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Dean Marsden

How to Make Your Video And Images Responsive

7th Feb 2014 Analytics, Usability 4 minutes to read

Video and Images in Responsive DesignAs digital marketers, hopefully you’ve heard a lot making websites responsive. Responsive website design is the best way right now to have a website that performs well on mobile devices and performs well in the search engines.

Responsive design involves keeping URLs, site structure and content the same over all devices only changing the styling and layout. Sometimes the layout styling may remove certain blocks of content to improve user experience; however it removes the problem of  duplicated site content on mobile versions.

We like to think our own Koozai website as a good example of Responsive Website Design so visit us on a mobile device or resize your browser to see it in action.

One key part of creating a responsive design is to ensure your videos and images are also truly responsive. If they don’t resize then you will likely end up with a messy looking mobile site with cropped images and videos that visitors can’t see fully or load.

Making text content and layout items responsive is relatively straightforward if fluid width div’s are used. However making your fixed width video and image files resize to fill any mobile device can seem a lot more complicated.

This post aims to provide a list of resources on how to implement responsive video and images on your website to make things simple.

Responsive Images

There are different ways of implementing resizing images and as yet no standard way of doing it. No existing models are ideal, for example some of them control the loading of multiple sized images via JavaScript, whilst others have images twice the required quality that are shrunk down. CSS expert Chris Coyier wrote a great post on the difficulties of implementing responsive images.

Technologies such as the HTML5 <picture> element may be solution in future for developing a standard method of responsive images but for now it requires a little more work.

CSS for Modern Browsers

If you’re happy to only support modern browsers (Tip: check your Google Analytics to see what browsers your audience are using) and not too worried about image file size and therefore load time then a simple CSS id should work ok:

img {
  max-width: 100%;
  /* just in case, to force correct aspet ratio */
  height: auto !important;


Adaptive Images

This is a relatively straightforward method that switches image files for the size of the browser. It shows smaller image files on smaller screens, therefore helping to reduce load times and bandwidth usage. This version is designed to work well with your existing CMS systems and not break its code.


This is a another simple bit of code to implement different sized images depending on the browser size.

Using Cookies

There is even a method used for delivering responsive images via Cookies.

Responsive Images the Easy Way

There is a service called ReSRC.it for delivering optimised versions of your images for each visitor’s device or browser size, on demand.

ReSRC is great looking tool that only requires you to add their code to your website. Simply add your image and ReSRC.it will deliver a version optimised for the biggest hi resolution displays right through to the smallest standard resolution devices. It’s powered by their custom JavaScript (not JQuery) and doesn’t require additional device detection or the use of cookies.


Responsive Videos

The new style of HTML5 video players are designed to keep their aspect ratio in the browser so implementing valid HTML5 <video> tags should work well for Responsive video players.

CSS for Modern Browsers

As with the image CSS technique, the following CSS code still holds true for video ids:

video {
   max-width: 100%;
   /* just in case, to force correct aspect ratio */
   height: auto !important;


If you’re self-hosting videos, you may encounter issues with making your video player controls work correctly with just the above code and if you are enclosing your video in an iframe, additional code may be needed. Please see the this site  for more information.

Sublime Video Player

Sublime Video Player was a project started to create the best video player software to use with cloud hosted video files. Utilising everything HTML5 has to offer, this player is capable of resizing automatically and much more.

Sublime Video features

Technical knowledge is needed to set up the hosting of your video and implementing the video player code however it is a very polished solution offering everything you will need. It has also recently been acquired by the huge video sharing site, Dailymotion. Hopefully it will continue to be offered to users whether they use Dailymotion or not.

Responsive Videos The Easy Way

I’ve blogged in the past about the pros and cons of using third party video hosting services vs encoding and hosting your own video files. The truth is, the top video hosting services now include scripts to automatically resize videos to the browser or device. These services include:

Brightcove requires you to create custom code to make it work.


I hope some of these resources will help you implement optimised, resizeable videos and images on your new responsive website design. Your visitors will place more trust in your website if they can view media correctly on any device. This will hopefully drive more conversions as well.

This is just a small sample of the resources available online. Do share the technique or resources you have used for your images in the comments section below for all to see.

Image Credits

Mobile Phone With Video Player On The Screen In The Human Hands from Bigstock

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