Responsive CSS design – Web Design Tips

For designers, the most difficult and interesting aspect of responsive web design has been the flexible nature of it. We’ve constantly in the process of trading in our tenacity for pixel perfection and embracing the web for what it really is; fluid. Today we’ll cover some steps to help you transition towards flexible web design, or as I like to call it, ‘Getting’ Flexy’.

Responsive CSS for a web site will increase a websites visitors by attracting the mobile and tablet visitors also along with the visitors who enjoy their post in desktop version.Now the number of people who are using the tablets and mobiles to browse the web are increasing. Hence a web page layout should be adaptable for all the view port of the device in which the visitor views the webpage.Some of the tips and tricks for the designers to keep in mind when they design a responsive webpages are given below. This will be a prefect resource for responsive web design tutorial in web.
responsive-css-design-tips

First, the basics

Responsive web design, as introduced has three core principles:

  • Flexible grids: percentage-based fluid columns of content.
  • Media queries: a magical tool to change your CSS based on the browser’s current state.
  • Flexible media: content such as images and video should scale with the browser’s dimensions.

You’ll notice that two of those ingredients have the phrase ‘flexible’. This is the key differentiation of responsive web design versus other web design approaches. Let’s look at how to become flexible.

Never use maximum-scale

Occasionally, in an attempt to override an orientation bug in iOS, web developers will add maximum-scale=1 to their meta name=”viewport” tag. Don’t do this. The unfortunate result is that users are unable zoom the page (using a pinch-zoom gesture). This is a bad practice and a huge accessibility concern. If you want your site to be ‘flexy’, it has to be zoom-able.

Do this: you win the internet!

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

This will inform the browser to set the window width to the device’s width without overriding any user needs. Then in your CSS, add this brand new at-rule:

/* You'll need prefixes. @-ms-viewport, @-o-viewport, etc... */
@viewport {
width: device-width;
}

This is an in-progress W3C spec written to move this viewport information over to CSS. IE10 and Opera browsers support this. Go ahead and start rolling this into production sites.

Responsive Images:

Making the height and the width of the images to auto is best for responsive webpages (should be used).

Also make sure always using a compressed image. Because images of 5mb or above are produced when captured from Digital cams. It will take time to load in mobile internet. Hence make sure you compress the image before you use it in the website.

Some of the sites found in the web

http://www.imageoptimizer.net

http://jpeg-optimizer.com/

Mobile Navigation Menu:

Navigation menu for mobile should be redesigned when the page is viewed in a smaller width.You could see how the menu is re aligned in this demo, when the width is reduced. Some responsive mobile navigation menus are available in internet.

http://webdesignerwall.com/demo/mobile-nav/

Relative Positioning Of Elements:

Every element in the html is relative to another.Thus it is much flexible when the browser width gets changed. In the this demo header and side menu positions are relative. That gives the flexibility for the menus to get aligned below the header when the width is reduced.

Relative Font Size & Usage Of Percentage:

Instead of using px for the font sizes em is used .Thus the font size reduces relatively when the font size of the header or some other html element reduces. Percentages should be used instead of px.

Example: instead of setting as 1000px , 100% or 90% should be set based on the requirement. Thus the website scales based on the width. The most common example is font-size, if you wanted to set a heading font-size (20px) based on your body font-size (10px) in em units.

Don’t use px units, use em units

The px vs em debate is a long one but em units have proven themselves useful in responsive web design. Using em units should be familiar to most web developers, but worth reviewing. An em unit is a relative unit of measurement based on the parent element.

Keep it relative: typography

Setting your type in em units enables you to use the power of CSS to build a scale-able typographic system that grows with the viewport.

body { font: 100%/1.5 serif; /* 16px */  }
h1 {  font-size: 2em; /* 32px */ }

@media (min-width: 600px) {
body { font: 112.5%; /* 18px */  }
h1 {    /* Do nothing! I'll automatically be 36px */ }
}

Based on personal experience, this will save you hours per project versus going through and updating pixel values. Also, it has an accessibility benefit when a user adjusts their font size.

Keep it relative: white-space

Additionally, using em units for padding and margin helps create a vertical base for your design. At larger screen dimensions you can insert more white-space into your design in a healthy, consistent manner without too much labour.

#hero { margin-bottom: 1em; }

@media (min-width: 600px) {
#hero { margin-bottom: 2em; }
}

Using em units will help you preserve a balanced system of relative proportions. For a more advanced approach on relative sizing,

Min-Width & Max-Width with CSS Media Queries:

Min-width and Max-width should be mentioned in the CSS along with the width.Thus imposing a constraint for the widths are better suited for scale-ability for its width.media queries should be added with the min-width or max-width as condition to display certain elements.

Media queries are so important for a responsive css design.

@media screen and (max-width:320px)
{
    .ad_bar{ display: none }
}

In the above code we are making the ads to disappear when the display device width is below 320px. By this we way we provide a better readability of the content in mobile devices.

max-width min-width
‘Desktop down’ ‘Mobile first’
Start large, dig down Start small, build up
Good for legacy sites Future friendly

Go forth and be flexy!

These are just the basics on the path towards fluid width nirvana. It’s important to remember that we’re all learning and it’s OK to make mistakes. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to take the plunge and build out your own responsive design. The day when most websites sit on a flexible frame and are universally accessible by any device is hopefully fast approaching. Help the web become a better place.

If you have any more suggestions to be added , feel free to comment below.
view demo

 

Posted by: Dhiraj kumar

Random 3D Explosions, 3D clouds – Effects with CSS 3D and jQuery

Introduction

This tutorial will try to guide you through the steps to create a 3D-like, explosions in sky or billboard-based clouds. There are a few advanced topics, mainly how 3D transformations via CSS properties work. If you want to find more information, this is a nice place to begin.

If you’re in a hurry, just check the final result.

css-3d-explosive-clouds

The tutorial is divided into sections, each with a different step to understand and follow the process, with HTML, CSS and Javascript blocks. Each step is based on the previous one, and has a link to test the code. The code in the tutorial is a simplified version of the demos, but the main differences are documented on every section.

HTML

First, we need two div elements: viewport and world. All the rest of the elements will be dynamically created.

Viewport covers the whole screen and acts as the camera plane. Since in CSS 3D Transforms there is no camera per se, think of it as a static sheet of glass through which you see a world that changes orientation relative to you. We’ll position all our world objects (or scene) inside it, and that’s what will be transformed around.

World is a div that we are going to use to anchor all our 3D elements. Transforming (rotating, translating or scaling) world will transform all our elements. For brevity and from here on, I’m using non-prefixed CSS properties. Use the vendor prefix (-webkit, -moz, -o, -ms, etc.) where appropriate.

This is all the markup we’ll need:

<div id="viewport">
    <div id="world"></div>
</div>

CSS

These next are our two CSS definitions. It’s very important to center the div that contains our scene (world in our case) in the viewport, or the scene will be rendered with an offset! Remember that you are still rotating an element that is positioned inside the document, exactly like any other 2D element.

#viewport {
	-webkit-perspective: 1000; -moz-perspective: 1000; -o-perspective: 1000; 
	position: absolute; 
	left: 0; 
	top: 0; 
	right: 0; 
	bottom: 0; 
	overflow: hidden;
	background-image: linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -o-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(bottom, rgb(69,132,180) 28%, rgb(31,71,120) 64%);
	background-image: -webkit-gradient(
			linear,
			left bottom,
			left top,
			color-stop(0.28, rgb(69,132,180)),
			color-stop(0.64, rgb(31,71,120))
	);
}

#world {
	position: absolute; 
	left: 50%; 
	top: 50%; 
	margin-left: -256px; 
	margin-top: -256px; 
	height: 512px; 
	width: 512px; 
	-webkit-transform-style: preserve-3d; 
	-moz-transform-style: preserve-3d; 
	-o-transform-style: preserve-3d; 
	pointer-events: none;
}

CSS For Adding Clouds Base

Now we start adding real 3D content. We add some new div which are positioned in the space, relatively to world. It’s esentially adding several absolute-positioned div as children of world, but using translate in 3 dimensions instead of left and top. They are centered in the middle of world by default. The width and height don’t really matter, since these new elements are containers for the actual cloud layers. For commodity, it’s better to center them (by setting margin-left and margin-top to negative half of width and height).

.cloudBase {
		position: absolute; 
		left: 256px; 
		top: 256px; 
		width: 20px; 
		height: 20px; 
		margin-left: -10px; 
		margin-top: -10px
	}

CSS for Clouds Layer

Now things start getting interesting. We add several absolute-positioned .cloudLayer div elements to each .cloudBase. These will hold our cloud textures.

.cloudLayer {
		position: absolute; 
		left: 50%; 
		top: 50%; 
		width: 256px; 
		height: 256px; 
		margin-left: -128px; 
		margin-top: -128px; 
		-webkit-transition: opacity .5s ease-out; 
		-moz-transition: opacity .5s ease-out; 
		-o-transition: opacity .5s ease-out;
	}

jQuery (JavaScript)

We add generate() and createCloud() functions to populate world. Note that random_{var} are not real variables but placeholder names for the real code, which should return a random number between the specified range.

var layers = [],
	objects = [],
	textures = [],

	world = document.getElementById( 'world' ),
	viewport = document.getElementById( 'viewport' ),

	d = 0,
	p = 400,
	worldXAngle = 0,
	worldYAngle = 0,
	computedWeights = [];

	viewport.style.webkitPerspective = p;
	viewport.style.MozPerspective = p;
	viewport.style.oPerspective = p;
	textures = [
		{ name: 'white cloud', 	file: 'cloud.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'dark cloud', 	file: 'darkCloud.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'smoke cloud', 	file: 'smoke.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'explosion', 	file: 'explosion.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'explosion 2', 	file: 'explosion2.png'	, opacity: 1, weight: 0 },
		{ name: 'box', 		file: 'box.png'		, opacity: 1, weight: 0 }
	];

	function setTextureUsage( id, mode ) {
		var modes = [ 'None', 'Few', 'Normal', 'Lot' ];
		var weights = { 'None': 0, 'Few': .3, 'Normal': .7, 'Lot': 1 };
		for( var j = 0; j < modes.length; j++ ) {
			var el = document.getElementById( 'btn' + modes[ j ] + id );
			el.className = el.className.replace( ' active', '' );
			if( modes[ j ] == mode ) {
				el.className += ' active';
				textures[ id ].weight = weights[ mode ];
			}
		}
	}
	setTextureUsage( 0, 'Few' );
	setTextureUsage( 1, 'Few' );
	setTextureUsage( 2, 'Normal' );
	setTextureUsage( 3, 'Lot' );
	setTextureUsage( 4, 'Lot' );

	generate();

	function createCloud() {

		var div = document.createElement( 'div'  );
		div.className = 'cloudBase';
		var x = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 );
		var y = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 );
		var z = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 );
		var t = 'translateX( ' + x + 'px ) translateY( ' + y + 'px ) translateZ( ' + z + 'px )';
		div.style.webkitTransform = t;
		div.style.MozTransform = t;
		div.style.oTransform = t;
		world.appendChild( div );

		for( var j = 0; j < 5 + Math.round( Math.random() * 10 ); j++ ) {
			var cloud = document.createElement( 'img' );
			cloud.style.opacity = 0;
			var r = Math.random();
			var src = 'troll.png';
			for( var k = 0; k < computedWeights.length; k++ ) { 
				if( r >= computedWeights[ k ].min && r <= computedWeights[ k ].max ) { 					
( function( img ) { img.addEventListener( 'load', function() {
 						img.style.opacity = .8;
					} ) } )( cloud );
 					src = computedWeights[ k ].src; 
}} 
cloud.setAttribute( 'src', src ); 
cloud.className = 'cloudLayer'; 		 			
var x = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 ); 
var y = 256 - ( Math.random() * 512 ); 
var z = 100 - ( Math.random() * 200 ); 
var a = Math.random() * 360; 
var s = .25 + Math.random(); 
x *= .2; y *= .2; 
cloud.data = {x: x, y: y, z: z, a: a, s: s, speed: .1 * Math.random()}; 
var t = 'translateX( ' + x + 'px ) translateY( ' + y + 'px ) translateZ( ' + z + 'px ) rotateZ( ' + a + 'deg ) scale( ' + s + ' )'; 
cloud.style.webkitTransform = t; 
cloud.style.MozTransform = t; 			
cloud.style.oTransform = t; 			
div.appendChild( cloud ); 			
layers.push( cloud ); 		} 		 		
return div; 	 	
function generate() { 		
objects = []; 		
if ( world.hasChildNodes() ) { 			
while ( world.childNodes.length >= 1 ) {
				world.removeChild( world.firstChild );       
			} 
		}
		computedWeights = [];
		var total = 0;
		for( var j = 0; j < textures.length; j++ ) { 			
if( textures[ j ].weight > 0 ) {
				total += textures[ j ].weight;
			}
		}
		var accum = 0;
		for( var j = 0; j < textures.length; j++ ) { 			
if( textures[ j ].weight > 0 ) {
				var w = textures[ j ].weight / total;
				computedWeights.push( {
					src: textures[ j ].file,
					min: accum,
					max: accum + w
				} );
				accum += w;
			}
		}
		for( var j = 0; j < 5; j++ ) {
			objects.push( createCloud() );
		}
	}

Result

For the final effect, we fill cloudLayer div for an img with a cloud texture. The textures should be PNG with alpha channel to get the effect right.

css-3d-explosive-clouds

Conclusion

Of course, you can use any texture or set of textures you want: smoke puffs, plasma clouds, green leaves, flying toasters… Just change the background-image that a specific kind of cloud layer uses. Mixing different textures in different proportions gives interesting results.

Adding elements in random order is fine, but you can also create ordered structures, like trees, duck-shaped clouds or complex explosions. Try following a 3D curve and create solid trails of clouds. Create a multiplayer game to guess the shape of a 3D cloud. The possibilities are endless!

I hope it’s been an interesting tutorial and not too hard to follow.

view demo

I hope you like the result and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts about it. Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Dhiraj kumar