A few years ago, most web sites were designed to fit a desktop display or laptop screen. Today, millions of people use mobile devices to access the web. Web designers are learning to optimize their sites to make them readable and functional on a desktop or an iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, or Android device.
When a website resizes its content for a handheld device, it’s called “responsive” or “adaptive” design. The site should automatically detect when a visitor accesses it from a mobile phone and then display the mobile version of the page. When a website does not have a responsive design, it displays a miniature version of the entire desktop page.
Responsive web pages are just one way to address the needs of mobile users. To address multiple devices with a scalable solution, Stanford is creating responsive templates and redesigning our pages to be mobile-aware.
A mobile-aware site resizes and wraps the text rather than shrinking the page layout of the desktop version. This example is from the Stanford Mobile Aware Web Project site, shown here on a desktop and an Android device.