Do you own a small, medium or large business? Or are you a freelancer of sorts? Well, if you’d like to further grow your business in these high-tech and truly competitive times, perhaps it’s time you have your own website built! According to standard definition, website design refers to the creation or design of websites that are displayed on the Internet, and usually refers to the user-experience aspects of website development. But, if you’d like to have a website that connects with your visitors, and provides a holistic user experience, perhaps you need a “responsive” website! Here’s a look at the core values and principles of responsive web design.
What’s it all About?
So, what is a responsive website? And what does it feel or look like? According to website design experts, responsive web design is actually an approach which makes sure that all the pages of the site look, feel and work perfectly (and seamlessly) on any device.
This means that the website shows up, and functions normally, on a tiny old mobile phone or a 7-inch tablet, a large iPad with a screen of 320px, a laptop, or even a smart TV which has a massive diagonal line! All of the website’s main aspects including content, design and functionality must also consistently perform to provide users of different devices with a top-notch user experience.
Originally, the concept of responsive web design was created to target certain devices or gadgets. But, with the advent of new technology (and with the evolution of the mobile web) responsive web design made websites more “flexible” and is now able to stretch or shrink the site to fit any device screen.
What Are its Major Perks?
Responsiveness in website design offers a lot of benefits to both users of different devices, and for website owners. Its major perks include providing a consistent visual experience, better user experience, no need for redirects, lower bounce rates, lower maintenance requirements, high webpage loading speeds, no extra charges for creating and maintaining different versions, and easier analytics reporting.
But, while responsive web design has its perks, it has its share of flaws or drawbacks too. Among the downsides include the fact that it’s not fully optimized, it can slow down performance, it may suffer from web browser incompatibility, it makes it more challenging to do marketing campaigns, and depending on the device it makes it tough for users to do different things.
What Are its Core Principles?
To get a better feel of what responsive web design is all about, let’s take a look at its essentials and core principles. For starters, the idea behind it lies in creating a flexible website whose design and content behaves like water. This means that the website must fit with different types of “containers” or devices.
With responsive web design, all the elements and aspects of the site undergo certain changes or alterations to make it feel comfortable in whatever screen size or device the person is using. If necessary, the web designer shrinks the site to fit or match into smaller spaces or screens.
They can also stretch the website to allow it to occupy larger screens (like that of desktops and large smart TV’s). This means that every aspect of the website automatically scales up or down to match the device.
The key point of a responsive website is to understand that its major task is to provide or offer a comfortable and seamless user experience for anyone, regardless of the device used. Achieving this goal requires ensuring a certain level of accessibility, maintaining consistent functionality from one device to another, and ensuring good readability as well as a proper visual experience.
What Are its Key Features?
Now, let’s delve a little deeper on the more technical aspects of responsive web design, although I have to admit that I’m not a web designer (Although I asked for help with this segment from veteran web designers and developers).
According to researchers on responsive web design, four key or main features are still considered as the major pillars of this concept and these include: Flexible Layout, Flexible Images, Media Queries and Responsive Typography (which is crucial because in web design content is still king).
Those four major features need to be considered, and incorporated, if only to create a truly responsive website. So, if you think you can do it without one or two features, well think again because you couldn’t manage to provide a truly flexible and high-quality user experience without incorporating these 4 features.
Web developers and designers also need to take into account device orientation, because most folks love switching from portrait orientation to landscape in a jiffy. It’s here that flexibility comes in handy, and the four key features mentioned earlier are essential to ensuring that web designers create a truly responsive (and adaptive) website!
The concept of responsive website design has actually existed and lingered around for decades already. However, web developers and designers only began noticing its benefits during the mid-2000s, as more and more people started using mobile devices for connecting to the Internet.
Initially, web designers struggled and faced daunting challenges towards making sure that their web creations looked attractive and useful on desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. Eventually, they found out that flexible layouts were required; thus they created websites which “responded” and snugly fit into the device of users.
Today, more and more people access the Internet via smart phones and mobile devices, with traditional desktops and laptops falling to second place. This means that if businesses and retailers (as well as freelancers) don’t cater to the needs of mobile users, then they are going to literally become extinct! So, every business should embrace the tenets of responsive web design!