Responsive Web Design: What It Is and Why It Matters
Responsive Web Design refers to a website design that enables the site to run well on various devices of different screen sizes with no separate sets of codes required. Therefore, it optimises the mobile user experience by making it more mobile-friendly.
In this day and age, people use mobile phones to surf the internet more and more. It’s the most convenient way to search for information at any time. You can access the internet on your smartphone right away; there’s no need to use a computer or carry a laptop around. Of course, these devices come in different sizes, with different display resolutions, display formats, and operating systems.
In the past, a website’s design needed to be compatible with various devices, which took both time and money to achieve. Later on, responsive web design was developed and adopted to solve these issues and make sites appear well on different devices using the same codes and URL.
Table of Contents
Responsive Web Design Principles
- Fluid grids involve designing a layout for a website using adjustable grids that are not fixed in px (pixel) like other forms but in percentages to enable the sites to work on different devices better.
- Flexible images and media refer to resizing the images (scaling up or down) following the size of the display screen. The dimension will be adjusted for the screen size.
- CSS3 media queries use codes to determine basic style sheets for various sizes of device screens to minimise the repetition of writing codes and allow for much easier editing.
Advantages & Precautions for Responsive Web Design
- Reduces hassle – separate sets of HTML code mean there’s no need for many pages of codes.
- Reduce web maintenance costs – as you don’t need to create separate website displays for PC desktops and mobile screens.
- Websites are mobile-friendly for smartphone users.
- Responsive web design supports SEO on PC and mobile devices and results in better scores and search engine rankings.
- The content can be rescaled and adjusted as desired.
- You should use images and media that suit the screen size to speed up image loading times. If images are too big, they will result in a lower PageSpeed score, negatively affecting your SEO.
- Make sure that your content is the proper length so that it’s not too long and difficult to read.
- Before launching your website, you should run your website on different screen sizes to check for errors.
Responsive Web Design: Step-by-Step
1. Choose a CMS that supports responsive web design
2. Start from the smallest screen size
The smallest screen size is considered a foundation of responsive web design to help you create a proper content layout. It will enable users to read the content and details on your website easily and in the correct order, allowing you to display your content as desired.
3. Carefully determine sizes in relative units
When writing a style sheet, you must consider the sizes of the elements in the layout and where they sit in relation to other details like fluid grid and flexible images and media. You should also set the font size on your website to align with the responsive design.
4. Identify the breakpoints
When creating a responsive website, breakpoints refer to the point at which the format display changes. This happens when a viewpoint (an area of a website visible to the user) reaches a certain width. They allow the content to be displayed on different devices effectively and provide the most user-friendly experience. Once you identify your breakpoints, use media queries to customise style sheets for a particular breakpoint and adjust the display as needed.
5. Set the viewport meta tag
A viewport is a visible area on a web page. Setting the viewpoint meta tag allows you to change the viewport default settings, including the width, height, and scale, so that you can resize your web page without scrolling.
Once you’ve followed all these steps, don’t forget to run your website on various devices with different viewports to check whether your web page works the way you want it to.