5 keys to responsive web design

Freddie Cook Design, Digital Agency, Digital Marketing, web design, Website Comments

Web design and digital marketing has changed and evolved quite a bit over the still short history of the internet. Do you remember the days when web development was in its primitive stages? When websites were just scrawling masses of text and information, with little to no interactive content, endless scrolling vertically and horizontally, with little thought given to screen aesthetics or ease of use?

Websites got quite a bit better around and after the turn of the new millennium, but given the proliferation of smart phones and mobile devices with internet access and other mobile devices, web designers are faced with the challenge of not just making a palatable web design for one platform, but for many, while also being conducive to social media management.

These 5 tips for responsive web design will help you make a website that is easy and enjoyable for users to use, whether on their iPad, phone, or computer.

Build your site for mobile and scale up

It can be challenging to develop a website for a mobile platform. The screens are smaller and the functions are typically more limited. But if you build a solid responsive web design for a mobile instrument, you can scale up from there to create your tablet and desktop computer designs based on the mobile version.

If your key graphics are visible on the mobile device, they will be visible on the desktop as well. But you avoid all sorts of challenges scaling upward from the smaller devices to the large ones that you would otherwise encounter trying to downsize a site design from large to small.

Start with the layout

Before you do any coding, it’s probably a good idea to put your site layout together first. This particularly holds true if you are building the website for a client, or for someone other than yourself. This way you can get the look and the feel of the site before you put the time into doing the html work. If you code as you’re building the layout, chances are pretty good that by the time you are finished, or before, you will want to make changes to the layout which will cause you to have to rework your coding. This simplifies that process, and makes it less likely that you are going to have to go back and do some of the same work twice.

Do not scale your images

If you’re setting up a site on different platforms you might be tempted to simply scale the images up or down to match, but this can create image resolution problems and cheapen the look of your layouts. Instead, you’ll want to create optimized images for each layout. Use exact image measurements, taking advantage of GIF, JPEG and PNG-8 file formats. Take time to make sure your images are modified to match your layout to give your website the best appearance possible.

Don’t do anything extra

There is a tendency among amateur web builders to want to include a lot of information on each layout, especially if it is your own business. But the truth is, you really don’t want to do that. The best websites and the most responsive web designs are designs with a minimum of text, and with fewer images. The more complicated a website is to navigate, the more oppressively dense the information is on the screen and the less likely it is that the user will want to spend anytime on your site.

That is not a recipe for success. Include only the information that is vital. But if you do have a lot of information that you have to have included on the site, include it on other pages. Make sure that nowhere on your website do you have chaotic collage of information that makes it feel like work for the user to explore. Always put yourself in the shoes of the user.

Make sure it’s navigable

There is a tendency among amateur web builders to want to include a lot of information on each layout, especially if it is your own business. But the truth is, you really don’t want to do that. The best websites and the most responsive web designs are designs with a minimum of text, and with fewer images. The more complicated a website is to navigate, the more oppressively dense the information is on the screen and the less likely it is that the user will want to spend anytime on your site.

That is not a recipe for success. Include only the information that is vital. But if you do have a lot of information that you have to have included on the site, include it on other pages. Make sure that nowhere on your website do you have chaotic collage of information that makes it feel like work for the user to explore. Always put yourself in the shoes of the user.

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