The subject of web design layouts is a particularly hot topic in the industry at the moment as designers struggle to create for an ever-increasing variety of displays. I have approached this essay with a fixed width mindset because some of the design principals used in the industry rely on knowing what screen size the work is being view on. However, this approach is already a luxury that web designers cannot afford to take.

I introduced this essay by describing the one-column sequential structure that web content naturally occupies if no presentation values are applied to it. Having researched how some responsive ecommerce sites are displaying on handheld devices, it would appear that some designers might take us back towards this structure as they try to design for smaller viewports. Creating a layout that fits all sizes is hard to achieve so I cannot fault designers who have to make this compromise on smaller viewports. However, there are some who are creating very good smaller viewport designs, although the best results do seem to be limited to native apps at the moment.

The reasons for a good user experience based upon a well structured, aesthetically pleasing layout are just as strong on smaller displays as they are on larger screens. It could even be argued that the size and interaction limitations actually make the user experience even more important on a smaller screen.

The future of web design is in the ability to take a layout and adapt it to fit any display required, without having to making compromises that will affect the user experience, which in turn impacts the brand.

It is for this reason that I believe that grid based layouts are very important now and will continue to be so in to the future. The grids may have to evolve to accommodate resolutions that do not exist yet, but they are still the best way to organise information in a way that is easy for humans to process.