You must have heard the word ‘Responsive Website Design’ before but not sure what it actually means. A responsive design does not only mean to have a website that opens ‘properly’ on various devices with different screen sizes. It is much more to that – a science that most of the web development companies fail to focus on.
Think of it like this – the text and images that is shown on your web page is like ‘water’ and the hundreds of lines of coding and programming that wraps up the content of the website is like a ‘plastic bag’, while the desktop, smart phones and tablets which are used to access a website are like ‘containers’. A perfect responsive design not only ensures that the plastic bag full of water takes the shape of the container in which it is inserted, irrespective of the shape and size of the container, but also makes sure that other crucial elements such accessibility, preferences, sustainability and scalability are also taken care of.
Some of the key principles of a comprehensive responsive design which are often overlooked are listed for you:
1. Prioritizing Elements – One of the first and foremost step is to understand, identify and plan the elements that your business should include or exclude from your responsive design approach. In terms of accessibility, a Smart Phone user of your website is entirely different from the user browsing your site on a Desktop device. Your web pages have got to deliver the core message to your potential user in a span of few seconds. To achieve this, your responsive design strategy needs to include only the most crucial and scientifically preferred ‘call-to-action’ components while accessing your website especially on smaller screen-size devices.
2. Fluid Grids – The orthodox method included pixel-based design and development. However, with the mobile devices coming in, the methodology gradually changed to percentage based coding that defines the values of the width, margins and padding properties within the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). In simpler words, the new style of coding should be used to define various components of a web page to adjust automatically in the form of grids to occupy and align as per the device screen size.
3. Fluid Images – As the name itself suggests, the media components i.e. images, animations, videos, audio players etc. that may be displayed on a Desktop version of a website are defined in the CSS to resize and scale down as per the smaller screen size of the device yet not losing on the visual appeal and legibility of the content material. This also helps in better user-experience by loading the pages faster on smaller devices which usually have slower internet speed as compared to desktop/laptop devices.
4. Media Queries – From June 2012, W3C declared a recommended standard for Media Queries which is a content rendering module that adapts to device-centric-specifications. These Media Queries are present in all browsers on all devices which communicate and provide conditional data fetching based on the resolution of the device it is accessed from.
5. Guidelines Compliant – Google has laid-out a list of guidelines which is considered as the industry best practice for responsive website design. Complying to these guidelines not only ensure that your users get a unique and seamless online experience but also helps with ‘mobile indexing’, a term used by Google to identify and rank websites which are completely mobile friendly under the Search Results.
Therefore, focusing only on the ability to align a web page on various devices will not fetch you the desired results of reaching out to your potential users. It becomes even more imperative that an effective responsive website design strategy addresses all these principles.