Think about your daily interaction with digital devices: the amount of times you view a website on your mobile device and then on your PC screen. Would you agree that some websites display differently on your PC when compared to your mobile screen? It might be a change in layout, size, or images – the changes are so easy on the eye that you don’t even notice them. This is because of responsive design.
Responsive design takes into account the different sizes of the devices we use today. If a website is designed responsively, it will adjust proportionally to any screen size on any device. Here are five important things you need to know about responsive design:
Responsive design is NOT Mobile design
Responsive design is “whole web design” and should be able to adjust to the size of a mobile phone. Still, this doesn’t make it a mobile site.
Mobile site: A mobile site is created and coded for the purpose of showing specific content to mobile users.
Responsive site: A responsive site simply “responds” to the device it is shifting to and will align to the device’s screen size.
Flexibility and grid
Grid, photos, type – everything should be flexible and able to adapt to the screen on which it displays. Most responsive grids include versions for at least three different browser widths:
- 768 pixels or more
- 480 to 768 pixels
- 320 to 480 pixels, as well as versions for tablets and mobile devices.
Image size and quality
There needs to be a balance between image quality and load time. Rather choose fewer images for your responsive design, as this will eliminate the risk of slow loading time. You can:
- Limit images in mobile-sized frameworks,
- Use multiple versions and file sizes,
- Hide certain images in mobile environments.
Type must be responsive
Typography should follow the same guidelines as the rest of your responsive design. For websites, 50 to 75 characters per line are considered ideal, but that drops to 35 to 50 characters per line on mobile devices.
Navigation is key
The key is to keep the design simple and easy to understand at any size. Users must be able to grasp quickly how to use a site for it to be effective.
A website is central to any business. It is the first stop people will take when looking for information about the services and products you offer. Chances are, these potential customers will be searching your business via their smartphones… You can imagine their reaction when they land on your website and discover that it is less user friendly than the websites of your competitors!
It’s time to emerge from the Dark Ages of website design. Have a serious chat with your website development team and discuss the ways you can become responsibly responsive.