Grok all the things

grok (v): to understand (something) intuitively.

Responsive Design

👶  Children (ELI5)

Hello there, young explorers! Are you ready to embark on a thrilling journey into the fantastical realm of responsive design? I can tell that you're excited, and I am too! So grab your adventurer's hat, and let's dive in.

Responsive design is like a magic trick for websites and apps. It makes them look great on all sorts of devices, both big and small! Think about looking at a website on your parent's smartphone and then on a tablet or even a desktop computer - it adjusts and fits perfectly in each case!

Grokking responsive design might sound tricky at first, but don't worry - we'll walk together through this enchanted forest of pixels, and by the end, you'll be ready to build your own magical creations!

🌳 The Forest of Flexible Layouts 🌳

The first thing we need to master in responsive design is the flexible layout. Imagine you're walking in a forest, and the trees change their shape and size as you pass by. That's what flexible layouts do for websites! They adjust to fit different screen sizes.

One way to create a flexible layout is by using percentages instead of fixed measurements. For example, instead of setting a width of 200 pixels for an element on your site, you could set it to be 50% of the screen width. That way, as the screen size changes, so does the width of the element!

Here's a little code sample that shows how to set a flexible width:

.container {
  width: 50%;

📏 The Ruler of Relative Units 📏

Now that we've learned about flexible layouts, it's time for us to meet the Ruler of Relative Units!

In the world of responsive design, this ruler helps us measure things like font size and spacing in a more flexible way. You see, instead of using absolute units such as pixels (px), we can use relative units like percentages (%), ems (em), or rems (rem). These units grow and shrink with the screen size, making your content always look good.

Here's a piece of code to show how to set font size using relative units:

body {
  font-size: 1.2rem;

h1 {
  font-size: 2em;

🌉 The Bridges of Media Queries 🌉

It's time to cross the magical bridges known as media queries! Media queries are like gatekeepers that let you apply different styles to your site or app based on specific conditions, like the screen size.

For example, you might want to change the font size or the number of columns on your site when it's viewed on a smartphone versus a tablet or desktop computer. Media queries make this possible!

Here's an example of how to use a media query in your code:

@media screen and (max-width: 768px) {
  .container {
    width: 100%;

  h1 {
    font-size: 1.5em;

In this example, when the screen width is less than or equal to 768 pixels (like on a tablet or smartphone), the container will take up the full width of the screen, and the h1 font size will be smaller.

🦉 The Order of Fluid Images and Videos 🦉

To truly master responsive design, we must not forget about making images and videos fluid as well. You see, just like the layout, we want the images and videos to adjust their size depending on the screen they're displayed on. That way, they'll always look great and won't cause any problems!

To make an image or video fluid, we simply need to set its width to 100% and its height to auto. Check out this little code example:

video {
  width: 100%;
  height: auto;

By using this magical incantation, our images and videos will adjust their dimensions to fit perfectly within their containers!

🔮 The Secret of Frameworks and Libraries 🔮

Did you know that there are some magical tools called frameworks and libraries that can help make responsive design even easier? They're like enchanted spells created by other web wizards, and you can use them to cast powerful responsive charms!

Some popular responsive design frameworks include Bootstrap and Foundation. They provide pre-made components and layouts that you can use in your own projects, with minimal effort. Just follow their instructions, and you'll have a responsive site in no time!

Here's an example of using the Bootstrap library to create a simple responsive grid:

<!DOCTYPE html>
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="">

  <div class="container">
    <div class="row">
      <div class="col-sm">
        One column
      <div class="col-sm">
        Another column


By simply adding the Bootstrap library and using the container, row, and col-sm classes, we can create a responsive grid that automatically adjusts as the screen size changes.

💫 The Enchantment of Mobile-First and Progressive Enhancement 💫

As we near the end of our adventure, let's take a moment to remember an important principle in responsive design: mobile-first and progressive enhancement.

This means that when we're creating magical websites and apps, we should first think about how they'll look and work on smaller devices like smartphones. Then, we can add more features and styles as the screen size grows, like a blossoming flower!

By taking this approach, we ensure that our creations are accessible to everyone, no matter what device they're using.

ğŸŽ† The Celebration of Your New Powers ğŸŽ†

And now, dear adventurers, we've reached the end of our journey through the realm of responsive design. You've learned about flexible layouts, relative units, media queries, fluid images and videos, frameworks and libraries, and the principle of mobile-first and progressive enhancement.

You are now equipped with the knowledge and power to build your own enchanted websites and apps that look amazing on all screens!

So go forth, my friends, and embrace your new powers. Create wondrous things that bring joy and wonder to the digital realm!

And always remember that with great power comes great responsibility. Use your skills wisely and make the digital world a better place for everyone! is a collection of articles on a variety of technology and programming articles assembled by James Padolsey. Enjoy! And please share! And if you feel like you can donate here so I can create more free content for you.