Building A Website with Responsive Web Design
If you’ve ever visited a site with your mobile device and noticed that it doesn’t fit your screen correctly, it probably doesn’t have a responsive web design. By utilising this type of design, it allows a website to respond to the size of your browser. The website will look great on all types of devices — PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Focus on User Experience
When you’re running a website and want to make a good impression on a user who is visiting for the first time, you can see why having this type of design is so important.
The user experience is a key element in keeping someone interested in browsing your site and discovering what you have to offer. This can be accomplished by utilising a flexible design that automatically changes to the actual width of a browser that’s being used.
A website that’s created with a responsive web design will display content that’s based on the browser space that’s available. When you open a responsive website on your mobile device, the markup language and code that’s been written for mobile devices will recognise that a smartphone is being used and display content for this type of device.
The same process occurs when you open a responsive site on your desktop. The code and markup language that’s been written by a web developer will become associated with the larger screen size of the browser and arrange itself optimally for the best experience.
Key Elements of A Responsive Web Design
To create this type of design for a site, it will help if you focus on some key aspects, which include the following:
Navigation: When navigation for a site is laid out, it should be put in the best location for each device. For a mobile user, this may be top and center, which provides easy access. For someone using a desktop, it may look best in the top right corner or on the left directly below a logo.
Columns: Responsive design is flexible. If you begin with a small browser size on your PC, you can mimic what a site will look like if it’s being served on a smartphone. When you drag the edge of the browser to make it bigger, you may see one or more columns appear. This is coded into the design so that it looks more appealing to someone using a PC and a larger screen.
Branding: When elements of a website are moved around to make them flexible, the unique branding and feel of a website should still be included.
Calls to action: A good design that’s responsive will also consider calls to action, which can be critical in directing a user. They should be displayed in prominent areas, regardless of screen size.
Padding and whitespace: Nothing should feel misaligned or too crowded. The padding and whitespace on various screen sizes should show items in an appropriate hierarchy of information.
Design for Mobile First
It’s usually best to focus on the design for mobile first. This includes designing all of the elements of a site so that they offer the best experience to users on mobile devices.
Include focused, clear content. Navigation should be kept simple, and with only a small screen size to work with, the design should have a fluid layout. You also have to remember that a visitor won’t be using a keyboard or mouse. Instead of a cursor, you’ll use buttons and images that require touch.
Two important factors for performance on mobile include size and speed. Images shouldn’t have special effects. You’ll also want to keep text clean and simple and skip using any fancy fonts.
Visual Testing In Different Screen Sizes
After creating a design for mobile and then adding extra elements so that a site looks appealing in larger browser screens, visual testing should be done. This ensures that the content for each screen size will look just right when conditions are changed.
With the layer of complexity that’s built into this type of design, any app development should also be tested and validated to ensure that when changes are made, the viewports show content accurately. By visually testing and validating, issues can be addressed and resolved.
Testing Navigation Across All Platforms
Another key element that should be tracked is the journey that a visitor will take when they visit a website on different platforms. You can start with a smartphone, use a tablet next and finish with a desktop browser.
When testing navigation, movement should be intuitive. You should be able to easily move from one end of your website to the other without having any glitches occur. Also, it’s important to make sure that everything looks great when moving from landscape to portrait or vice versa.
Page Loading Speed
You may already be familiar with Google’s emphasis on making sure that a website loads fast to improve the experience of a user. They have even placed this as an indicator in their algorithm, which shows they are serious about this element.
Google will rank your website higher in the search engine results pages if your site has a fast loading speed. After placing elements such as navigation, images and text on your site, run a few tests to make sure that your site loads fast as well.
Checking Browser Compatibility
There are a number of different browsers available on mobile platforms. These include:
- Microsoft Edge
- Dolphin Browser
- UC Browser
Each of these browsers uses different types of technologies and may not support various scripts and animations. It’s important that the design you use works well with all types of browsers. A tool like BrowserStack is best to use if you need to test your website while using different devices.
Key Points to Remember
When using responsive web design, it helps if you can follow these tips:
- When creating breakpoints, base this on your content and not the device that’s being used.
- Your design should be developed for small browser screens first and then for devices that have larger browsers and screen size.
- Keep your paragraphs of text short. This is much easier to read on a smaller device.
- Create a list for the different mobile devices and browsers that may be used to access your site and test them when you can.
- Leverage mobile-specific features when it’s possible. By adding simple features such as “Tap to Call,” it increases the mobile experience and makes your website better.
It’s important to keep in mind that individuals will use different types of devices to see your content. This can include Amazon Fire devices, generic brands of mobile tablets and various smartphones to access your content. These platforms are going to behave in many different ways, which should be kept in mind when a site is being planned.
An expert design team is going to know the ins and outs of creating this type of website. They understand the complexity that’s involved and can successfully create a site that’s highly usable for all types of screens, devices and browsers.