How to Write Responsive Media Queries

When it comes to responsive design, media queries are one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. They allow you to conditionally apply different styles for specific devices and screen sizes. They work by analyzing the dimensions of a device’s viewport and then applying rules to alter the page’s layout accordingly. The most common use cases for media queries involve changing the content or removing elements from the page when a particular viewport size is reached.

The most basic media query is composed of an @media rule and one or more media feature expressions. You can then add a variety of logical operators to mix and match simple or complex conditions.

A media query can target the display property of a CSS element. It can also target a particular screen property such as height or width. In addition, there are other types of media features available that allow you to take into account device-specific information such as color depth or pointer location.

When writing a media query, you can use the media query mobile condition to target smartphones and tablets. You can even use the screen orientation property to specify whether a device is in portrait or landscape mode.

Using this method, you can create a media query for all of the different combinations of device types and screen sizes. However, there is often a limit to how many different media queries you can write without creating overlap and unnecessary complexity. It is more important to focus on defining a set of breakpoints that cover the majority of your site’s audience than it is to include every single possible device type and screen size.

One common strategy for determining breakpoints is to use the smallest width that is commonly supported by a particular device type. For example, most sites will have a breakpoint where the sidebar switches to a burger menu on mobile screens. This is a great way to create a consistent experience for your audience across devices.

Another strategy for determining responsive media queries breakpoints is to look at the amount of horizontal space that’s needed to fit a text-based navigational menu. If a site requires horizontal scrolling to navigate the menu, you can use the vertical-alignment property in a media query to change the positioning of the menu to accommodate the extra space. Finally, some sites will use media queries to serve the smallest possible image for each breakpoint to reduce page loading times. This can be done using the srcset attribute in a media query.