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A simple guide to responsive design.
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README.md

Grid is a great learning tool but no longer supported. Learn why.

Grid

A simple guide to responsive design.
www.adamkaplan.me/grid

Why bother with responsive?

We want our websites to be useable on all devices by responding to the user’s behavior, screen size and screen orientation.

A Fragmented World

As of 2013, there are thousands of different devices and screen sizes that browse the internet, so it's impossible to design layouts to target them all. Instead, we must take a more fluid approach to design.

Mobile First

The term “mobile first” gets thrown around a lot lately. What it really means is to start with mobile styles and layer on styles optimized for larger screens only as needed. In other words, your mobile styles become the default and you no longer have to override them later. It’s much simpler!

By assuming a flexible but simple layout by default, you can better guard against browsers—with viewports wide and small—that aren’t quite capable of the full responsive layout. So when we’re talking about layout, “mobile first” really means “progressive enhancement.” —Ethan Marcotte

Min-width Media Queries

Introduce layout-specific rules only when you need them. Use min-width to layer complexity on your layout as the viewport widens. It’s easier to have all the media queries nearby, rather than at the end of the stylesheet or in a separate document.

/* Small screens (default) */
html { font-size: 100%; }

/* Medium screens (640px) */
@media (min-width: 40rem) {
  html { font-size: 112%; }
}

/* Large screens (1024px) */
@media (min-width: 64rem) {
  html { font-size: 120%; }
}

Steps

1. Not All Browsers are Created Equal

Browsers will render your CSS differently. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to use a modern alternative to a reset like Normalize.css, which will render elements more consistently cross-browser. Remember to include it as-is before your stylesheet.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/normalize.css">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/grid.css">

2. Add the Viewport Meta Tag

Place in the <head> of your HTML. This enables use of media queries for cross-device layouts.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

3. Use box-sizing: border-box

Place at the top of your CSS file. The * will target all elements on the page.

*, *:before, *:after {
  -moz-box-sizing: border-box;
  -webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
  box-sizing: border-box;
}

4. Create a Container

A container holds all elements and controls the page's maximum width. Using a container will make designing for responsive easier!

.container {
  margin: 0 auto;
  max-width: 48rem;
  width: 90%;
}
<div class="container">
  <!-- Your Content -->
</div>

5. Create a Column

With mobile first, columns are block level (takes up the full width available) by default. No additional styles needed!

<div class="container">
  <div class="column">
    <!-- Your Content -->
  </div>
</div>

6. Create Column Sizes

On larger screens, columns gain float: left in order to stack content horizontally. Columns now use padding for gutters, so you no longer need to worry about removing margins.

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
  </div>
</div>
@media (min-width: 40rem) {
  .column {
    float: left;
    padding-left: 1rem;
    padding-right: 1rem;
  }

  .column.full { width: 100%; }
  .column.two-thirds { width: 66.7%; }
  .column.half { width: 50%; }
  .column.third { width: 33.3%; }
  .column.fourth { width: 25%; }
  .column.flow-opposite { float: right; }
}

7. Create Rows

Columns are wrapped in rows to prevent other elements from stacking next to them, otherwise know as clearing issues. Rows are cleared using the popular clearfix, which was created by Nicolas Gallagher.

<div class="container">
  <div class="row clearfix">
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
  </div>

  <div class="row clearfix">
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
  </div>
</div>
.clearfix:before,
.clearfix:after {
  content: " ";
  display: table;
}

.clearfix:after {
  clear: both;
}

.clearfix {
  *zoom: 1;
}

Flow Opposite

Add the class .flow-opposite to columns where you want content to display first on mobile but appear on the right on larger screens.

<div class="container">
  <div class="row clearfix">
    <div class="column half flow-opposite">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
    <div class="column half">
      <!-- Your Content -->
    </div>
  </div>
</div>
@media (min-width: 40rem) {
  .column.flow-opposite { float: right; }
}

Further Reading

References

Translations

Translations are maintained by their creators and may not always be up to date with the original here. Have a translation you'd like to link to? Open a pull request to add it here. Be sure to keep it alphabetical.

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