owners that want to gain visitors from all devices with different resolutions and screen types without losing their essence. So, let’s learn more about the new era of responsive web design, but first let’s understand what responsive web design is.
Responsive web design is a design approach of web applications that should respond to users’ behavior based on screen size, orientation, or resolution. The responsive design consists of the use of flexible layouts, images, and intelligent use of CSS.
Such designs shift flawlessly from one device to another to accommodate resolutions, images, and others as per user behaviour and preferences. This design approach would eliminate the need to design user interfaces and user experiences for different devices available in the market.
Before such types of designs were made available, interface designs were crafted in single-view screens that consisted of most likely 640*480. Most of the web was built either in Flash or in HTML. But as technology evolved and the smartphone revolution came, we went through the first fundamental shift towards responsive web design.
The release of CSS3 enabled designers to gain access to media queries and soon after that the term “Responsive Design” was coined by Ethan Marcotte by the end of 2009. For over a decade now, we have been building web designs and layouts using the Responsive Web Design approach that adapts to different screen sizes.
The advent of a new era of responsive web design is one of the most important advances in the world of UI/UX design. The emphasis on creating digital experiences that are more intuitive, captivating, and interactive defines this new era.
The significance of diversity and accessibility is emphasized in this new era of flexible web design. Website accessibility for those with disabilities, such as those who have vision impairments or mobility challenges, is a growing concern among designers.
The goal of responsive web design in the modern day is to develop web experiences that are user-friendly on any device or screen size. Designers may produce websites that are not only functional but also interesting to use by focusing on dynamic layouts, animation, micro-interactions, and accessibility.
In order to ensure that all users can access and use the website, inclusivity, and accessibility are also important considerations. Websites are becoming increasingly personalised and customised for specific users with the use of cutting-edge technologies like AI and voice interfaces.
Primary attention is also given to performance optimisation and quick loading times, which make it possible for consumers to access and utilise the website effectively. Overall, the goal of UI/UX responsive web design in this new era is to give users the greatest experience possible, regardless of where they are or what device they are using.
Using dynamic layouts that change according to multiple screen sizes and orientations is a crucial component of this new era of responsive web design. To do this, fluid elements and flexible grids that can change their size and placement according to the user's device and screen resolution are used.
Today, responsive designs have become synonymous with pages that quickly adapt to the browser, screen size, and any other limitations that are projected onto the layout. But what comes next?
Currently, responsive web designs are based on components, and very soon they’d become outdated, the same as using tables for layouts. It is known that these solutions are powerful yet they are based on the one-size-fits-all and lack finesse. They cannot respond to user needs and inject responsive styles into components.
Components here can be referred to as elements on the page that consists of a collection of other such elements. These components are then sawed together to make the entire page of the web apps. Components-based designs still can’t completely control their styles which makes designs even more difficult.
But worry not. As the CSS is evolving so does the whole responsive design ecosystem. It is changing pretty rapidly and a new era of responsive designs can be seen on the horizon.
Preference-based media queries are making their way into responsive design and making the web more interactive for users. They enable designers to style and tailor web experiences to users’ needs and behavior. Further, they’d allow web designers to design adaptive UI/UX designs that are specific to a specific user’s needs.
Preference-based media queries such as @prefers-reduced-motion, @prefers-contrast, @prefers-reduced-transparency, @prefers-color-scheme, @inverted-colors, etc. would enable designers to create a more personalized and robust web experience.
They cater to specific needs, especially accessibility ones, and even adapt to any settings a user might have set in their system. Suppose a user prefers a reduced motion, they would appreciate it if the designs are not super motion heavy for them and at the same time offers an enhanced motion experience to other users.
Container Queries are one of the most interesting areas of design in CSS. Also known as element queries, they are a bit hard to understand as to what shift they will bring from page-based design to container-based design. Also, how it would evolve the design ecosystem is still unknown.
Still, it’s better to understand where this new era of responsive design is making a shift and evolving. Container queries allow setting rules and make components more self-contained that are aligned to modern systems. They would become truly plug-and-play modules and can be moved to any page or layout without giving a thought to their new environment.
This is a more dynamic approach that is concerned with how we plan, design, and build specific components for responsive design.
Screen form factors have taken a shift and expanded from a single screen to foldable and dual screens. There comes a need for media queries for scenarios as I mentioned. It still needs much work and has to deal with all the intricacies even for the future screen form factors that might evolve.
Media queries would allow contents to be changed as per the screen-spanning or any other new environment such as foldable screens.
There are still many new concepts and prototypes under the pipeline that may get introduced as we proceed further into the future. Container queries will be so important going forward to explore the new UI/UX design era beyond just the flat screens. This new era of responsive web design is here to stay for good.
Have a UI/UX design project? Ashutec Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is an experienced and adept team of developers and designers that offers impeccable software and product development services. Our designers are specialized in designing pixel-perfect, sleek, and scalable UI/UX designs for web and mobile. Contact us or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for discussing your UI/UX design project in detail with experts.