Have you tried visiting a website on your smartphone only to be frustrated because the pages do not show up, right? They do not fit the screen, so the pages aren’t displayed correctly. Experiences like this are the reasons why web developers and designers recommend responsive web design techniques.
RWD or responsive web design is a term created by Ethan Marcotte in a webzine article in May 2010. He used it to describe flexible images, media queries, and fluid grid. Today, RWD is defined as a design that responds according to the device used to view the website or page. As such, it automatically adjusts the page’s orientation, resolution, and screen size regardless of the type of device. So, if you switched from using a laptop to your smartphone, the website content will not be distorted; it will look good.
Why A Responsive Web Design is Essential
Ensuring that your website has a responsive design is necessary, especially if you want your business to establish a strong online presence and connect with your customers and prospects. Smartphone users now number to billions all over the world. In the United States, cellular phones are a primary means of communication and doing business, with around 96% of Americans owning at least one mobile phone. Of this number, more or less 80% are smartphones. Thus, responsive websites are where your customers and prospects are.
Aside from giving your audience a satisfying user experience, RWD also offers several benefits for your website. Lesser web development costs minimized maintenance expenses, and better web management is some of these benefits. However, the most vital one is a significant improvement in search engine optimization or SEO performance.
Essential Responsive Web Design Techniques
Responsive web design has three major elements: flexible text and images, media queries, and fluid grid layout:
- Flexible text and images pertaining to text and images that are scalable and automatically adapt the size of the web page’s visible area (also called “viewport”).
- Media queries refer to filters that allow for the easy changing of styles according to the device type and browser window size.
- The fluid grid layout is the kind of layout that automatically changes grid size based on the device’s screen size.
These elements are what make a website responsive. However, there are numerous techniques that you should also know about if you want your website’s responsive design to be effective and efficient.
- Study and organize your plan.
Find time to study your plan for creating a responsive website. What are the aspects you need to consider? What are your goals? Should you hire a professional web developer and designer?
In organizing your plan, do not forget that your audience and target customers are your priority. Therefore, their convenience and satisfaction should be high on your list. Work out a plan for a user-friendly interface and relevant and interesting content.
Other factors essential when organizing your plan include your website’s visual characteristics such as the icons (their placement), effects, and buttons, or links sizes.
- Work on your website’s typography.
Typography is your site’s text or letter design, arrangement, structure, appearance, and font style. It adds life to your content. Choosing typography that is legible and compatible with all devices and platforms is vital. You’d want your pages to be easy-to-read and cool on the eyes. Avoid using typefaces that can make your visitors squint their eyes or shake their head.
Be sure to practice balance throughout the site, particularly in terms of the font and device size.
- Work on the navigation aspect of your website.
A responsive website that is easy to navigate will score many points with different audiences, especially those who are not highly technically skilled. Make sure that the menus are easy to locate and use. Avoid reverse column ordering. The only thing you should keep in mind when it comes to navigating your website is providing an easy, smooth, and pleasant user experience.
- Remember that content is still king.
Besides making sure that your content is relevant and interesting, organizing it properly on your website is also important. You cannot just scatter content wherever you want to; everything has to have its correct place.
In organizing your content, apply the technique that writers use: ensure that the essential sections or parts of your content appear first on smartphones and other small devices. Thus, visitors will see the most relevant rather than the non-important ones.
- Your website should have whitespaces.
To make your webpages easy on the eyes, use whitespace in defining the spacing of your content. For example, if you have two or three sections in one page, place whitespace to distinguish section one from section two, and another whitespace to separate section two from section three.
Aside from creating a relaxing visual vibe, whitespaces also help make your website avoid clutter.
- Ensure fast loading time.
One of the reasons why some sites have high bounce rates is slow loading time. Of course, anybody who visits a website or page would want it to load as quickly as possible. It’s even more critical when users access through their smartphones and other mobile devices.
Some steps you can take are optimizing media files and reducing plugins.
- Use only good quality, high image resolution media.
Choosing the right media is essential in ensuring a good responsive web design. However, using high image resolution images or videos can make your website heavy, and it will load slowly. So, it is vital to find ways to realize this without sacrificing site performance. One option is to compress the file sizes of images and other media.
- Consider using responsive images.
Smaller devices need smaller-sized and lower resolution images compared to laptops and desktops. As such, it is ideal to come up with two versions – two sizes – for every image, so there’s one for the laptop and desktop and another one that’s perfect for smartphones.
- Regularly test your website.
Get updates about your website’s overall performance through regular tests. It is essential to ensure that it maintains its responsiveness and its generally user-friendly, audience-satisfying characteristics and performance.
Talk to a professional web designer and developer if you want to develop a surefire way of creating a responsive website.