Responsive Website Design: Know the Fundamentals

Responsive Website Design: Know the Fundamentals

23rd, October 2021
  • Responsive Website Design

Almost each and every client we handle demands for a mobile version of their website. Gone are the times when people used to use laptops and desktops for browsing any website. Mobile compatible websites have now become the basic necessity of every business to increase their customer base. And why not? Over 50% of website traffic is derived from mobile devices.

With new devices launching almost every day, it’s merely impossible to keep up with the numerous new screen resolutions. Imagine you have to design a website for several screen sizes and resolutions. Did you like imagining it? Of course Not. It is the worst nightmare for every designer to create separate web designs for different devices. 

Now think of a website that is well-structured and looks and works just the same on every device. Doesn’t this sound amazing? Well, one sure short thing is that no one develops different websites for different screen resolutions. Then what exactly is it?

Well, this is responsive web design: Responsive design is something that makes your website look good on every device available in the market. A responsive web design company is highly in demand because every business needs a website that is highly responsive to all devices. 

Well, there are many benefits of a responsive website, but before that, what is a responsive website? Read the detailed description further to know more. 

What is a responsive website?

It is pretty imperative for websites to load and immediately adjust according to the prevalence of website browsing from various devices like mobiles, desktops, and tablets. Earlier the only solution was to create multiple stylesheets for different devices. Now, you can create a single stylesheet that can serve on multiple screen sizes with responsive web design. 

With responsive design, you will have less code to look after, and it reduces the hassle of serving different stylesheets for every device. However, it still uses the regular practice of detecting the device of the user first. 

Responsive web design is an approach where the web designer creates a website that adjusts the web pages according to the device. In this, design and development respond as per the user’s behavior and environment. This technique is a blend of flexible images, flexible grids and layouts, and fine use of CSS media queries. 

For instance, if the user moves the website from laptop to iPhone, the website should immediately adjust for image size, resolution, and scripting capabilities. Briefly speaking, the website should have the ability to respond automatically according to the user’s device. 

This reduces the need to develop different websites for each new device launching in the market.                                                          

How does a Responsive Website Look Different from a Traditional Website?

The reason for having a responsive design is to have a single website that resizes itself according to the screen size of the device in use. If you look at a traditionally structured website, when you open such websites on a smaller screen, you need to scroll sideways to look at the elements that are hidden from your sight. This becomes frustrating at times. This is because the website is not compatible with the device in use. 

It becomes more frustrating with the tablet as the content can be viewed either in portrait or landscape orientation. With mobile devices, navigation becomes even more difficult as the website may be difficult to view on a tiny display. This may increase the load-time, and large images may break on small screens. 

With responsive website design, the tablet or mobile version may adjust accordingly and display only one or two columns, making the website content easy to navigate and display.

Instead of getting the content cut off or spoiling the layout, the media files and font sizes adjust accordingly, maintaining the attractive layout and user-friendly interface. Hence, improving the user experience of the website. 

How Does a Responsive Web Design Work?

The base of all the responsive web designs is the use of fluid grids. All the page elements except the pixels are sized properly by proportion. Let’s say you have multiple columns in a website; when we talk about responsive websites, you will plan how wide one column will be as compared to the others rather than determining the width of each column. 

Images or other media files are resized as well so that the image can stay within the column or the particular design element. The website first detects the device it is being viewed on and then adjusts accordingly. Thus, taking the website development towards progressive enhancements. 

Advantages of a Responsive Website Design

1. More mobile traffic

Over half of the traffic to the top websites in the US comes from mobile phones. Therefore, it is important for companies to understand the importance of a responsive website. It renders on small screens efficiently so that the users can use the website on any device. Even though some businesses still choose to have separate websites for every device, responsive websites are essentially becoming important in today’s time. 

2. Development at lower costs

Making a responsive website takes less money as compared to developing a separate mobile site with a standard desktop website. Since we are developing only one website for all the devices, thereby saving a huge amount of money. Even if the initial cost of developing a single responsive website costs you more than creating two standard websites, it will save you money in the long run, saving maintenance costs, special configuration costs, etc.

3. Lower Maintenance Needs

Maintaining a separate mobile website demands additional support and maintenance. On the other hand, the process of responsive website design uses standard testing techniques to ensure the same look and performance on all the screens. Having two different sites also requires two different content strategies, development teams, and two administrative interfaces. Therefore, responsive websites require low maintenance and are cost-effective as well. 

Disadvantages of a Responsive Website Design

Since it is said that every coin has two sides, everything that has certain advantages will have some disadvantages as well. The same goes with responsive website design, and here we go with the disadvantages of a responsive website design.

1. Slow Page Loading

Though maintenance of responsive websites is easier, it takes a long time to load the page. Responsive websites include some high-resolution images and videos that sometimes take a longer time to load the page. 

2. Tough Navigation

Responsive websites are specially designed to adjust to small screens. But developing large websites for smaller screens sometimes becomes difficult. This is because small screen sizes have lesser space, which makes the website difficult to navigate on small devices. 

3. Time-consuming Development

Responsive websites have become a necessity of today’s rapidly growing industry, but developing a responsive website takes more time as compared to developing two standard websites. This is because, while developing a responsive website, you will have to optimize your website for almost every device in the market, ensuring a good user experience for the customers. 

Following were the strengths and weaknesses of a responsive website design. Now that you know the basics of responsive websites, we will discuss the essential principles to be followed to develop a highly optimized responsive website. 

Major principles to be followed for Responsive web design development.

There are many things to be taken care of when it is about responsive website design and development. Some are insignificant yet essential, whereas some are the foundation of the whole design system. There are three crucial principles that bind a responsive design as a complete package. Although some other principles should be included in the play, these three are the core of a responsive design. These are the concepts that bring comfort and convenience to user experience by meeting desktop or mobile device’s needs successfully.

1. Fluid images

Fluid images are the images that scale in order to fit into the respective container. The most simplest way of handling fluid images is by utilizing CSS command, img { max-width: 100%; }

This command notifies the browser about how an image should be maximal of 100% of its pixel value. It should be scaled according to the container. The reason behind the ideas is, even though when a container outgrows the image size, images are bound to remain the same. The command prevents an image from stretching when the screen size is bigger than the image. It shows the quality of the image and eliminates the degradation. 

Well, you can use images with higher pixel density which is another option. You can have an image larger than the screen size, which is twice as wide than the container. It limits the stretching and provides your users with clear images, which is a plus point for any website out there.

2. Fluid grid system

In older times, people had printers and physical copies to read in the absence of the internet. So when the internet came into existence, designers took the same path for developing pixel-perfect pages. The size, the display, and the width, everything would be carefully measured and pre-determined. 

Nevertheless, with the inception of responsive web designs, the idea started fading away. The reason is acceptable as absolute sizes do not work when it comes to responsive web designs, but relative sizes can be used. A fluid grid system needs target size and context in order to define the relative size, and once it is done, you can see the magic!

3. Media queries

You know that responsive design can fit in any screen size, but do you know how? Well, thanks to media queries which are responsible for altering the layouts  in specific situations. So, this concept can be used when the screen size is rearranged. You might think that this is where one uses the ‘mobile first’ approach. True, because once you know what you want on a mobile site, you are ready to scale up. 

Designers and developers can use a series of CSS commands for various ‘breakpoints.’ This is how layouts break to mold themselves into particular screen sizes. A designer needs to contemplate the content in order to note where breakpoints happen and plan them accordingly. In due course, a designer is capable of predicting the breakpoints on the basis of the screen resolution of any device. 

Remember that framework is something critical to consider, and it is better to work out with the existing framework for responsive web design projects. You can look for one online to find a free version and download which suits best to your design requirements.

To sum up, keep in mind that there is more to responsive web design services rather than just reading. The best way to get it right is by consistent practice and guidance. The internet is filled with an enormous number of design ideas, so do not hesitate to look for help. If you think you are bored with existing ideas, find one of your own and work on that idea to turn it into reality. 

This blog can be helpful to a layman or a novice designer entering the giant world of creativity and dedication. Believe it or not, catering to manifold devices and focusing on better users’ experiences will stay here for a long time. Designers should fasten the seatbelts to enjoy the ride as long as there is learning, unlearning, and relearning of responsive website designs.