Quick Tip: The Easiest Way To Make Responsive Headers

Quick Tip: The Easiest Way To Make Responsive Headers

Making pretty, responsive, headers is always a tricky process. Until now you needed to use floats or other complicated tricks and you even had to manually adjust pixel values. But not any more!

The technique we are about to show you relies on the powerful flexbox layout mode to do all the dirty work for you. It uses just a handful of CSS properties to create a header that is properly aligned and looks good on all screen sizes, while leaving the code cleaner and less hacky.

The Technique

In our demonstrative example we’ve built a header, which is separated in three sections with typical header content nested within them:

  • Left section – The company logo.
  • Middle section – Various hyperlinks.
  • Right section – A button.

Below you can check out a simplified version of the code.

In the first tab is the HTML where we group the sections in separate div tags. This makes it easier for CSS rules to be applied and generally produces a more organised code.

In the other tab is the CSS, which in just a couple of lines, does the entire job of finding the right places for the each of the sections.

Click the Run button to open up a live demo. You can test the responsiveness by resizing the frame.

<header>
	<div class="header-left">CoolLogo</div>
	<div class="header-center">
		<ul>
			<li><a href="#">Our products</a></li>
			<li><a href="#">Pricing</a></li>
			<li><a href="#">Blog</a></li>
		</ul>
	</div>
	<div class="header-right"><button>Buy now</button></div>
</header>
header{
	/* Enable flex mode. */
	display: flex; 
	
	/* Spread out the elements inside the header. */
	justify-content: space-between;

	/* Align items vertically in the center. */
	align-items: center;
}
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>

<meta charset="utf-8">
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

<title>Easiest Way To Make Responsive Headers</title>
<link href='https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Fugaz+One' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>

<style>
*{
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
	box-sizing: border-box;
}

body{
	font: normal 16px sans-serif;
	padding: 0 10%;
	background: #eee;
}

body .container{
	max-width:1200px;
	margin:0 auto;
}

/*	Header	*/

header{
	/* Enable flex mode. */
	display: flex; 
	/* Spread out the elements inside the header. */
	justify-content: space-between;
	/* Align items vertically in the center. */
	align-items: center;

	padding: 40px 100px;
	color: #fff;
	background-color: #488EAD;
}

.header-left{
	font: normal 28px 'Fugaz One', cursive;
}

.header-left span{
	color: #EAD314;
}

.header-center ul{
	list-style: none;
}

.header-center ul li{
	display: inline-block;
	margin: 0 15px;
}

.header-center ul li a{
	text-decoration: none;
	color: #fff;
	cursor: pointer;
	font-weight: bold;
}

.header-right button{
    color: #fff;
    cursor: pointer;
    font-weight: 800;
    text-transform: uppercase;
    padding: 12px 30px;
    border: 2px solid #FFFFFF;
    border-radius: 4px;
    background-color: transparent;
}

.header-right button:hover {
    background-color: rgba(255,255,255,0.1);
}

/*	Main content	*/

.main-content{
	padding: 60px 100px;
	background-color: #fff;
    line-height: 1.5;
    color: #444;
}

.main-content h2{
	margin-bottom: 38px;
}

.main-content p{
	margin: 30px 0;
}


.main-content .placeholder{
	margin: 40px 0;
	height:380px;
	background-color: #e3e3e3;
}


/*	Media queries	*/

@media (max-width: 1200px){
	header{
		padding: 40px 60px;
	}

	.main-content{
		padding: 100px 60px;
	}

	body {
	    padding: 0 5%;
	}
}

@media (max-width: 1000px){
	header{
		/* Reverse the axis of the header, making it vertical. */
		flex-direction: column;
		/* Align items to the begining (the left) of the header. */
		align-items: flex-start;
	}

	header > div{
		margin: 12px 0;
	}

	.header-center ul li{
		margin: 0 15px 0 0;
	}

}

@media (max-width: 600px){
	body {
	    padding: 0 10px;
	}

	.header-left{
		margin-top:0;
	}

	header {
	    padding: 30px;
	}

	.main-content{
		padding:30px;
	}
}


</style>
</head>
<body>

<div class="container">
	
	<header>
		<div class="header-left"><span>Cool</span>Logo</div>
		<div class="header-center">
			<ul>
				<li><a href="#">Our products</a></li>
				<li><a href="#">Pricing</a></li>
				<li><a href="#">Blog</a></li>
			</ul>
		</div>
		<div class="header-right"><button>Buy now</button></div>
	</header>

	<section class="main-content">
		<h2>Header with three justify aligned sections</h2>
		<p>Using the power of flexbox, the logo, links, and button of our header stay in their designated places, no matter the screen size. The <strong style="white-space: nowrap;">justify-content</strong> property offers a clean approach and allows us to align the section of the header without a hassle. No need for any floats, margins or crazy width calculations.</p>
		<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus at congue urna, pellentesque faucibus justo. Integer a lorem a mauris suscipit congue luctus ut quam. Mauris pellentesque pellentesque mattis. In sed mi dignissim, faucibus elit at, rutrum odio. Mauris et velit magna. Maecenas iaculis eget sapien eu gravida. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Vestibulum a egestas magna. Aenean tellus elit, aliquet at lacinia at, accumsan eget neque. Maecenas rutrum risus quis sem scelerisque sagittis. Quisque sit amet turpis lorem. </p>
		<div class="placeholder"></div>
		<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus at congue urna, pellentesque faucibus justo. Integer a lorem a mauris suscipit congue luctus ut quam. Mauris pellentesque pellentesque mattis. In sed mi dignissim, faucibus elit at, rutrum odio. Mauris et velit magna. Maecenas iaculis eget sapien eu gravida. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Vestibulum a egestas magna. Aenean tellus elit, aliquet at lacinia at, accumsan eget neque. Maecenas rutrum risus quis sem scelerisque sagittis. Quisque sit amet turpis lorem. </p>
	</section>

</div>

</body>
</html>

Full responsiveness

The space-between trick will always take care of the alignment, even when the screen size changes. However, when the viewport becomes too small for a horizontal header, we can make it go vertical by changing the flex-direction property in a media query.

@media (max-width: 1000px){
	header{
		/* Reverse the axis of the header, making it vertical. */
		flex-direction: column;
		
		/* Align items to the begining (the left) of the header. */
		align-items: flex-start;
	}
}

Conclusion

This sums up our quick tutorial! We hope you found it useful and will start applying it right away. Flexbox has pretty good browser support nowadays, so unless your user base is IE heavy, this technique can be applied without causing any mayhem.

To learn more about flexbox and the CSS properties that we used, check out these links:

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by Danny Markov

Danny is Tutorialzine's Bootstrap and HTML5 expert. When he is not in the office, you can usually find him riding his bike and coding on his laptop in the park.

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