Responsive web design is the need of the hour for every business. It has become a tendency for companies to keep up with the online market. Though content is still the king for a web app, if it’s not compatible across various screen resolutions and devices, there is no benefit of having it. Besides smartphones becoming the primary device to access the internet, responsive design is a must.
Need for a Responsive Website
If you’re a newbie to designing, you probably might wonder why having a responsive web app is necessary. Well, the answer is pretty straightforward!
Having a website with less device compatibility is no longer an option. To gain a reputable position across search engines and keep users engaged, it is crucial to develop a website that is compatible across multiple devices. Also, mobile traffic has taken over the desktop, as the majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
Not only that, but even Google considers mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor for websites. That’s why companies have started designing a responsive business website. For beginners, it’s still challenging to develop a responsive website that is compatible across all devices.
In this article, we will talk about ten practical steps to create a responsive site that works on all devices.
- Understand the Basics of Responsive Design
Before beginning to design a responsive website, it is crucial to understand what it is. Understanding responsive design will help you determine other factors required to build a compatible website across all devices. Below are a few points that describe what a responsive website is.
- The website is adaptable to all the screen sizes used by a user
- Offers a constant HTML code for all the web pages across all devices
- The content for the web doesn’t differ based on the screen sizes
- Offer same user experience, easy navigation, and engagement regardless of the device used by the users
- The visual layout has a constant URL that doesn’t change
The above points will help you prepare for the next steps required in designing a responsive web app.
- Drop ‘One Size Fits All’ Approach
As mentioned above, mobile phones are becoming the primary resource of accessing the internet; thus, using the ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t work anymore. Earlier, businesses used to develop only a single design for their site based on the lowest specification platform applicable, which is not a viable approach.
Visitors use different devices to access a website, and if the site is not compatible with their screen size, they tend to move to another resource. In responsive design, you need to focus on providing a consistent user experience to all users regardless of their devices. A responsive website optimally renders itself according to the viewing environment.
- Use Responsive or Optimized Images
Pictures play a vigorous role in making your site responsive. If the images you use are scaled and fit any screen size, it will automatically improve the site’s responsiveness. But many designers often forget to optimize the images accordingly, which later becomes a problem. When designing a responsive site with pictures, make sure you keep these things in mind:
- Utilize the maximum width property of the images. For instance, if the image has a full width of 100%, it can be scaled down anytime as per the site requirements.
- Use different images for different screen sizes. It will enable you to select a particular image for a specific screen size, which is already customized as per the device requirements.
Even after designing a responsive site, you need to optimize the images time-to-time to ensure that it doesn’t affect the site’s responsiveness.
- Don’t Underestimate the Content
Content is not king only in terms of ranking a website; it is even essential for a responsive site. Your site is not just limited to visitors and customers; when potential clients visit your site, they look for the content you have to offer. Thus, you need to ensure the website content is responsive as the devices.
To make your site content responsive, you can organize the HTML-responsive text size with the viewport width tool. This technique helps the content adapt to any screen size on which it is accessed. Besides, you need to ensure that the content on your site is easy to find and readable, even if the screen size is too small.
Users look for relevant information on every site, which is useful and helps them get their job done. Thus, ensuring content visibility and readability on various screen sizes should be your topmost priority.
- Understand the Purpose of Media Query
A successful, responsive web design relies on the ability to shift and format content as per the screen size. This term is known as ‘media query.’ Once you’re settled with the images and web content, you should define your media queries.
Media query is a type of style sheet that defines how the site content is represented across different screen sizes, such as mobile phones, tablets, or desktops. It allows you to create a separate web design for every screen size to check their compatibility. Besides, you can utilize the content vertically or horizontally, depending upon the screen size.
The primary purpose of using media queries is to provide the same content to users even in varied screen sizes without affecting the HTML code. However, to apply the media queries successfully across the web pages, you need to define specific breakpoints. You will have to set breakpoints for very wide resolutions because we really don’t know what devices the future holds for us.
- Use Fluid Grids
There are two types of grids generally used to design a website – set-width and fluid grids. A set-width grid calculates the element size by pixels, whereas a fluid grid calculates the element size by percentages.
Now, the primary purpose of a responsive web design is to ensure that the images don’t surpass any device’s container width and stay in line with the fluid grid. You might have been through multiple sites that claim to be responsive, but when you check the horizontal bar, they aren’t responsive at all.
Using a fluid grid can provide quick responsiveness to your site, as it relies on the dynamic values of the images. It adjusts the web element size based on the screen size it is accessed.
- Give Importance to the Navigation
You’ll undoubtedly provide navigation to the user for the desktop version of the site, but have you thought about the mobile navigation menu?
The navigation menu is one of the critical assets of a responsive site, which most designers often overlook. Every business owner wants its users to navigate through the site easily without getting the important content in the way. Most users access the internet with mobile devices, and they don’t find the navigation much helpful.
Thus, it would help if you offer navigation that is simple yet intuitive without being obstructive. One approach to do this is hiding the navigation menu on smaller screens and allowing visitors to access it based on their requirements. Most web designers use the hamburger icon for navigation on a smaller screen, which has become the official symbol of the navigation menu.
- Don’t Underestimate the Page Loading Speed
On average, users wait a maximum of 3 seconds for a web page to load; if they don’t get the results, they move to another site. This clearly shows the importance of page loading speed.
Page loading speed is one of the essential elements of a responsive website, which shouldn’t be ignored at any stage. No matter what other approaches you use to make your site responsive, make sure it doesn’t affect the site loading speed.
- Use the Right Testing Tool
Once you have designed your website, it’s time to test it across various devices and browsers for responsiveness. A web app could render differently across multiple browsers based on their rendering engines; thus, it is crucial to test the site for compatibility. Besides, testing your site across mobile devices should be your top priority, as most web traffic comes from mobiles.
However, considering the number of smartphones, browsers, and operating systems, testing your site manually is not a viable approach. It would cost you time, money, and resources. The ideal way to test a site for responsiveness is using an automation tool that can fulfill all your testing requirements.
For example, the LT Browser tool from LambdaTest is an excellent automation tool that is ideally designed to test site responsiveness across various mobile devices and browsers. It enables you to test your site across more than 45+ mobile and desktop devices while allowing you to test your locally hosted website.
Creating a responsive design is a necessity that must be fulfilled by every business to provide a better user experience to its customers. However, most businesses still don’t take it seriously and rely on ‘One design works for all’ strategy,’ which later creates problems. So, if you’re planning to build a responsive site for your business, make sure you consider the above steps. Considering these steps will allow you to create a fast, secure, scalable, and highly responsive website.