“Web design is not just about creating pretty layouts. It’s about understanding the marketing challenge behind your business.” —Mohamed Saad
To say web design has come a long way is an understatement. Nowadays, it goes beyond merely creating attractive layouts. To adapt to the ever-evolving needs of site visitors, they introduced responsive web design.
In a nutshell, responsive web design or RWD is a web design approach that automatically allows pages and websites to display (or render) on all devices and screen sizes by automatically adapting to the screen, regardless of whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
Responsive web design was initially defined by Ethan Marcotte in A List Apart. At its core, the approach is all about responding to the needs of the users and the devices they are using.
Case in point: on a smartphone, content is presented in a single column view. A tablet, on the other hand, will show the same content but in two columns. It is important to remember that different screen sizes exist among tablets, desktops, TVs, and even wearables.
Screen sizes are also constantly changing. Therefore, it is crucial that your website can adapt to any screen size, today or in the coming years. This is also something big and small business owners alike need to consider when working on their e-commerce web development projects.
Also, it is crucial to keep in mind that some visitors will be using different features to interact with the site. For instance, some visitors might use a touchscreen. Modern responsive design should also consider these factors to ensure the experience is optimized for everyone.
Is your web design responsive?
A seasoned digital marketing agency will likely look into your web design to ensure people have a great experience each time they visit, regardless of the device they use. Whether they use a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, your site should still look and act the same way.
To help you gauge if you have a responsive web design, check your site using a smartphone. If you see one or more of the following characteristics, it is highly likely that your website is unresponsive:
– Text is so small that it’s almost illegible.
– You need to zoom in a form to fill it out.
– You find it hard to click on navigation bar elements.
– You need to scroll from left to right to see the entire page.
– Images appear out of alignment.
On the other hand, if you check your site and notice the following characteristics, it’s likely responsive:
– Text sections fill the page.
– Design modules are easy to digest and aligned.
– You don’t have to zoom in just to read the menu.
– Forms expand to fill the page.
What are some responsive web design techniques you should know?
Nowadays, responsive web design is no longer optional. Sites need to be responsive; otherwise, they will be left in the dust. Fortunately, responsive web design is now easier to implement. There are a lot of tools and techniques available now that can help ensure you create the best user experience for your site visitors.
Below are some responsive web design techniques you can look into:
Know the rules of responsive web typography
Start the typesetting process by selecting the font-size, followed by measure, then line-height. Keep in mind that there is no perfect combination. The idea is to have text that’s easy to read.
To ensure you have good font size, leading, and measure, keep the following basics in mind:
Your font is too small if:
– You need to concentrate just to read the text
– You have to squint your eyes
– You get the urge to zoom in just to read things
Your font is too large if:
– You can notice letterforms rather than reading the content
– You get the urge to zoom out
– You can only read one to three words at a time
Your text measure is too long if:
– You need to turn your head so you can read the text
– You lose your concentration midway through
Your text measure is too short if:
– Your eyes get tired from bouncing to the left and right
– You feel irritated when the text breaks to the next line
Your leading is too narrow if:
– The text feels overwhelming and dense
– You accidentally read the wrong line of text
Your leading is too large if:
– You get distracted by the white space in between the rows of words
Change the box-sizing
In an HTML page, each of the elements is represented as a rectangular box. It is interpreted by the browser utilizing the standard box model (CSS box model). This model will determine the content of the space that is occupied by an element.
The CSS property box-sizing will define how the box model will behave in relation to its spacing measures and size. The browser’s default is the content-box, which considers the original size (height, width, etc.), added to the spacings (margin, padding, etc.).
What you need to remember when it comes to box-sizing is to ensure all the elements have their box-sizing as border-box. This will prevent the size of all properties from being added to the width defined for the element.
Use SVG for images
SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. SVG is an XML language for describing in vector shape drawings and two-dimensional graphics, either dynamically, statically, or as an animation.
Scalable vector graphics can be incorporated in a website responsively using the object tag. This can be done to provide another image option to browsers that don’t support SVG.
Only use icons where appropriate
When used accordingly, icons can significantly improve a site’s responsiveness in a lot of ways. Appropriate and well-designed iconography can easily replace long bursts of texts. This can be especially helpful on small screens where space is a premium.
Icons can be delivered to a website through the SVG file format. These scalable vector graphics are considered the best fit for multi-device-friendly sites since they can be resized as needed without adding to the images’ file size.
Listed above are basic RWD techniques you can quickly implement in your responsive practice. When starting any responsive work, ensure you get all the basics right. Also, consider it a good idea to start with your content and HTML and take it from there. Once you get all the basics right and you learn more about the practice, there is no limit to what you can do!