10 Developer Tips To Build A Responsive Website
Are you asking yourself what a responsive website is and why you need one? Before we address this, we must first address the issue of traffic to your website. Today most traffic to websites comes from mobile devices. The average Smartphone user consumes almost four hundred megabytes of data on their phone per month. And this number is increasing every month. It will be a grave mistake to assume that all this data is used on social media and watching videos of cats; some of it comes to your website. Now the questions you must ask yourself include; what experience do these viewers get and how can I improve that?
This is what responsive design is all about. It is a web designing technique that enables web content to be easily adapted for access on mobile computing devices. The issues that need to be considered with mobile devices are that the screens are much smaller and processors are much less powerful than desktops. If your website is not designed to be responsive to the needs of mobile traffic, you lose a lot of opportunity for enhanced visibility. This is because now most people consume online content from mobile devices.
Here is how can you best employ responsive design in your website;
Responsive website design is focused on the creation of simple websites. Simplicity is in three forms; scripting methods, content format, and layout of the website. This means that you should avoid scripting languages that are designed to be accessed from desktop browsers only. The content on the website such as video should be supported by mobile devices. The layout of the website means that you should focus on enabling easy navigation and content access over all. Mobile screens are smaller so you can’t afford to waste space on unnecessary features on the page. Cluttered design just repels mobile users.
2. Use pictures carefully
Resizing pictures on a web page can be a challenge. This usually leads to mobile devices showing blanks or pictures too small to comprehend. Therefore, use the adaptive sizing for pictures which are necessary and remove the rest.
3. Use media queries
Media queries are scripting tools that check the resolution of the device your website is being accessed on in order to determine the width to show. These tools enable the site to easily reconfigure its dimensions to the typical resolutions available on most internet accessing mobile devices.
4. Define the limits of the page
This implies that you should have a minimum and maximum page size scripted into the page’s coding. Failure to do so leads to websites that shrink too small or blow out of proportion for different devices. This renders them unusable.
5. The layout of your page must be flexible
This means that the website should be designed in a manner that allows the website to fit into any layout or orientation as may be required. Flexible grids organize content using columns, which are much easier to restructure.
6. The content, when viewed from mobile devices, should be linear
For easy viewing of a website on mobile devices, all the content should be arranged in a single column. This enables the user to access the web content by only scrolling up or down. Design that fails to do so becomes cumbersome due to the small size of mobile devices.
7. Define the breakpoints for the page in sets
Breakpoints refer to the style sheets used for displaying a website on a device. The style sheet employed by the website response to a mobile device should have a much lower width than that of the desktop version. The range is: devices with resolution below 480 pixels, between 480 – 768 pixels, bigger than 768 pixels. There should also be special resolutions which are below 320 pixels for low end phones, between 768 – 1024 pixels for tablet devices, and more than 1024 pixels for very large desktop devices.
8. Make content on the website inherit from one defined unit
Make the content on the website size itself relative to each other. This is done by creating the standard reference point. This is an object within the page that determines how the other objects resize themselves in different layouts.
9. Disable mobile browser desktop emulation
Mobile browsers may sometimes insist on showing the desktop version of the website. This hinders the design functionality. Therefore, check the Meta view port in the devices used to determine which browsers insist on such and disable this feature.
10. Remove all content that is not essential
Desktop websites allow the addition of interactive and fun content meant to engage the viewer. However, on mobile devices this content is hardly necessary or relevant. It is unlikely your viewer will play flash games from the mobile device. Therefore delete all this content in the mobile version of the page.
An avid blogger, Sandy Pardal is a Creative Director at WebStartToday, which is a responsive website builder that helps users to create a free website. Web Design and Online marketing come to him as a deep passion. He likes to experiment with websites, track their performances and share his insights with readers.