All You Need to Know About Responsive Design – Your Design Guide

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by Graphicszoo 15+ days ago 5 mins read

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Let’s straightaway come to the point; having a responsive design for a business website, or any other web design, is the need of the hour for any business today.

In simplest terms, responsive design is defined as “A UI design approach used to create content that adjusts smoothly to various screen sizes.” 

It is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. 

It is no hidden fact that, today, most internet users are accessing web pages from their smartphones or tablets. And, therefore, it is imperative for brands to adapt to the market trends in order to sustain user engagement and brand awareness. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of responsive design and everything you should know about it. 

Let’s begin with the basics first!

So, how do you go about building a responsive design?

Well, there are mainly three things to make sure of;

  • A fluid grid
  • Flexible images and text
  • Media queries

Don’t get fidgety; we’ll explain all three of these responsive design elements in detail. 

Fluid grid

As the name suggests, a fluid grid is a more flexible form of design grid that allows the design to be scalable. In this setup, elements occupy the same percentage of space however large or small the screen becomes. This means you choose where pixels should appear and define a layout size so the elements will scale up or down in a fixed way.

Flexible images and texts

If the content of your website is not clear and readable for the users, it is a massive failure of your website’s UI/UX strategy. And, therefore, you have to make sure that the content on your website, whether in the form of test or images, is always readable and easily consumable. 

For textual content, mobile responsive websites give designers the opportunity to increase line height and font size for legibility. If you have a flexible container (within the grid), this feature allows text to wrap resulting in an increase in font size on smaller screens.

However, unlike text, images aren’t naturally fluid. That means they default to the same size and configuration from one device’s screen to the next. An obvious risk is that your design will appear inconsistent across devices as images can fail to adjust, and therefore show up out of proportion to other elements. So, you need to apply a CSS command—: img {max-width: 100%;}—to ensure an image shrinks for smaller screens. To include many images, you use another CSS command.

Media queries

Media queries are, basically, codes used by developers to measure the flexibility and scalability of a responsive design’s layout. 

Media queries choose a CSS to apply depending on a device’s breakpoint, for example, iPad landscape orientation.

Based on a screen’s width, height, orientation, etc., you can accurately specify how your design will be rendered for different users to see.

Fortunately, you don’t really have to be a professional programmer to run media queries to test the responsiveness of your design. There are several easy-to-use tools available such as, Bootstrap, H5P, Gomoand Elucidat.


 

What are some of best responsive design best practices?

Keep mobile-friendly design as the center: Ensure that your design is created keeping in mind the applications of a mobile web-design. This includes;

  • Using larger buttons (>40 points)
  • Intuitive design
  • Scale up phone-seized designs to suite large screens. 

Create fluid girds and images: Create images in their native dimension. If you don’t have enough space, crop them to maximize impact.

Stick to SVG (Scalar Vector Graphics): These are an XML-based file format for 2D graphics, which supports interactivity and animations.

Prioritize and hide content to suit users’ contexts: Work on the visual hierarchy of your design to cater the more essential items first to the users. Keep nonessential items (nice-to-haves) secondary. 

Test how users are interacting with your website: By testing how users interact with your responsive websites, you can gather valuable information to help you create optimal experience for them.

Here’s an article that shows how you can perform A/B testing in simple steps

Conduct browser and device testing: There are many browsers for mobile devices and you need to make sure your layout is compatible with all of them. Additionally, try viewing your site on as many physical devices as possible.

Take inspiration from market trends and research:  Find other responsive websites that successfully execute responsive design so you can get inspiration. 

Essential responsive design tips to follow

Plan ahead 

Before you head into creating a custom website design it is important that you are clear with the overall layout. Professionals highly recommend starting by creating a wireframe, then the visual design, and eventually onto coding.

Understand your users

The way people use websites on mobile devices slightly differs from the way they use it on desktop computers.

Use analytics to know how and why they access your website from their mobile devices. Also, know which elements and pages they access the most.

By collecting this information, you will understand pages and other elements of your website to make readily available on smaller screens.

Optimize images

Images are important elements in website design. They can help website owners to make an emotional connection with visitors and enable them to visualize the products they want to buy. This makes it important to optimize your images for the web.

Make sure navigation is excellent

Navigation is a critical element of every website and is one of the core elements of UX design plan. Good navigation allows visitors to easily access other pages on your website.

The desktop version of a website usually has visible links to all the important pages. However, when viewed on mobile devices, it is ideal to use a hamburger icon and conceal the links behind it.

Also, consider including links to the other pages in your homepage’s text as this will facilitate navigation.

Make buttons clickable on smaller screens

Buttons are very important elements of any website. When adapting your website to smaller screens, you may make buttons smaller so they can fit on the screen. Note that making them smaller also makes them harder to click.

Check out these button design best practices to learn more.

Use microinteractions

Use of micro interactions is one of the latest trends in web design.

Previously, having interactive functionality and animations on business websites wasn’t considered a necessity. But currently, designers pay more attention to user experience and consider animations a necessity.

Include keyboard triggers in forms

Having different forms for different purposes on your website is a given. However, unlike on the big screens, the forms on your website when accessed on smaller screens should be adapted to the size and width of the screen. 

And, therefore, it is important that it ensures of triggering the right keyboard for a specific form input. 

For ex, if a field requires input such as address, name, and email, it should trigger a textual keyboard. If a field requires a number, it should trigger the numerical keyboard. By doing this, you will make your website more mobile-friendly and improve user experience.

Here’s an interesting article on the importance of feedback form design practicesadd link when live

Make a minimalistic design

Over the last few years, designers have stuck to minimalistic design because it has many benefits.

It eliminates clutter, ensures visitors focus on your content which improves conversion rates, and speeds up a website because it includes fewer elements.

Minimalistic design also goes well with responsive web design as it helps the designer highlight important website areas, and makes calls-to-action more appealing.


 

Benefits of responsive design

Given the importance of having a mobile-friendly website design, creating a responsive design for your web pages allows you to reap several benefits as a brand. Some of these benefits are;

Excellent user experience

Providing the best experience to the users is (and should be) the main objective for any business. By making a responsive site, a first-time visitor will easily browse and spend more time on it.

Having a responsive design provides consistency to the users as they have the freedom to explore your website from any type of device. 

“Consistent experience can increase lead generation, conversions, and sales.”

Simple site management

It’s simple! If you run two separate mobile and desktop versions of your website, you will have to manage two platforms differently. You will have to implement separate marketing strategies for each of them, have separate SEO planning for each of them, etc.

With responsive design, however, you only have one website to manage, which is simpler. Obviously, managing a single resource will require less resources and time. 

Improves search engine optimization

Google likes responsive design, and a responsive website will rank higher on its search results. Following are the reasons for it;

- Responsive design websites use one URL and the same HTML. This makes it easier for Google to index a website.

- Users find it easier to share content located in one URL.

- A single responsive website eliminates the need for separate mobile and desktop versions. This helps avoid duplicate content and has positive impact on a website’s search rankings.

Improves website visitors count

By making your website easier for your target audience to access from their smartphones you will get more traffic. This eventually leads to more customers.

Studies show 44% of the Fortune 500 companies aren’t mobile ready yet; making you to stay ahead of competition.

Some top responsive design examples

Dropbox

Dribble

GitHub

Klientboost

Magic Leap

Shopify

Smashing Magazine


 

To conclude…

We hope this guidebook was able to help you understand everything there is about responsive design and its importance for the success of your business. If you need more help with your web design to make it responsive, we can help. 

Simply get in touch with our design experts at support@graphicszoo.com