CSS Responsive Web Design – Images

By | March 2, 2021
CSS Responsive Web Design – Images

In this CSS tutorial, we will learn some tricks on how to make Images responsive.

Width Property

In responsive web designing we always use the relative percentage value for the width and other length related properties, so does for images. We can set the width property to any percentage value and set the height property to auto. This will make the image responsive to the scaling up and down of the browser window.

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Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        img{
            width: 100%;
            height: auto;
        }
    </style>
</head>
<body>
   <img src="cat.jpg">
</body>
</html>

using the max-width Property

If we set the width of the image to 100% then the image will scale up than its original size if the browser window display size increases. So for many cases, it would be a good idea to set the max-width property to 100% instead of width.

By setting the max-width we specify that the image will not scale up from its original size, but it can scale down. This maintains the aspect ratio (width by height ratio) of the image.

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        img{
            max-width: 100%;
            height: auto;
        }
    </style>
</head>
<body>
   <img src="cat.jpg">
</body>
</html>

Background Images

Like the normal images, the background-image of the element also resizes and scales according to the browser display area.

Let’s discuss the three methods of background-size property for the background images.

background-size:contain;

If the background-size is set to contain value, the image will try its full to fit in the element box, but here the image will prioritize its aspect ratio. The image will not cover the element box completely if the aspect ratio is distorting.

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        div {
          width: 100%;
          height: 500px;
          background-image: url('a.jpg');
          background-repeat: no-repeat;
          background-size: contain;
          border: 1px solid;
        }
    </style>
</head>
<body>
   <div>
       Try to resize the browser display
   </div>
</body>
</html>

background-size:100% 100%

By specifying the background-size to 100% 100%; we actually specifying the background image width and height to the element 100% width and height. In this, the image will cover the complete background of the element by stretching or scaling down the image. But here the background image will not maintain its aspect ratio.

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        div {
          width: 100%;
          height: 500px;
          background-image: url('cat.jpg');
          background-repeat: no-repeat;
          background-size: 100% 100%;
          border: 1px solid;
        }
    </style>
</head>
<body>
   <div>
       Try to resize the browser display
   </div>
</body>
</html>

background-size:cover

The cover value is a mixture of 100% 100% and contain values. In this, the background-image will completely cover the element background, and also maintain the aspect ratio of the image. To maintain the aspect ratio, some part of the image may be clipped out.

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        div {
          width: 100%;
          height: 500px;
          background-image: url(cat.jpg');
          background-repeat: no-repeat;
          background-size: cover;
          border: 1px solid;
        }

    </style>
</head>
<body>
   <div>
       Try to resize the browser display
   </div>
</body>
</html> 

Media query to set different images for different devices

It’s a good practice to use @medai query to set the different images for the different display sizes. For instance, we can set a large image for desktop browsers whose display size is greater than 500px, and a small image for mobile and tablet browsers which screen width is less than 500px.

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        div {
          width: 100%;
          height: 500px;
          background-image: url('cat.jpg');
          background-repeat: no-repeat;
          background-size: cover;
          border: 1px solid;
        }

        /*if display width is less than or equal to 500px*/                    
        @media only screen and (max-width: 500px) {
            div{background-image: url('cat_small.jpg');}
        }
    </style>
</head>
<body>
   <div>
       Try to resize the browser display
   </div>
</body>
</html>

HTML5 <picture> Element

In HTML5 W3C introduced a new element <picture>, that allows us to specify more than one image source. And the user will see that image that will first fit its browser specification.

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title></title>
    <style>
        picture {
          width: 100%;
          height: auto;
      }

    </style>
</head>
<body>
    <picture>
        <!-- this image will be shown if the screen width is less than 500px -->
      <source srcset="a.jpg" media="(max-width: 500px)">
        <!-- this image will be shown if the screen width is greater than 500px  -->
      <img src="post-06.jpg" alt="images">
    </picture>
</body>
</html>

Summary

  • It’s very important to make your images responsive according to the screen display.
  • Always use relative values like % to set the length related properties.
  • The background of the images also resizes according to the display size.
  • The HTML5 <picture> element let you specify more than one image source.

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