Responsive Web Design - The Viewport

A Browser’s viewport is the area of web page in which the content is visible to the user. The viewport does not have the same size, it varies with the variation in screen size of the devices on which the website is visible. For a laptop, the viewport has a larger size as compared to a smartphone or tablet.

Note: When a page is not made responsive for smaller viewports it looks bad or even breaks on smaller screen. To fix this problem introduce a responsive tag to control the viewport. This tag was firstly introduced by Apple Inc. for Safari iOS.

What is The Viewport?

The viewport is the user's visible area of a web page.The viewport varies with the device, and will be smaller on a mobile phone than on a computer screen.Before tablets and mobile phones, web pages were designed only for computer screens, and it was common for web pages to have a static design and a fixed size.Then, when we started surfing the internet using tablets and mobile phones, fixed size web pages were too large to fit the viewport. To fix this, browsers on those devices scaled down the entire web page to fit the screen.

Setting The Viewport

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

This is the common setting of viewport used in various mobile-optimized websites. The width property governs the size of the viewport. It is possible to set it to a specific value (“width=600”) in terms of CSS pixels. Here it is set to a special value(“width= device-width”) which is the width of the device in terms of CSS pixels at a scale of 100%. The initial-scale property governs the zoom level when the page is loaded for the first time.

Note: The meta tag should be added in the head tag in HTML document.

A Responsive tags has the following attributed:

  • width: Width of the virtual viewport of the device.
  • height: Height of the virtual viewport of the device.
  • initial-scale: Zoom level when the page is first visited.
  • minimum-scale: Minimum zoom level to which a user can zoom the page.
  • maximum-scale: Maximum zoom level to which a user can zoom the page.
  • user-scalable: Flag which allows the device to zoom in or out.(value= yes/no).

Example -