Responsive Web Design

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With the increase in the number of users that access websites via mobile devices, the need for optimized, mobile-friendly content has grown as well. It is estimated that about 51% of users engage with the web through mobile platforms as opposed to 42% that engage via desktops. This has caused the growth of other such platforms such as the Amp Project which simplifies web pages and streamlines loading on mobile devices. 

Accordingly, developers realize that their website designs have to function optimally, not just on desktops, but on mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones. It is a hassle and next-to-impossible to design separate, different versions of the same website to be compatible with the various types of devices out there. 

That’s where Responsive Web Design comes in.

Responsive web design is so important, that Google is preferring responsive website in mobile search more and more. They even off a “check your website tool” to see how mobile friendly your website is. If Google and the search engines want you to have a mobile-friendly website, you better have one. Without a mobile-friendly website, you are hands down, losing business. This is why so many local businesses in the Sacramento area are making the switch with a website redesign.

What is Responsive Web Design?

So what exactly is responsive web design?

Responsive Web Design is a widely-used design method that proposes that websites should be designed and developed to respond to the environment and behavior of a user based on the device it is accessed from, screen size and orientation.

A responsive website adapts to the device used to access it by a visitor, whether a desktop or a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet.

A website built using responsive web design methods re-sizes content and multimedia, like images, for a range of different screen sizes and adjusts the screen resolution as well. This ensures the website functions smoothly and efficiently regardless of what device it is accessed from, providing the best user experience (UX) across all screen sizes. Responsive web design also takes into account screen orientation, with websites designed to have the capability to adjust as one switches from landscape to portrait or vice versa.

The web designers with Brenan Greene in El Dorado Hills are trusted experts on responsive web design techniques that will ensure that your user experience (UX) is optimized on all available media platforms out there. Our web design and development professionals employ responsive web design methods that ensure that content loads fast without sacrificing content quality and integrity, no matter what device your website is accessed from.

Key Elements of Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design entails much more than just adjusting screen sizes for different devices through your website design. This approach to web design utilizes fluid grids and layout, CSS media queries and flexible images. Let’s explore each fundamental element of responsive web design to get a better idea about the guiding design principles that a typical responsive website follows:

Flexible Layout Using Fluid Grids

Responsive websites utilize fluid grids instead of assigning fixed pixel values to various elements. In other words, as opposed to specifying a certain fixed width of each element, percentage values are assigned so that the website scales to adjust to different screen sizes. Every element on the webpage is coded in relative, proportional terms to the base element.

CSS Media Queries

Media Queries is a CSS3 module or technique that allows a website developer to present content in a manner that allows it to adapt to various output device types. Media Queries are a combination of media types (such as print, screen, tv, handheld and projection) and media feature(s) that include color, orientation, aspect ratio, device minimum and maximum height, device minimum and maximum width, resolution etc.

If, for instance, you want text to appear smaller as a website is accessed on a smaller screen, you will add media queries that will customize your font size to be a certain standard size, unless the device-width is less than a certain width, in which instance the font size is set at a smaller size to accommodate for the smaller screen size. You can use multiple media queries on a single style sheet.

This is one our favorite parts about CSS3 and how much you can customize a websites mobile experience. 

Flexible Images

You can have a fluid and responsive layout but in order for a webpage to render quickly and properly, you must take into account the tricky issue of images. Images have to be flexible so that they can scale up or down as needed between different screen sizes. It would suck to view a chopped image on a smaller screen because it is not flexible to scale.

One popular solution to this problem is to use the CSS max-width media feature that enables an image to scale so that it can be viewed on all available platforms. This is a basic, quick solution but it does not necessarily take into consideration image resolution and download speed times. You can also use image size reduction software like TIny JPG to reduce the file size of your image which will help your web page load faster.

There are also many plugins for WordPress Website Designs like Imagify and WP Rocket that will help load your websites faster. There are other optimal solutions that Brenan Greene in El Dorado Hills offers that ensure that images render quickly and clearly, no matter the device.

Some Best Practices for Responsive Web Design to Consider

#1 Consider Hiding or Showing Content

In some instances, it is not necessary to display every single piece of content that is available on a large, desktop screen to also be displayed on a smaller screen. You have to decide what content makes sense on differently-sized platforms. The good news is that this can be easily accomplished using CSS {display: none;} very simple.

Also, consider using a simplified navigation panel for mobile screens as well as using lists and rows instead of columns

#2 Think Small AND Big

It is easy to incorrectly think that Responsive Web Design is to only optimize mobile web user experience (UX). Yes, more and more people are accessing the internet via mobile platforms. However, this does not mean that desktops users have become extinct. People still use their desktops and laptops to access the websites so you must plan for scalable responsive web design for both small and large screens.

Using the “Mobile First” approach, design first for small screens and then add components and elements as you move up to larger viewports.

#3 Find Balance Between Rich Multimedia and Performance Speed

Of course, you want your high-quality images and videos to retain their high resolutions no matter the device platform in order to allow for a rich user experience (UX). However, you do not want high-quality visuals at the expense of the webpage’s rendering speed and overall performance. A good responsive web design takes into consideration both the speed of rendering and quality of visuals by finding the right balance between the two.

Consider all images and do not hesitate in removing unnecessary images as you switch from a larger to a smaller screen. Also, shrink the resolution of images on smaller screen sizes to allow for an optimized user experience (UX).

These are just a few ways you can ensure that your website is responsive

Brenan Greene in El Dorado Hills design experts use tested, well-trusted and successful responsive web design techniques to ensure that your website renders and performs optimally on all available devices. We service the Sacramento area, designing and developing responsive websites on Magento, WordPress and other popular platforms. Contact us today for all your responsive web design and development solutions!

Give us a call today or fill out our contact form if you have any questions!