As mobile has become the primary device for use globally, ensuring that your websites work beautifully on them is vital. When implemented correctly, responsive website design can help you provide an optimized experience to your users on any device, including mobiles. This article will discuss the steps that help you achieve an effective, responsive website design.
Why is Responsive Website Design Important?
While we talked about the user experience, the responsive design is also crucial for your website’s discoverability by search engines and ranking. Google is increasingly placing more emphasis on experience, content, and performance related to search optimization. And the responsive website design will help you achieve that.
The optimized experience will also help you facilitate better conversions. A well-implemented website design drives engagement. The increased engagement leads to users making purchase decisions in your favor. This principle is especially true for B2C businesses, but it is increasingly becoming crucial for B2B companies.
Let’s look at ten steps or techniques that help you achieve an effective, responsive website design.
#1: Think About the Content First
You might wonder what the content has to do with the design. The primary objective of your website is to convey your message effectively. Design is a medium that helps you highlight your message’s critical part in the best possible way. Hence, having the content-first approach will help you better design that proves effective in the long run. This principle is true for any design, not just the responsive web design.
#2: Go Mobile-first
It is much easier to start smaller and then work your way up to the design bigger screen. When you start designing for smaller to larger devices, you will not need to tackle awkward CSS media queries. While CSS queries are excellent, the variety of resolutions and the possibility of a new one coming into the market at any time may force you to put in extra efforts.
#3: Adopt a Performance-First Approach
Both the modern desktops and smaller devices are powerful enough to provide a sufficiently good enough experience. You still need to account for the possibilities of processing speed, connection availability, and memory availability on the devices. For routine rendering, it should be okay. Still, suppose you are using any complex animation or interactions involving many graphics (like in games). In that case, you need to be extra careful.
The key is to keep the focus on performance from the beginning and not as an after-thought.
#4: Master CSS Media queries
Responsive design is practically about media queries. The media queries control how a particular section of your website will render on a given device. Unless you and your team have mastered the CSS media queries, you will not achieve the perfective responsive design.
#5: Design for Thumbs and Fingers
Thumbs and fingers are primary input devices for mobile, not keyboard and mouse. While pens are available, they are not widely used. So, the interactions are not precise. Another factor to keep in mind is that at least a tap on the screen is necessary for any reaction or feedback. So, usual CSS styles using pseudo-classes like “hover” do not work effectively with responsive web design. It doesn’t mean you should not use it but remember to have alternatives in place.
#6: Handle Images
Image optimization is another critical area when it comes to responsive website designs. You want to use high-quality images, but you also need to ensure that the rendering is mobile. The relative positioning is one aspect you should be aware of. The other vital practices are to use widths in percentages and use the max-width properties of CSS.
#7: Design for at Least Three Devices
It may not be possible to specifically handle all device sizes and resolutions available today. However, it is a standard practice to consider at least three device sizes and define your breakpoints accordingly. The smaller devices are less than 600px in width. The medium devices are between 600px to 900px, and the larger devices are considered above 900px. These sizes roughly correspond to regular mobile phones, tablets and large phones, and desktops, respectively. However, this is a rough representation you can consider as the foundation and base your responsive design decisions based on that.
#8: Don’t Focus on Specific Devices
You might be tempted to over-optimize your design for specific devices considering the maximum number of visitors. But you should instead focus on ensuring that you have a consistent experience across the devices. You never know when there will be new devices with different resolutions that your visitors may acquire. The distribution of devices may change too. Ensure that your design works generically and optimize for that.
#9: Focus on Engagement, Not Quantity
You may optimize the content and design for different devices. This may result in some elements not being present on specific resolutions. For example, you might want descriptive, relatively verbose descriptions on more extensive devices but want a briefer copy on smaller devices. The same goes for images, animations, and other elements. This approach might be useful as you will be able to provide a better experience overall.
#10: Test Extensively
No matter how much you try, there will be instances where you might find issues regarding your website design’s responsiveness. The only way to ensure that such deviations are taken care of is to test extensively right from the beginning. Test the arrangement of elements, sizes, content, and interactions. Make the comprehensive testing a part of your workflow each time you make edits to your website element.
You should consider ten critical factors to ensure a better responsive design for your website, as described in this article. Follow them, and you will be able to provide your visitors with an optimal experience irrespective of the device they use.