Responsive web design is no longer a value-add. Your customers and website visitors assume its existence by default. Since the expectancy is high, you will need to ensure that they are no glitches. However, there are many aspects related to responsive web design that may go wrong. This article discusses the top 10 mistakes that you should avoid providing your customers with a useful and engaging experience.

#1: Desktop-first design

Many developers, given their comfort with design and development for the desktop, start with the largest screen size. Once they are comfortable with how the design looks and performs on desktop browsers, try to implement grids and media queries to fit it on smaller devices. The reason this is not a correct approach is that it is not only the size that differs. There are differences in how people interact on different devices. You should adopt a mobile-first strategy for better responsive web designs.

#2: Designed for devices, not screen sizes

While developing a responsive web design, it is tempting to focus on specific devices and over-optimize the design for them. This temptation results from the adoption of a few devices by a large section of your customers. However, such usage can change quickly. At the same time, devices also can change. That is why it is a better idea to arrange your design for three screen sizes, small, medium, and large, rather than focusing on specific devices.

#3: Unoptimized Content Layout

Quite often, the responsive design just compresses the content to fit the screen size. Such compression may result in unreadable content. Suppose the customers do not find the reading experience easy and pleasant. In that case, your site will result in a loss of engagement and potential conversion.

#4: Awkward Navigation

Navigation is another area that is missed by designers while creating a responsive web design. It is not only about the navigation menu bar, but overall movements from one page to another. What might seem acceptable on larger screens may not work effectively on smaller screens. Suppose requisite attention is not given to the navigation design. In that case, it may lead to a sub-optimal experience on smaller devices.

#5: Performance is ignored

While even smaller devices are becoming more capable in terms of performance, they are still differences between desktops and mobile devices or tablets. That is why perfecting the performance only once for the desktop is not sufficient. You must test the responsive web design on all devices and screen sizes and ensure no performance issues on smaller devices.

Images are a huge challenge when it comes to performance. Balancing its proper use across devices is critical if you do not want to compromise on the speed. Using compressed images of the right resolutions is one of the solutions. You should pay particular attention given your context so that there are no performance issues due to the photos.

#6: Hiding the Content

Quite often, to reduce the content on smaller devices, designers and developers choose to hide these elements on mobile devices. The desktop web design continues to display it. However, this approach harms performance. The hidden content is still rendered, but there is an overhead for hiding it.

#7: Not optimized for touch-interactions

Interactions on desktops and smaller mobile devices differ drastically. While with the desktops, precise point-and-click interaction is possible, it is not viable for mobile devices. You must account for the thumb and finger for smaller devices. Another mistake developers make is that they either ignore the gestures support or include non-standard gestures. Both these mistakes take away an opportunity to provide a better experience for you.

Pro Tip: Most of these problems have roots in not adopting a mobile-first design approach. However, they are mentioned here separately because you must ensure that you avoid all these mistakes even with this approach.

#8: Links to Non-Responsive Sites

Many times, developers add links to external sites or elements that are not responsive. When your visitors click on them, they get a broken experience. While your site elements may be responsive, the external factors take away from the engagement.

#9: Not enough testing

No matter how much care you take while designing and developing your responsive website, there will still be issues and optimization scope. Testing is paramount to ensure that you are continually correcting those issues. You might want to leverage the power of automation, as many tools can help you provide automated testing.

One technique that can help you with design decisions is A/B testing, where you can test audience response to different representations. A/B testing enables you to get the actual feedback about visitor response, and hence, is quite powerful.

#10: Not aligned with Buyers’ Personas

Last, but most fundamental and critical mistake is not considering who you are buyers are when designing your website. This consideration is the key to any design, not just the responsive web design. However, it is even more critical since the personas can reveal how your customers will respond to your website design on different devices. Putting efforts into understanding these personas will help you reap rich dividends when it comes to engagement, and even more importantly, conversions.


Avoiding the ten top mistakes described in this article will help you implement an efficient and engaging responsive web design. Your visitors and customers are bound to love the results. While most of them are simple to implement, they do demand persistent and focused efforts.


Featured Image: Image by William Iven from Pixabay 


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