Responsive Website, or Responsive Web Design, has now become a buzzword. Why? Do you carry your PC or laptop with you everywhere you go, like everywhere? No, right?

So, what do you use if you have to browse the web or check some websites? Mobile phones or tablets! Now, imagine having to zoom in, zoom out, scroll right, or scroll left to browse a website which otherwise would have been displayed perfectly on your PC.

Or how would you feel about distorted, weirdly placed images and content on a website? Like the picture we just painted? No, right?

This is where responsiveness comes in. And when we say a website has a responsive design, I mean that the website's layout fits the screen's resolution perfectly, be it your PC, tablet or smartphone. And voila, you get an optimal viewing experience, irrespective of the screen size of your device.

Besides an improved UI/UX experience, mobile responsive websites further:

  • Helps with increased traffic
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Improved SEO, and
  • Attract a wider audience.

We don't need to tell you that you need a responsive web design; the word is already out. With various benefits that responsive web designs offer, including Google's affinity to rank it higher, it has become a no-brainer that brands need their websites to be compatible with mobile devices.

However, it is normal to get confused about where to start and how to make sure you have reached your ultimate optimization point.

Do not worry, because we are here with some splendid responsive web design techniques that will help you make the best out of your brand website.

Smart, Responsive Web Design Techniques to help your brand grow

In this blog, we will discuss how you can take a mobile-first approach to responsive web design. Let's get started.

1. Eliminate friction

A responsive website's main objective is to enhance user experience on their preferred devices and help them achieve their primary goal. Thus, the first point to consider while creating a responsive design is eliminating friction that restricts users from achieving their goals.

Users' primary objectives may be purchasing a product, hiring a service provider, while the secondary objectives could be signing up for a newsletter, signing up, etc. You have to gauge that goal and make sure to eliminate any friction that slows down the process. 

E.g., if you are creating a mobile eCommerce website, create a one-page checkout, and only enable multi-step checkout for desktop eCommerce websites. 

2. Design for thumb 

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While desktop websites operate on clicks, users interact on the mobile version via taps and swipes. Another significant difference between mobile and desktop is that a mobile user uses his device in hand, while a desktop is placed on a surface. These specifications impact the way UI designers design UI elements that users interact with. 

Consider the following tips while designing for mobile:

  • Users expect the desktop navigation to be at the top. However, when it comes to a mobile device, thumbs don't reach the top of the screen comfortably. Thus, the primary navigation should be at the bottom.
  • Since it is harder to get to the sides and corners of a mobile screen with a thumb, other interactive elements of your website should be oriented to the centre of the screen.
  • To attract the users' attention and guide them to take the desired action, keep the height of essential links and CTAs at least 44px. 

3. Leverage mobile devices' Native Hardware

Remember that responsive web design is not just about making it all fit. It is also essential that it adapts to the capabilities of the device. As it is easy to use cameras and perform other micro-interactions on mobile devices, specific actions become easier on smaller screens. 

Make the most of the mobile devices' native hardware to facilitate processes and optimize the user experience.

Here are some examples of how you can leverage the hardware:

  • Top-up/ credit card scanning, since forms are often uncomfortable on mobile, while cameras are easily accessible.
  • Sharing photos on social media becomes simple as the files are already on your phone.
  • Two-step authentication is a click away, as the phone is in your hand already.
  • Checking analytics and stocks becomes quicker and more comfortable as mobile devices simplify information.
  • Using voice search to find something on the web. 

4. Make the layouts fluid/adaptive by default

You can expect all the users to maximize their browser. Therefore while designing, you need to consider the devices' responsive breakpoints and account for the actions that take place in between those breakpoints.

You have to use these responsive breakpoints to reflow the content and the layout to a new device. To account for the sizes in between, the layout has to be fluid and adapt to the screen's size it's being displayed on automatically.

Keep these responsive web design tips and techniques in mind when designing fluid layouts:

  • Use a percentage of units to keep the elements fluid.
  • You can set the minimum and maximum width to enable the “don't go smaller/bigger than this” scenario. 
  • Use SVG images as they can be scaled up or down without compromising the quality. Unlike JPG and PNG files, SVG images are resolution-independent.
Tutorial on Fluid Layouts

5. Consider the landscape orientation

Now that we are through with the responsive breakpoints let's consider how those mobile viewpoints can be displayed in the landscape orientation as well.

At the time of implementation of a fluid layout, the content will become adaptive automatically. It may cause you to lose a significant amount of portrait viewpoint, which will impact the usability and accessibility adversely.

When it comes to the landscape view, navigation is good; possibly even better as users can navigate using two thumbs. However, scrolling often becomes harder. It is a big problem since users have to scroll more in the landscape view. 

Thus it is crucial to consider the landscape viewpoints as well.

Pro Tip: You can display the elements that stack vertically on mobile as sliders with left and right navigation buttons, eliminating the need for users to scroll at all.

6. Keep the typography responsive

You heard it right; typography can be responsive too.

Typically web or UX designers use pixels as units to design websites. However, with different devices and different resolutions available in the market, one pixel doesn't mean one point anymore.

For example, the iPhone X has 458 Pixels Per Inch. As the pixel sizes are getting tinier, we can achieve crispier graphics in the same physical space.

While Apple calls it “Retina” technology, Android calls it “HDPI”. Owing to this, images with the same pixel can be bigger or smaller on different devices depending on their resolution. How to solve this?

Web developers use “em” units to define font sizes. It is a responsive unit where one em equals one point. You can leverage tools like Zeplin, InVision, Marvel, etc., that will help you collaborate with developers on matters such as this, that are best handled with coordination.

7. Leverage conditional loading

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Despite significant technological advances, some website elements are still not made for mobile users, and even if they are, it is not worth the excess cognitive load. Mobile websites are expected to be simple and clean, and therefore, hiding some elements is not a bad idea.  

At the same time, you have to ensure that the browser resources and bandwidth are not getting wanted by loading these elements even when they're hidden; hence, the best practice is only to include these elements in certain conditions.

Again this can be achieved with coding, and designers can make sure of the page performance by communicating the specifications, including when and where some elements should and shouldn't exist.

Summing up

We have found that 94% of website visitors judge it based on its responsiveness, and up to 60% of people use their smartphones to browse on the internet. Thus, to keep up with the industry's demand and impress your consumers, you must optimize your site for mobile devices and improve website redesign process to take your business to next level. 

These techniques for responsive design will help you take your design a step further and eventually drive more traffic to your page. So, without further ado, utilize these techniques to create a best in the class responsive website. Or you can make use of responsive web design template, or frameworks for responsive web design to create a responsive website.

For any website related requirement, contact us. From responsive website design to responsive CSS and mobile website design, we are right at your service!

Frequently Asked Questions

Responsive web design techniques include using flexible grids, media queries, and fluid images to ensure websites adapt to various screen sizes and devices.

Responsive web design (RWD) is a design technique that enables website content to adapt and display effectively on screens of various sizes and devices. It achieves this adaptability through flexible grids, media queries, and CSS, ensuring an optimal user experience despite the device used to access the site.

Responsive web design techniques are helpful because they ensure that websites adapt and display effectively on various devices and screen sizes, providing a better user experience and reaching a broader audience.

There are primarily two types of responsive web design approaches:

  • Fluid or Liquid Layouts: Elements on the webpage adjust proportionally with the screen width, creating a flexible design.
  • Adaptive or Breakpoint Layouts: Design elements are optimized for specific screen sizes or breakpoints, offering tailored experiences for various devices.