Creating a responsive design for your website is very important today. Not only that the world is going digital, but we are frequently using different devices of varying screen sizes – laptops, PCs, tablet and mobile. For many of us, we have at least two different devices that serve our particular purposes.
Before, this is not the case. Sure, you may have a phone and a computer before, but you use them differently. Apparently, there’s no mobile internet before, so you purely use your phone for texting, calling and perhaps, as a camera tool. This is clearly not the case today – we use our different gadgets for mainly the same reason (usually for Internet browsing).
To address this phenomenon, designers decided to make their web design responsive. By adopting responsive web design, websites can fit into different screen sizes that smoothly matches the sizes they’re on. If done correctly, your website becomes usable regardless of what device it is viewed on. There will be no cut-out images, no super large menu buttons that takes 75% of your mobile screen because the website adopts to the screen it is on.
Responsive web design is not only advantageous for your visitors. It is also advantageous for designers, business and website owners. If you don’t intend to create totally separate website designs for different devices, then it is better to adopt a responsive design because it will be cost-friendly – in terms of money, time and effort – in the long run.
However, designing a responsive web design is not an easy task, especially if you are new to this. It will take some planning and understanding before you can create a responsive web design that really enhances your website’s usability.
Below, we are going to talk about 7 tips that you can use when you are making a responsive web design. These tips will apparently not give you all the tools you need when making responsive designs, but they will give you a form of mental framework when you make your responsive design.
7 Practical Tips When Designing a Responsive Web Design
1) Understand how your visitors use mobile design
Users use desktop website and mobile website differently, and this goes beyond practicality and availability – that mobile is more available than laptops and PCs.
Because mobile screens are considerably smaller, this affects how we use websites when viewed mobile versus when it is viewed on a desktop monitor. This partly explains why we prefer apps (if available) than its website counterparts when we browse through our mobile device.
But of course, you don’t need to develop an app for your website. Instead, figure out what your visitors commonly use and do when they are browsing through their mobile device. Once you found a pattern, you can optimize your responsive design for that.
2) Think mobile
One way to think about crafting your responsive design is by simply reversing-thinking it and thinking it from the mobile standpoint from the very beginning. Once you’ve figured out how to sort your website in a small screen, it will be easier for you to sort them out on larger screens.
3) Carefully plan your design
Once you got insights on your user’s mobile use and have a basic layout for mobile design, it’s time to plan out how you’ll integrate your design across different platforms.
You will need to consider many things, such as:
- How to optimize images
- How to keep the website’s basic function without them interfering on small screens
- What elements to cut out and what to keep
- How to provide the needs my mobile users look for
Remember, the ultimate goal of responsive design is usability, so one tip: when planning, always think about if responsive design is “usable” on smaller screens. The goal of responsive design is usability, not just shortening things out to fit on small screens.
4) Make you web design touchscreen-friendly (for monitors)
When we think of responsive design, we mostly think of small screen sizes, but screen sizes should not be the only factor when thinking about responsive design. Because monitors and laptops are using touchscreen technology nowadays, your website should adopt to touchscreen for laptops and monitors as well.
5) Decide which elements to include on smaller screens
Just because your desktop design have plenty of elements doesn’t meant your mobile design should have the same amount of elements. Remember, desktop and mobile design are used different, so design them accordingly – in other words, they can be different!
Going back to #1, observe which elements are commonly used by your mobile users, but observe elements which are less used by your mobile users as well. If the element is practically non-essential (meaning, removing it will not hurt your website’s usability), considering removing it to minimize the load of your responsive design in mobile devices.
6) Decide on how to fit your elements on smaller screens
Once you’ve decide which elements to keep and which to cut out, consider how to fit the elements you’ll use in a small screen. In a way, this is part of #2 – thinking mobile. Think in terms of visuals – make sure your menu will not eat most of the screen! At the same time, make sure the usability aspect is still there.
For example, while you don’t want an oversized menu button on small screens, you won’t want it so small that it’s hard to press it on the device! Make sure that visuals and usability goes hand-in-hand.
7) Test it out!
Once you’re done, simply test it out and see how it works. Your responsive design should be used with ease. Of course, if you spot any problems, make adjustments accordingly until you’ve reached the level where it’s good to release it to your visitors and users.