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By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, July 24, 2014

Create Responsive Featured Images in WordPress

Create Responsive Featured Images in WordPress

Responsive layouts have become commonplace in today’s web experiences, but the current HTML <img> element still has a fundamental flaw when used with responsive designs: It assumes uniformity in the screens it’s displayed upon, a uniformity that doesn’t exist in today’s mobile-saturated world.

Consider an image on a web page from the viewer’s perspective. Although it appears to be part of the page, it’s actually a replaced element: The code of the page cuts a hole in the page big enough to contain the image, and then retrieves it from its remote location to fill that hole. In some cases the hole has a specified width and height; in others the hole is built to be flexible and scale to a percentage, or proportion, of the screen size.

By Chris Converse | Friday, May 09, 2014

Creating Responsive Images and Media

figure_1_percent_sizing

As mobile and tablet Internet usage continues to grow, responsive web design becomes more and more important. Some reports suggest that mobile Internet usage may actually surpass desktop usage this year. For any website not taking advantage of responsive design, this means a loss of traffic and fewer conversions.

When creating a responsive website, it’s especially important to know the best practices for images and media. In this article, we’ll talk about bitmap-based web graphics, including JPG, GIF, and PNG, as well as video.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Planning a Responsive Web Design

figure_2_alternate_content

As mobile web usage continues to rise, it’s increasingly important that your website functions across all types of devices and screen sizes. The smartest way to provide the best user experience (UX) for today’s technology is to create a website with a responsive design.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is Email Ready for Video?

Embedding video responsibly

Explore this course at lynda.com.

With so many people now reading email on mobile devices that support the HTML5 standard, it’s becoming easier and easier to incorporate video into emails. Even better: Mobile and desktop email clients that don’t support HTML5 video will fall back to a user-friendly, clickable link, so no one is left out.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Using High-Definition (Retina) Graphics with CSS

Responsive web design techniques aren’t just for changing the layout and composition of your web designs; they can also optimize your project’s imagery for high-resolution screens. CSS3 media queries include properties for detecting the pixel ratio of a device’s screen—and when the pixel density value is two or greater, we know the device has a high-density display, and can use high-definition graphics.

Standard definition graphics can appear soft or blurry

Standard definition graphics can appear soft or blurry when viewed on a high-density display.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Creating a Responsive Web Experience

Simply rearranging your web design across screen sizes isn’t enough to assure a smooth, natural experience for all the devices that will view it. In order to truly optimize the user experience, we must alter the content and behavior as well. This means loading alternate HTML content, suppressing animations, and collapsing navigation for small screens.

FIgure 1Navigation on small screens is collapsed into a single button, which expands into the global navigation when clicked or tapped, providing an optimal experience for small screens.

In this course, we’ll explore altering the user experience based on screen size. This approach will allow us to increase the user experience and download speed for larger screens, while delivering smaller-sized files and targeted experiences for smaller screens. Learn how to combine jQuery with your HTML and CSS to alter experiences across screen sizes.

By Chris Converse | Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Creating a responsive HTML email design

Over 40% of email is read on mobile devices.

Many online sources claim that over 40 percent of email is now read on a mobile device. The email you design for your customers has nearly a one-in-two chance of being read on a smartphone or tablet.

Now the real question: Will it be a good reading experience?

By Chris Converse | Monday, November 19, 2012

Responsive download, not just responsive design

When considering a responsive design for a website, many web designers and developers only consider the layout. While it is key to ensure the layout and composition make use of the user’s screen size, the download time should also be considered as part of the user experience.

To really understand the concept of designing for responsive download, we first need to take into account that CSS can be used to add imagery to HTML elements of webpages. From there it becomes more apparent that CSS3 media queries can be used to alter imagery, as well as layout, based on a user’s screen size.

With this in mind, the <header> is one HTML5 element to focus on when planning a web layout. Typically the header area of a website is used for corporate branding, navigation, and imagery that sets the tone of the design. When creating a responsive web design, three or more sets of CSS rules will need to be specified based on the user’s screen size. These CSS rules will then in turn make adjustments to the sizing- and layout-based properties of the header elements based on available screen real estate. If we use CSS to specify imagery to be used in the header area, we can also drive more of the design tone with CSS.

Example of CSS driven imagery

Now, with CSS driving the imagery for the header element, combining CSS3 media queries with image assignments allows the imagery to adjust based on screen size. This allows designers to use larger, less compressed images for larger screens, while smaller screens reference smaller, more compressed images.

The ability to call on CSS referenced images that have varying dimensions and compression settings results in reduced download sizes and times for devices with smaller screens. This means the same HTML and CSS files will call on files for small- and large-screen devices, but the files called on for small-screen devices will be up to one-fifth the size of those called on for large-screen devices.

Three different images sizes created for a responsive web design with responsive download

This technique can be used in many elements of a responsive website, including photography galleries, graphics and diagrams, and even navigation or promotional elements. The amount of compression you apply to smaller images can be greater due to the higher pixel density of modern tablet and phone screens. That being said, compression versus quality has always been a trade-off on the web, so experiment with settings that will decrease file size while still maintaining the integrity of the original image. Also, make sure to always test your work on multiple devices if you get the chance.

If you’re interested in learning more about responsive web design in the lynda.com library, consider checking out Creating a Responsive Web Design from Chris Converse, or Responsive Design Fundamentals from James Williamson.

Interested in more? • All web design courses on lynda.com • All courses from Chris Converse on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• CSS: Core ConceptsCSS3 First LookHTML Essential Training

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