This document describes Imarc’s markup and style standards. Imarc is a full service web development and design firm with offices near Boston and Silicon Valley.


Boilerplate is a great starting point for new projects. Authored by Imarc, Boilerplate contains our standard HTML and SCSS.

Dependency Management

All JS dependencies are managed by npm. Get started with npm by reading their getting started documentation. By default, npm installs all dependencies into a /node_modules directory within your project.

To ignore the /node_modules directory, the following line should be added to your .gitignore



Use the HTML5 doctype.

<!DOCTYPE html>

It’s important to understand your project’s technical specification. Some advanced HTML5 technologies may not function correctly in older browsers. If you choose to use advanced HTML5 elements such as meter and picture, use Modernizr, a feature detection library that assists with gracefully degrading your project for users with legacy browsers. In short, use feature detection and never use browser detection.

Modernizr detects what the browser’s rendering engine supports, allowing you to react appropriately to differing support scenarios.


A concerted effort should be made to ensure your HTML and CSS validate. Markup should be semantic and well-formed and contain all required attributes. Elements should occur within the proper context of the DOCTYPE.

Metadata content

Page Titles

Title tags should contain descriptive information that concisely describes the current page. In the case of nested pages, information in the title tag should be ordered from most specific to least specific. A standard delimiter such as or | should be employed to indicate distinct content levels.

<title>Support - Contact | Imarc Web Design: Boston + Silicon Valley</title>

This shows that I’m on the page called Support. That page lives in a section called Contact which resides in a website for Imarc . Titles are adjusted to meet SEO needs.

The homepage should include the site or company name, followed by a simple description of the entire website.

<title>Imarc | Web Design and Digital Agency in Boston + Silicon Valley</title>

Meta Description

A quality meta description can help in higher clickthroughs. Ideally, all pages include a unique meta description – a concise, human-readable description of that page’s contents. Do not duplicate meta descriptions from other pages. Custom meta descriptions can appear in search engine result pages as seen in the graphic below, however Google will sometimes replace custom meta descriptions with on-page content if they feel it’s of more value to the end user.

If no meta description exists, Google will create its own from on-page content.

Tips for writing meta descriptions by Google

Example of meta description in search results

Keep meta descriptions less than 160 characters. Here is an example meta description for Imarc’s Blog page.

<meta name="description" content="Our blog features the latest in web design, development, user experience and marketing." />

Imarc Credits

Include the following meta tag in the head to credit Imarc.

<meta name="web_author" content="Imarc, A Digital Agency | Boston + Silicon Valley | more info at" />

Character Encoding

Use UTF-8 as the character encoding. Set your editor to use UTF-8 for all aspects of the web application.

HTML pages should begin with by setting UTF-8 in the content-type meta tag.

<meta charset="UTF-8" />

Since UTF-8 is enabled throughout the frontend HTML and backend databases, use real UTF-8 characters instead of HTML entities.

Use real apostrophes and quotations instead of primes and double-primes. Use a UTF-8 character like », instead of typing out entities like &raquo;. The only characters that need encoding are &amp;, &lt;, and &gt;, &quot;.

    Separation of content – better with an en-dash.
    Imarc’s motto: “Use curly quotes”
    <a href="#"> Learn More »</a>


The default type size and font for a site should be set on the html element.

html {
    font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif;
    font-size: 16px;

Do not set sizes on unclassed markup that typically should be rendered as the default text size. This includes p, li, div, td, a.

Aside from the initial html font-size declaration, use rem (root relative) units to set type size. With 16px as a base size: 1rem = 16px; 1.25rem = 20px; 2rem = 32px. Leading, or line-height, should be a unitless measure.

h1 {
    font-size: 2.5rem;
    line-height: 1.3;
    margin-bottom: 1.25rem;

Font Stacks

Specify font families using font stacks. This provides appropriate fall-back fonts to handle when a specified font may not be available.

Default serif font stack:

font-family: Constantia, Lucida, Georgia, serif;

Default sans-serif font stack:

font-family: "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;

Include a generic font family such as serif, sans-serif, cursive, fantasy, or monospace. This provides a fallback in case all other fonts in the stack are unavailable. Imarc uses a handy $font-stack SASS variable to reference our stack throughout our stylesheet if need be.

Font Awesome

Font Awesome is an iconography framework used on nearly all Imarc projects. With version 5, it is powered by SVG/JS in addition to traditional web fonts.

Imarc owns a Professional license, which allows us the use of 1,500+ additional icons. It also allows for use of all icon font-weights (solid, light, regular).


There are various ways to get Font Awesome going on your project. You can manually include supplied source files, leverage a private NPM package, or utilize the CDN.

Imarc-recommended implementation

Decorative icons should include appropriate aria information. Font Awesome provides an Accessibility guide.

Things To Note

Visit Boilerplate to see Font Awesome v5 in the wild.

Web Fonts

Use the following syntax to utilize web fonts with @font-face. Based on Imarc browser support, the WOFF 1.0 font file format satisfies all our user agents. However, if possible, use WOFF 2.0 for reduced file size. When using a multi-weight/style typeface be sure to add the appropriate font-style and font-weight for each while using the same font-family name.

@font-face {
    font-family: 'Roboto Slab';
    src: url('RobotoSlab-Light-webfont.woff') format('woff'),  
    font-weight: 100;
    font-style: normal;

@font-face {
    font-family: 'Roboto Slab';
    src: url('RobotoSlab-Medium-webfont.woff') format('woff'),  
    font-weight: 300;
    font-style: normal;

@font-face {
    font-family: 'Roboto Slab';
    src: url('RobotoSlab-Bold-webfont.woff') format('woff'),  
    font-weight: 700;
    font-style: normal;

<em> and <strong> tags will automatically grab the correct @font-face rule provided both an italic and bold version exist.

Other web font services Imarc often uses are: Google Web Fonts, Typekit,


There are multiple types of dashes present in common use: hyphen, figure dash, en dash, em dash and minus sign. Instead of using all five, we limit use to 2:

Em dashes have been dropped based on Robert Bringhurst’s recommendation in The Elements of Typographic Style:

The em dash is the nineteenth-century standard, still prescribed in many editorial style books, but the em dash is too long for use with the best text faces. Like the oversized space between sentences, it belongs to the padded and corseted aesthetic of Victorian typography.

While not requested often, some websites necessitate a clean layout when pages are printed. Imarc begins from a sane starting point as documented in Imarc Boilerplate

Coding Style

Consistent coding style for HTML and CSS is vital because multiple people collaborate on a site’s markup and style.

Line Breaks

Set your text editor to only use Unix line-break (\n), not Windows (\r\n) or Mac (\r) breaks.


Keep markup at a reasonable width. When markup surrounds a significant amount of content, place the tags on their own line, indent the content, and hard-wrap content at about 80 characters.

<!-- DON'T DO THIS -->
<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras fringilla libero id quam semper semper. Nulla a pulvinar justo. Mauris a velit sed ante laoreet vehicula. Etiam ac semper mi. Etiam neque lacus, hendrerit a sollicitudin sagittis.</p>

<!-- Instead, DO THIS -->
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras fringilla
    libero id quam semper semper. Nulla a pulvinar justo. Mauris a velit sed
    ante laoreet vehicula. Etiam ac semper mi. Etiam neque lacus, hendrerit
    a sollicitudin sagittis.
        Foo is listed first – ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing
        elit fringilla libero id quam semper semper.

With short lines of content, the tag and content can stay on the same line.

    <li>Foo is listed first</li>
    <li>Bar follows</li>
    <li>Baz is typically last</li>


Use floats to construct layouts instead of frames, iframes, or tables. This maintains the flow of the page, and allows acceptable control over source ordering.

Containing floats

Make sure to properly contain floats with a clearfix. Imarc uses a group class.

.group:after {
    content: '';
    display: table;
.group:after {
    clear: both;



.module {
    background-color: #FFF;
    border: 1px solid #DDD;
    color: #666;
    height: 60px;
    margin: 20px auto;
    padding: 20px;
    width: 960px;

Stylesheets should be organized in a logical manner. See Boilerplate’s sections in its CSS file. To visually divide a stylesheet sections, use the following comment style as a section indicator.

/* = Typography = */

Related style rules should be grouped together in ascending order of specificity.

header {
    background-color: #EEE;
header .content {
    background: none;
    margin: 0 auto;
    padding: 0;
header .content .title {
    color: #000000;
    float: left;
    font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
    font-size: 24px;
    font-weight: normal;
    margin: 0;


Most page layouts can generally be thought of in three primary parts. These structural names should be used as classes in the markup.

Structural naming conventions

Navigation should be named as the following:

Use unordered list markup within navigation instead of anchors. Lists allows us to represent hierarchy.

Navigation naming conventions

Within navigation elements, there may be a different style to denote the current page or section.

Active states in navigation


Content naming conventions

For a more complete list of naming conventions, see Imarc Boilerplate structure for detailed layout naming conventions.

CSS Principles

Engineers should strive to make lean, modular classes that can be easily adapted to different sections and pages. If you find yourself copying entire blocks of declarations from one selector to another, you are likely doing it wrong.

Consider two callouts used on two different pages: a landing page and a members page.

Landing page call to action

Members page call to action

Knowing we will utilize callouts on multiple pages, it’s important to find properties they share and start with some base styles. These would probably live in our stylesheet’s Layout section

.callout {
    border-radius: 4px;
    font-weight: 300;
    margin-bottom: 3em;
    margin-top: 2em;
    padding: 1em;
.callout .button {
    background-color: pink;
    border-radius: 2px;
    padding: 0.4em;
    text-transform: uppercase;

Based on the knowledge we have from our creative mockups, we feel confident with these base styles. Any visual changes for callouts should be added on to these base styles:

.callout.dense {
    font-weight: 600;
    margin-top: 0;
.callout.dense .button {
    background-color: pink;
    float: right;

You might wonder why we didn’t target our callouts via a body#members .callout selector. It would not necessarily be a bad way to proceed. But thinking in a modular way, what if the client also wanted to use this .dense styled callout on special Guest pages? We would find ourself copying and pasting rules in more than one place.

Use Only Class Selectors

To avoid CSS specificity issues, use only class selectors when marking up HTML. The exceptions to this rule are: anchors, form label IDs, the ID that is placed on the body tag, and instances when IDs are more appropriate hooks for JavaScript purposes.

Classes should be lowercase, using hyphens to separate words. Ideally, classes are only one word.

Classes have the benefit of being highly reusable. By utilizing classes, we can write leaner, more modular CSS.

Choose Meaningful Names

Choose names that accurately describe the content, not the visual container. Avoid choosing presentational names e.g.(orange-arrow, left-column)

For example, meta is an acceptable class name while sidebar-info is not. The described content will always be meta; it might not always be in the context of a sidebar.

Specific Targeting

When targeting a specific section or page is needed, use the body’s class or ID attributes. Use the ID for styles pertaining to a single page. Use the class for styles that pertain to an entire section of pages. Always include the body tag in your selector.

<body class="section-products" id="page-macbook">

ID use case: Headlines must use a font-weight: 700; on the MacBook page to align with marketing materials.

Class use case: Buttons need to be silver for all pages within the site’s Products section

body#page-macbook {
    h3 {
        font-weight: 700;

body.section-products {
    .button {
        background-color: silver;


All elements inside a form element should be placed within a fieldset element. A fieldset is used to group related form elements. Use a heading tag instead of the legend element to title fieldsets.

The action attribute is required on all forms, and should have a blank value by default.

Form Element Markup

Form inputs and labels are grouped together within a div. The containing div is named after the form input type. For example, a text input is contained inside <div class="text"> and a file input is contained inside <div class="file">.

All appropriate input elements should have an associated label element. Labels should be associated directly with inputs.

Related fields, such as checkboxes and radio fields, may be further grouped within a div with a class of the plural input type, such as checkboxes.

This allows maximum form style flexibility with minimal markup changes.

Required fields should be indicated by a span with a class of required within the associated label element.

If an input has a max-length defined in the database, it should have a corresponding max-length attribute in the markup.

Form element markup

<form method="post">
            Through out the fields, you will also see <code></code>
            elements. These are used for help text relevant to fields.
        <div class="text">
            <label for="sample_form-text">Text <span class="required">*</span></label>
            <input id="sample_form-text" type="text" />
            <span class="help">only numbers and letters</span>
        <div class="password">
            <label for="sample_form-password">Password <span class="required">*</span></label>
            <input id="sample_form-password" type="password" />

            Radios and Checkboxes
        <div class="radios group">
            <label>Choose one</label>
            <label class="radio">
                <input id="sample_form-radio" type="radio" />
            <label class="radio">
                <input id="sample_form-radio_1" type="radio" />
                radio 1
            <label class="radio">
                <input id="sample_form-radio_2" type="radio" />
                radio 2
        <div class="checkboxes group">
            <label>Check all that apply</label>
            <label class="checkbox">
                <input id="sample_form-checkbox" type="checkbox" />
                <label class="checkbox">
                <input id="sample_form-checkbox_1" type="checkbox" />
                checkbox 1
            <label class="checkbox">
                <input id="sample_form-checkbox_2" type="checkbox" />
                checkbox 2

        <div class="select">
             <label for="sample_form-select">Select one</label>
             <select id="sample_form-select">
                 <optgroup label="group">
                     <option value="option">Option</option>
                     <option value="option 1">option 1</option>
                     <option value="option 2" selected="selected">option 2</option>
                 <optgroup label="group 1">
                     <option value="option 3">option 3</option>
                     <option value="option 4">option 4</option>
                     <option value="option 5">option 5</option>
                     <option value="option 6">option 6</option>
                     <option value="option 7">option 7</option>
                     <option value="option 8">option 8</option>
        <div class="select multiple">
            <label for="sample_form-select_multiple">Select multiple</label>
            <select id="sample_form-select_multiple" multiple="multiple" size="2">
                <optgroup label="group">
                    <option value="option">Option</option>
                    <option value="option 1">option 1</option>
                    <option value="option 2" selected="selected">option 2</option>
                <optgroup label="group 1">
                    <option value="option 3">option 3</option>
                    <option value="option 4">option 4</option>
                    <option value="option 5">option 5</option>
                    <option value="option 6">option 6</option>
                    <option value="option 7">option 7</option>
                    <option value="option 8">option 8</option>

            Textareas and Files
        <div class="textarea">
            <label for="sample_form-textarea">Textarea</label>
            <textarea id="sample_form-textarea"></textarea>
        <div class="file">
            <label for="sample_form-file">Upload File</label>
            <input type="file" id="sample_form-file" />

        <div class="submit">
            <input type="submit" value="Submit" />
        <div class="button">
            <input type="button" value="Input Button" />
        <div class="reset">
            <input type="reset" value="Reset" />
        <div class="button">
            <button>Button Element</button>


Sample messaging markup. Note that chaining off messaging helps to avoid repeating CSS rules.

<div class="messaging success">
        Congratulations! You have signed up for ACME’s business afterhours.


Use tables to display tabular data such as a pricing or feature chart. Do not use tables for page layout. Make sure your tables do not only use rows and cells – take advantage of other elements to increase accessibility.


Optional element. caption helps describe the table. Think of it as a title.

        ACME, Inc Product Line Pricing Tiers

Table Headers and Scope

Use the table headers element th to indicate a header. Passing a scope attribute and value of col or row gives non-visual user agents specific guidance on where its associated data lives. This is important when there are headers at the top of columns and at the beginning of each row.

        ACME, Inc Product Line Pricing Tiers
        <th scope="col">
            Bronze Tier
        <th scope="col">
            Silver Tier
            2 hours of support
            5 hours of support

Column Groups

While not used for accessibility, use <colgroup> and <col> elements to more easily style table columns.

        <col class="bronze" />
        <col class="silver" />
        <col class="gold" />
                Bronze Tier
                Silver Tier
                Gold Tier
                2 hours of support
                5 hours of support
                10 hours of support



When clients host videos on major video providers like YouTube and Vimeo, utilize those providers’ embed codes to display the videos on our sites. Wrap these embed codes in an .embed div with the associated CSS rules to allow for a responsive implementation:

.embed {
    clear: both;
    height: 0;
    margin-bottom: 2em;
    padding-bottom: 56.25%;
    position: relative;

.embed iframe {
    height: 100%;
    left: 0;
    position: absolute;
    top: 0;
    width: 100%;
    z-index: 1;

Background Video

Sometimes, a video will auto-play (without audio) behind HTML content. This is common in a site’s “hero” area. Create and export .mp4 and .webm video files. Imarc typically uses Adobe After Effects for editing and Handbrake for optimization. Here is some HTML/CSS for implementing a responsive backround video. Note that we use padding on the video’s ::before pseudo element to achieve our desired aspect ratio.

<div class="hero">
    <video autoplay loop="loop" muted poster="video-placeholder.jpg">
        <source src="video.mp4" type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.42E01E, mp4a.40.2"' />
        <source src="video.webm" type='video/webm; codecs="vp8, vorbis"' />

.hero video {
    left: 0;
    position: absolute;
    top: 0;
    width: 100%;
    z-index: 1;
.hero::before {
    content: "";
    display: block;
    padding-top: 33.333%;

Image Compression

Whenever you cut up a website, you should use image compression software to crunch the images. Regular compression can greatly reduce the weight of the site. ImageOptim comes highly recommended among the Imarc team. Always compress your images manually or via an automated task if you’re using a task runner.


SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is an XML-based image format that is vector-based. It allows for infinite scaling without sacrificing image quality.


Inline SVGs can block rendering and will not cache. As a result, using an .svg file within an <img> tag is a solid implementation choice. However, if the interface calls for animation and/or color variations, “inlining” the SVG is acceptable. To help with document readability, include the file via PHP/etc.

SVG code can be exported directly from Adobe Illustrator via File > Export > Export As…

Remove any doctype, height, width, title and style information from the SVG code. Make sure your code takes advantage of the viewBox attribute.

<svg xmlns="" xmlns:xlink="" viewBox="0 0 61.25 61.25">
        <g class="c">
            <path class="circle" d="M30.63,61.25A30.63,30.63,0,0,1,30.63,0C47.8,0,61.25,13,61.25,29.62c0,17.14-14,31.63-30.62,31.63m0-59a28.38,28.38,0,0,0,0,56.75C46,59,59,45.55,59,29.62,59,14.27,46.54,2.25,30.63,2.25"/>
        <polygon class="x" points="17.8 29.4 29.34 29.4 31.97 29.4 43.45 29.4 43.45 31.85 31.97 31.85 29.34 31.85 17.8 31.85 17.8 29.4"/>
        <polygon class="y" points="29.4 43.45 29.4 31.91 29.4 29.28 29.4 17.8 31.85 17.8 31.85 29.28 31.85 31.91 31.85 43.45 29.4 43.45"/>

IE11 sizing

IE11 does not always respect SVG size dimensions in fluid-width scenarios. In this scenario, you can wrap the SVG with a container with pseudo-element


Use 32x32 PNG files for favicons:

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/img/icons/favicon.png" type="image/x-icon" />

Touch Icons

iOS and Android devices both support touch icons:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/img/icons/touch-icon.png">

Your touch icons should be a PNG at 192x192. It’s possible to specify different sizes for different devices, but using a single high resolution touch icon is the easiest way to ensure the highest quality icon. For further reading, see the iOS Developer Library.

Safari pinned icon

With Safari 9 (OSX El Capitan), Apple has introduced the ability to control the icon on a pinned tab. Use a 256x256 SVG file for this – setting your icon to black. To set a color for the icon, use the color attribute.

<link rel="mask-icon" href="/img/icons/pinned-icon.svg" color="#990000">

Browser Support

The following philosophy is paraphrased from our standard proposal language.

Desktop Browser Support

Browser/Version Mac Windows
Chrome (stable) yes
Firefox (stable) yes
Internet Explorer 11.0 yes
Imarc does not support Internet Explorer’s “Compatibility View” in any form
Microsoft Edge (stable) yes
Safari 11 yes

Mobile Browser Support

Platform/OS Browser Target Devices
iOS 10 Safari 10 4"+ screens, iPads
Android 6.0–current Chrome 4"+ handsets, 7–10" tablets

Individual projects may require browser support beyond our defaults. In these cases the additional support will be specified in the proposal and strategy documents.

Imarc employees who have access to our wiki can read more about our policies in the Browser Support article.

Internet Explorer styles

Some older versions of Internet Explorer need dedicated CSS rules in order to achieve proper design and functionality. You can target previous versions of Internet Explorer using conditional comments. Place these targeted styles in a dedicated CSS file (e.g. lt_ie9.css). If your Internet Explorer CSS changes styles are minimal, place them in the project’s main CSS file.

Internet Explorer (IE) notes

External Scripts for Analytics, Marketing, and Plug-ins

Many of our client sites use external scripts such as Google Analytics, HubSpot or Marketo. We should stop those scripts gathering data in development or staging enviroments.

While clients themselves may apply filters to correct this in the settings of those scripts, we can’t count on this always being the case. Wrapping any marketing scripts in a conditional that differentiates between enviroments is the most ideal solution.

The way of detecting whether the enviroment is production varies from project to project. Consult the project’s lead engineer about best way to do this.


Use the Baseline Checklist below to ensure an acceptable level of accessibility. For clients who desire an extra level of accessibility, use the Advanced Checklist.

ARIA Landmark Roles

ARIA landmark roles allow ease of navigation for non-sighted users. Screenreaders can traverse areas of a website by their respective landmark role, allowing users to skip over regions that are repeated on every page. Imarc takes advantage of five roles:

Adding a role is simple and does not affect the display or behavior of a web page. Note that if there are multiple navigation structures, they should be labeled for completeness using the aria-label attribute.

<header class="primary" role="banner">

<nav aria-label="utility navigation" class="utility" role="navigation">

<nav aria-label="primary navigation" class="primary" role="navigation">

<nav aria-label="secondary navigation" class="secondary" role="navigation">

<aside class="primary" role="complementary">

<div class="main" role="main">

<footer class="primary" role="contentinfo">

Baseline Checklist

Advanced Checklist

Structured Data Markup

To provide the best content possible for users, search engines and social media platforms try to infer information from the markup on a website. Crawlers aren’t always 100% accurate. To remove variance from these crawlers and improve SEO, you can define data explicitly with

Content that will be shared heavily on social media is recommended to use and Open Graph Protocol. The Open Graph Protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond. is sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. Example

Movie Type Markup Example

<!-- Simplified version found on IMDb -->
<div itemscope itemtype="">
	<h1 class="" itemprop="name">Frozen 2013 - IMDb</h1>
	<a href="" itemprop='url'>
	<div itemprop="description">
		When the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice to curse her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna, teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition.
	<div itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="">
        <strong title="7.6 based on 405,502 user ratings"><span itemprop="ratingValue">7.6</span></strong><span class="grey">/</span><span class="grey" itemprop="bestRating">10</span>
        <a href="/title/tt2294629/ratings?ref_=tt_ov_rt"><span itemprop="ratingCount">405,502</span></a>
        <span itemprop="reviewCount">893 user</span> <span itemprop="reviewCount">405 critic</span>

An example of what kind of data that is being extracted by crawlers from content that has proper markup.

Extracted Data

If you want content to appear as rich snippets on major search engines such as this.

Rich Snippet

It is recommended that you use structured data markup on these types of content.

Google Rich Snippet Support

  • Product
  • Recipe
  • Review
  • Event
  • Software Applications
  • Video
  • News Articles

Bing Rich Snippet Support

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Businesses and Organizations
  • Events
  • People
  • Products and Offers
  • Recipes
  • Reviews
  • Reviews (aggregated)

View a complete list of content types and example markup.

Open Graph

Sharing content via social media can yield unexpected results related to its appearance on a time line.

For example, Facebook pulls what it deems relevant to a shared item – title, description, photo, etc. For a supplementary thumbnail, Facebook pulls the first img it can find in the site. If this is unsatisfactory, you can control the thumbnail image to be shared by using the following line in the web site’s head:

<link rel="image_src" href="/img/site/logo_acme.png" />

Open Graph Example

Blog Post Markup Example

    <!-- Facebook Specific-->
	<meta property="fb:admins" content="100004926167588">
	<meta name="article:author" content="">
	<!-- Twitter Specific -->
	<meta name="twitter:site" content="@ImarcAgency">
	<meta name="twitter:title" content="Responsive Design or Mobile-Specific: Which Option is Best for You? | Imarc Web Design: Boston + Santa Cruz">
	<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary">
	<meta name="twitter:image" content="">
	<!-- General -->
	<meta property="og:type" content="Responsive Design or Mobile-Specific: Which Option is Best for You?">
	<meta property="og:description" content=" Our clients are always asking, “Does my site need to be responsive?” In a word, yes. But, there are options to consider when it comes to delivering a mobile optimized experience. There is no “one size fits all approach,” and the direction your…">
	<meta property="og:site_name" content="Imarc Digital Agency">
	<meta property="og:url" content="">

Facebook Rich Object

Screenshot displaying how structured blog data is displayed on Facebook

Twitter Rich Object

Screenshot displaying how structured blog data is displayed on Twitter

Linkedin Rich Object

Screenshot displaying how structured blog data is displayed on LinkedIn

View more Open Graph example and data types

Structured Data Markup Testing Tools

Mobile Optimization


On mobile-specific sites, set the viewport to the width of the device:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">

This fits the webpage into the visible area of the viewport to ensure that the page is scaled to 100% on load.

This works in most, but not all mobile browsers, a full chart of support is here Quirksmode

Mobile Orientation Changes

iPhone can have issues with dynamic orientation changes – changing from portrait to landscape view while viewing a page. The issue occurs on iPhone, when using the viewport setting, initial-scale=1.0.

Mozilla’s developer site explains this issue and one possible solution:

Mobile Safari often just zooms the page when changing from portrait to landscape, instead of laying out the page as it would if originally loaded in landscape. If web developers want their scale settings to remain consistent when switching orientations on the iPhone, they must add a maximum-scale value to prevent this zooming, which has the sometimes-unwanted side effect of preventing users from zooming in.

Another option Imarc has discussed is employing JavaScript to solve iPhone’s re-orientation issue.

Media Queries

Meida queries is a CSS3 technology allowing scope limitation of styles based on a feature such as width, aspect ratio, pixel density, and more. Imarc primarily uses media queries to serve different styles to mobile and tablet devices.

All media queries can reside in a site’s main stylesheet.

@media (min-width: 481px) {
    nav.primary li {
        float: left;
        font-size: 1.4em;
        font-weight: bold;
        margin: 0 0 20px 20px;

Some devices may download all styles (including large background images), regardless of whether that device is scoped. This allows the device to apply specific width-based rules on the fly without re-fetching images or CSS. The downside is a loss of optimization. For tips on improving optimization, see Mobile Optimization

Media Query Behaviors

Use min-device-width to prevent automatic reflowing when a window is resized.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/base.css" media="all" type="text/css"  />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/desktop.css" media="screen and (min-device-width: 481px)" type="text/css" />

With min/max-device-width:

Use min-width or max-width to allow media queries to dynamically activate when the browser window is scaled.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/base.css" media="all" type="text/css" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="/desktop.css" media="screen and (min-width: 481px)" type="text/css" />

With min/max-width:

Additional info on Peter Gasston’ blog. Andy Clark’s 320 and up project also provides resources for optimization.


Markup Tester

After resetting CSS and applying style, it’s easy to overlook a seldom-used tag. Download the Markup Tester (HTML file) from the Framework repository and drop it onto your page. Make sure all tags render appropriately on your project.