The Beginner’s Guide to Effective Responsive Web Design

responsive web design

With responsive web design, your website and its pages can adapt and offer the best experience to viewers, irrespective of the device they use. For that to happen though, your website needs to have a responsive design.

So, what exactly is a responsive web design and how does it work?

Keep reading to find out, and also to learn some strategies to implement responsive designs on your websites and other web pages.

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design, also known as RWD design, is a modern web design approach that lets websites and webpages display (render) on different devices and screen sizes by automatically adapting to the screen – whether it is a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a desktop.

How does responsive web design work?

Responsive web design works via CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), using multiple settings to serve different style properties depending on screen size, resolution, orientation, color capability, and other features of the viewer’s device.

Why responsive web design matter?

Responsive web design relieves web developers, web designers, and user interface designers from working constantly to create websites for every single different device. Here are a few other benefits:

  •       Optimal viewing configuration: whether viewed on the screen of your Android phone or a 27-inch iMac, the website will be automatically configured for the viewer’s optimal viewing pleasure.
  •       No need for redirects: designing for multiple devices usually means the use of redirects to send the viewer to the respective version of the web page. With responsive web design, there is no need for redirects and the user can access the content, as quickly as possible.
  •       Ideal design for each device: based on the screen size the user has, all fonts, images, and other HTML elements will be scaled appropriately, maximizing on each screen.

Responsive web design is also beneficial from an economic perspective. Additionally, it is easier to manage because it is one site instead of two. You do not have to make the same changes twice. Instead, you just need to work on and update a single website.

How to implement a responsive web design?

Now that you have understood what responsive web design is, its benefits, and why it is important for business owners, here is a small guide on how to make the necessary responsive design changes to your site.

1.       Adopt a fluid grid

Earlier, most websites were developed based on pixels. However, not the focus has been shifted to using a fluid grid. Rather than making the elements on your site in one specific size, a grid sizes them proportionally. This makes it easy in responsive web design when it comes to sizing things for different screens. The different elements on the screen will respond to the size of the screen (the grid), not the size in pixels.

Also, a responsive grid is divided into columns, and the widths and heights are scaled. Nothing has a fixed height or width. Instead, the proportions vary depending on the size of the screen. By modifying your website’s CSS and other codes, you can also set rules for this grid.

2.       Allow for touchscreens

These days, even some laptops are equipped with touchscreens. Therefore, it is necessary to create responsive web designs with both touchscreen and mouse users in mind.

For instance, if you have a form with a drop-down menu on a desktop view, try styling the form in a larger size so that it is easier to press with a fingertip. Also, remember that the tiny buttons are very difficult to touch on smartphones. So, try to create images, buttons, and calls to action that display clearly on all screens.

3.       Include only essential elements on the small screens

Responsive web design does not mean duplicating your exact website from one device to another. The ultimate aim is to deliver the best user experience. This means that you need to leave some things out when designing for a small screen.

Responsive websites often compress their menus and navigational options into a button that can be easily opened with a single press. The menu may display as an expanded version on a large screen, but on a small one, it can be opened through this single button.

Again, you can customize your website and set unique rules for your responsive web design. You can include or leave out certain elements by modifying the website’s CSS or other codes. It may seem like a long and tedious task, but it will definitely create a valuable customer experience.

4.       Give importance to images

One of the most challenging aspects of responsive web design is image sizing. You need to create special rules in your CSS that will determine and distinguish how images are displayed on different screens – whether they appear in full width, or are to be removed, or should be handled differently.

5.       Try a pre-designed layout or theme

If you are not a professional designer, then you may need some extra help in converting your website to be responsive. Or you can easily create a responsive web design by using a pre-designed layout or a theme that does the work for you. This means that all you have to do is update colors, content, and branding to match your company’s needs.

For instance, if you use WordPress or the services of a WordPress Development Company, you will get several free and paid themes that are already responsive. The same holds for several leading eCommerce platforms that offer ready-to-use themes on their site.

6.       Outsource your website development project

If you do not already use WordPress or some other hosted eCommerce website, it might be difficult to locate a pre-designed responsive web design to use. Or you may be looking for a design that matches your unique requirements or company branding. Well, you can always hire someone to develop something unique and customized for you.

A web design and development company like GetMySites has immense experience in using responsive web design for websites. In fact, all the websites we design are responsive right out of the box. This means you do not have to worry about redesigning your site to be smartphone-friendly (unless you specifically request).

Wrapping Up

Responsive web design is not a fleeting trend or a simple preference. It is a long-term strategy that you need to smartly invest in. Screens and screen sizes will continue to evolve and your website needs to be compatible with every browser irrespective of the device. With responsive design, your site will always be prepared, no matter what new things come along.

We hope these tips on making your website responsive will help you along. But if you think these are too technical for you, or you need expert advice on responsive web design from a human voice, reach out to us. Our web design experts would love to hear your ideas and help you develop strategies for your web development needs.

Get My Sites is a full-service web development and web designing company. We do much more than just a responsive web design and can provide you with everything from email marketing to SEO. We would love to hear from you.

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