The smartphone and tablet markets have exploded over the last half a decade. Every person in your household now has a mobile device – from children with tiny fingers to seniors with poor eyesight. Web design eventually had to adapt to the times, and today, almost every website has adopted responsive design.
What is responsive design?
Responsive design enables a website to provide a pleasant user experience across a broad range of platforms and screen sizes. Although appearance may slightly look different, the content will be easy to view as you switch from a 17-inch laptop to an 8-inch tablet to a 4-inch smartphone.
Responsive web design aims to minimise load times and unnecessary scrolling, panning, or zooming – which can be annoying. A customer is more likely to come back to a website, and maybe make a purchase later on, if the experience is enjoyable.
Here at Jezweb, we always test our web designs to further improve user experience. If you are running an online business, it is imperative that your guests and potential customers get the best experience no matter what device they are on.
What are the benefits of responsive design?
· Save time and effort on one web design for all device platforms.
With responsive design, you only need to build and update one website. This saves time and money for your development team in the original design stage. Later on you can make changes anytime you want and they will all appear in any resolution and screen size.
· Save money.
If you need to build and test several versions of your website, the cost for development, support, and maintenance can quickly add up. Responsive design allows you to optimise your website design for the most popular devices.
· Build a stronger brand.
Some websites created for mobile devices look completely different from their main website. Responsive web design allows you to integrate the look of your website into other devices so they reflect each other.
· More conversions, less bounce rates.
Let’s say a potential customer visits your mobile page. The search box is too small and navigation can be a pain. After only a few clicks, the user will most probably bounce or leave your website. A responsive web design keeps your guests engaged – they will click around your website, look at pictures, read articles, watch videos, and might even make a purchase.
How to implement a responsive design
· Design for mobile
When creating a new web design, start with mobile devices in mind. A website that looks good on a smartphone should also look good on a tablet or laptop. Responsive design trims down your content, graphics, and navigation tools to bare essentials, which eliminates clutter and improves user experience.
· Organise your content
Before you start your design, visualise how your content will look like on the screen. Content organisation is more than just copying, pasting, and dragging blocks of text all over the page. You are telling a story and your content should lead your audience from one important idea to the next.
· Fluid instead of fixed grid
A fluid grid adjusts the size of the elements of your website according to proportion instead of one specific pixel size. When designing a responsive grid, the space is often divided into columns with no fixed width or height. The proportions depend on screen size and can be modified in the CSS code.
· Navigation for mobile
A typical website will have a large amount of text on one side and a ton of categories listed on the left-hand navigation. You cannot cram all these into a mobile display. Remove unnecessary clutter and simplify your drop-down and collapsible menus. Make it easy for your visitor to reach core pages instead of putting links in hidden navigational options.
Sidebars look good on desktops because they have enormous horizontal space. Not so on mobile. Responsive design means creating the quickest path without distractions.
If you are creating a long-scrolling page, help your viewer return to the top by putting a sticky navigation bar at the bottom or top of the screen.
· Make your screens finger-friendly
Smartphones, tablets, and even some laptops are built with touchscreens. Your website should be compatible with a mouse and a touchscreen.
Menus, links, and search fields should be large enough to press with a fingertip. Small buttons are difficult to touch especially for those with disabilities. Don’t put buttons too close to blocks of text to avoid mis-clicks.
· Choose elements to display on small screens
Responsive design does not mean mirroring your main website on another device. Sometimes, you need to leave out or adjust certain elements to achieve the best user experience on a really small screen. Instead of a left-hand navigation menu, design a little button on top that opens into multiple options on an expanded screen, for example.
· Maximise text space
Designing for desktops allow you to be more liberal with text content. With mobile devices, you might need to edit long paragraphs or summarise chunks of text into bullet form to save space.
With small mobile screens in mind, create a web design with readable font size and typeface and appropriate line height. You can use all caps or add colours to make specific text stand out among other elements.
· Resize images
Image sizing can be problematic if you’re designing for mobile. While an image may visually scale on a small device, the original size may lead to slow load times. Optimise all your inline images so they load quickly on any device.
· Embrace white space
Although you want to trim down the fat to make your design more responsive, you also don’t want people to miss the most important stuff. White space allows you to create breaks in your design and highlight content.
· Try WordPress themes
If you’re not a designer and don’t have the budget to hire one, you could use a pre-made template. WordPress allows you to choose from hundreds of free and paid themes that are created with responsive design. All you have to do is update your content.
· Test your design
Static prototypes can only take you so far. At some point you will need a functional prototype to make sure all the elements are clearly displayed and all of your links are working – regardless of screen size.
· Outsource your project
If you are not using WordPress, or if its selection of themes do not suit your business needs, you could outsource the creation of your website to someone who is adept at customised responsive design.
Need quality web design? Newcastle businesses trust only Jezweb
Jezweb is just the company you need! We can help make your website more responsive on any device. As technology continues to evolve, your website will never be obsolete. Share your ideas with our web design specialists so we can build a website that will keep your customers in Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie, and nearby places truly happy.