JANUARY 1, 2022
8 min read
To put it simply, responsive web design means a website that can change and adapt to different kinds of devices users have today — phones, laptops, tablets, or whatnot. Why has it become the topic of interest for modern businesses? Because billions of people access the internet every day now. And most of them do that all on their smartphones.
Let’s have a look at some statistics to understand the scale of that trend. The number of active internet users worldwide is approximately 4.6b — that’s almost 60% of the global population. And almost 93% of them (4.32b) browse the web via mobile phones. In general, there are about 7.1b mobile users worldwide (while the total world population is 7.8b). These numbers are predicted to grow.
What do users do online? They make purchases, pay for various services, communicate — actually there’s almost no limit to what you can do on the web today. That’s why companies and business owners should give special consideration to responsive web design. If your customers can’t access your services in the most user-friendly manner — they’ll find someone who provides them with such an opportunity.
As DashDevs has been providing web and mobile application development services for over 10 years now, our experience will surely be helpful to everyone interested in the topic of responsive web design, its purpose, benefits, and tricks. So keep reading to learn all about the most effective web development approach. This information will help to retain, attract, and satisfy customers, which consequently will lead to profits growth. Let’s get it started!
What Is Responsive Web Design in Programming?
Let’s first give a more detailed responsive design definition so you have a clear idea of what it is.
This is an approach to web design that allows making web pages adjustable to various gadgets and screen sizes. Otherwise speaking, a website can re-optimise itself so it looks equally well everywhere. Like, literally, everywhere — starting from small phones and ending with big computer monitors. This may sound simple but, in fact, such a solution requires the diligent work of highly-skilled specialists.
The thing is, the site doesn’t just dwindle away when you access it, say, on your phone. It adapts perfectly to your display size and even its orientation so that you see everything well and can tap or click with no trouble. Interestingly, very often a site can even change the whole layout. All to make your user experience great!
5 Essential Components of an Effective and Responsive Website
Here’s what to obligatorily keep in mind when working on the development of a responsive web design. This will certainly help to improve the user experience.
1. Optimised images. Even though the internet connection is as fast as never before today, image load-time is still a big concern when it comes to the responsiveness of a website. DashDevs recommends using tools that reduce the file size of images you upload without quality loss. It also helps save users' nerves as they don’t have to wait for ages until the site is loaded.
2. Whitespace. Padding and margins are also essential elements of every well-designed site as they make browsing and reading more comfortable. Make sure they don’t disappear, especially when users access your website on a smartphone.
3. Intuitive navigation. No user wants to do guesswork visiting a website. They want to quickly find what they need without moving back and forth. A good user-friendly menu is what helps to reach that goal.
4. Calls to action. This is a simple and, at the same time, genius tool of how to make navigation clear — attract customers' attention by call-to-action buttons like ‘Register’, ‘Get Free Trial’, ‘Buy’, etc.
5. Branding. Site elements that indicate your brand should be visible no matter what the screen size is. This is extremely important for every business if it wants to be recognisable and distinctive.
What Is the Purpose of Responsive Web Design?
Primarily, there are many reasons to implement responsive web design. More and more business owners choose it because it helps solve a lot of problems. DashDevs has outlined the main ones:
Improved user experience
This is, of course, the main purpose of responsive web design so far. Your customers won’t stay long on your website if they have to constantly zoom and pinch the page. In a best-case scenario, they’ll just leave and forget about your services. In the worst, they’ll get irritated and annoyed. As a result — negative impressions, bad reviews, no recommendations, and no return customers.
Let’s dwell on e-commerce a bit. This is buying and selling goods and services over the internet. This business model is incredibly profitable today — e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $5.4tr in 2022. Notably, over 230m of Americans make purchases online today. All of them want to see your products well on their screens. By the way, if you need a good example of how popular e-commerce is today — have a look at Amazon. About 200m people visit their site each month. Do you think they would achieve such success without responsive web design?
Pros and Cons of Responsive Design
There are lots of responsive design advantages which certainly outweigh its drawbacks. However, it’s important to mind both to be able to enhance strengths and diminish possible issues.
What Is Good About Responsive Web Design?
1. It’s cheaper. It’s much more cost-effective to invest in responsive design rather than develop separate sites for computers, phones, and iPads. Moreover, not only the design and development are lower-priced. Post-maintenance is also less costly as there’s no need to maintain three versions of one website.
2. It’s SEO-friendly. That’s simple — when you google something, the search engine wants to send you to the most relevant and useful website. When a visitor opens it and then leaves immediately because they don’t like it, Google remembers it and might not show your site next time. In short, your bounce rate increases and your rankings decrease. That’s not good if your purpose is to satisfy customers and make a profit.
3. It’s easier to share. Marketing buzz in the age of Instagram and Facebook can bring you lots of new clients. Responsive web design allows easy social sharing on any of the platforms. Furthermore, when such links are opened by new visitors, your content is more readily viewed. It increases interest and trust.
4. It leaves competitors behind. Just think of it — you have an effective and responsive web design and your competitor — doesn’t. Who do you think a customer will choose, given that your services are equally good?
5. It expands traffic. More users — more traffic — more chances Google will show you to new potential clients! It’s all interconnected. By the way, here’s mind-blowing statistics — a user-friendly design and clear navigation can boost website conversion rates by up to 200%.
6. It’s easier to collect analytics. To develop and improve your business, you need to gather and analyse website usage data. This is much simpler and less costly with one responsive web design — you just don’t need to collect data from multiple reports.
What Are the Cons of Responsive Web Design?
1. It may take longer to load. This usually happens when mobile users open a website that contains lots of content and images. It all needs time to rescale and adapt to the size of your screen. However, if your internet connection is okay, it won’t last longer than 3-5 seconds, which, all in all, isn’t that much.
2. It requires longer scrolling. Similarly, it concerns websites with lots of data on a page. As most of such sites stack content vertically, users have to scroll more and may even miss a part they’re looking for. Still, you should just understand that the abilities and the size of your phone are not endless.
3. When it breaks down, it doesn’t work on all devices. Again, sites go down. This happens from time to time because there are just factors you can’t influence or control. Thus, when a responsive site goes down, users can’t access it until the problem is fixed. By the way, this is the reason why some businesses choose to develop different sites for different gadgets — they want to make sure their services will still be accessible no matter what.
4. It may not work on old versions of a browser. It might sound crazy, but some users don’t update their browsers or operating systems. This is the biggest issue for responsive web designs — they simply don’t work, say, on Explorer 4.0.
5. It may create difficulties with resizing advertisements or banner ads. The thing is, ads usually come in a variety of fixed sizes. But responsive layouts imply the ability of images to be repositioned and rescaled. Therefore, you’ll have to look for solutions to place ads correctly.
As you see, the drawbacks are minimal and rarely cause big issues. But as they say — forewarned is forearmed.
Responsive Web Design Tips and Tricks
The modern responsive web design methodology is still evolving. New approaches and techniques systematically appear. The experience developers and designers have today is truly massive. So you have everything to create a space where users would be glad to interact with your brand. Just stick to the following tips and tricks.
- Learn how customers use your site. This is a great idea to survey your clients and use analytic tools to learn what pages and services they’re accessing the most and why. Maybe they’re looking for your contact information a lot? Or want to read about the refund policy? Build your design going by the results of your research.
- Plan your design. It’s usually better to start with a wireframe and then the visual configuration of the site. DashDevs advises creating a few prototypes so that you can test them all and define which one works better and meets users' demands.
- Consider mobile in the first place. One of the most useful responsive design tips is to build a mobile version of your design first. When you make sure all the data and elements are placed well on smaller screens, there should be no problem with bigger screens as well.
- Optimise typography. Avoid decorative fonts because they’re extremely hard to read, especially on small screens. Simple legible fonts are preferable. Also, paragraph lines should be wide enough — the 1.25 to 1.5 range is fine. It’s also recommended to limit your colour choices.
- Use themes. For example, Thesis or Genesis. They save lots of time, helping to build the most user-friendly and customised website that corresponds to all your needs.
- Keep it short. Even on desktop versions which often allow more text. The minimalist approach “Less is more” is certainly applicable here. Don’t make users read words they don’t need. Help them find what they come for faster.
- Remember about updates. Gather feedback from your clients and think how you can improve the existing version of your responsive web design.
How DashDevs Can Help Make Your Web Design Responsive
The future of responsive web design is still not that clear. Many experts claim websites should become screen-independent. But what’s certain today is that if your site is optimised for both desktop and mobile users, maintained, and regularly updated, it’ll surely serve well for both the current and next generation.
If this is your purpose and you’re looking for specialists to help you develop responsive web design or just require a professional consultation or guidance, you’re welcome to contact DashDevs. We have over 10 years of experience in delivering software products able to satisfy customers' demands in a variety of industries.