You often hear us refer to responsive web design, but do you really know what it is? Designing a responsive website is based on the idea that users browsing a website on various devices ranging from desktops to mobile phones will be presented with a cohesive website experience. While users on desktop will have a larger view, those on mobile should be able to have a similar experience at a smaller scale.
There are 3 key elements that allow for your site to adapt to multiple devices: fluid column-based grids, flexible images, and CSS media queries.
- Fluid grid - We use Twitter Bootstrap as it allows us to develop highly responsive sites geared to devices of all shapes and sizes.
- Flexible images - This allows for images to be contained into their space without distortion or flowing outside of their containing element.
- Media queries - These are rules in CSS that allow for the ability to manipulate content based on screen size or width of browser.
Browser Consistency and Device Compatibility
Creating consistency throughout all browsers is a core part of designing a responsive site. Not every user is equal, so creating a design that allows users to get a similar experience on any device is necessary.
When designing a responsive site, you must look at each design knowing that it will be viewed on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. This is where device compatibility plays a huge part in responsive web design. Each device will have a set of rules that increase or limit your viewing area, so thinking about and planning for that functionality in the beginning stages of design is crucial.
Use White Space to your Advantage
If your site design has too many elements crammed into a space, it can’t breathe. Adding more white space allows for the user to really take in your content and not feel overwhelmed by all of the things you’re trying to feed at them at once. It also gives room for your content to grow and shift without causing any issues.
Navigation plays a huge role in responsive design. It needs to be very intuitive and create a path that helps your users find what they’re looking for without too much clicking. It also needs to be just as easy to use whether on desktop, tablet or mobile layouts.
Optimized images help with the speed and load time of your site. This allows for those using mobile devices with slower connections or with minimal data plans to use less bandwidth when visiting your site.
These are the key elements that come into play when designing responsive websites. All of our designers are well-versed in responsive web design. The next time you’re reviewing your site, ask yourself, is this tablet and mobile friendly? If not, give us a call; we’ll be glad to help!