On February 26, 2015 Google updated a new search features that is focused on mobile and smartphone users website browsing experience- in a word “mobile-friendly web pages” that is actually a perfect responsive web design. The change happened causing a rather vocal reaction in the online community.Whatever your feelings on this change, having some knowledge on this subject may better help you understand the change.
What is a Responsive Design ?
In this day and age, with all the internet browsing done via mobile devices a Responsive Design for your website is vital. Chances of browsing a site trough any device without any trouble are quite small. This is where a Responsive Websites Design comes handy.
The major factor in Responsive Websites is that you can use CSS for different screen resolutions, which adapts the markup of the site to the necessary size of the mobile device
Understanding Flexible Layouts
As technology advances, monitors are getting larger and supporting higher resolutions. At the same time more and more people are viewing web content on their mobile devices. Static web design is no longer a viable option to serve these changing needs. Enter responsive web design.
Responsive, liquid, or elastic layouts allow content to fit any device whether its your large monitor screen, the iPad, the Kindle Fire, or other mobile devices. In simple terms: The width of the content changes depending on the size of your screen.
Strategy Of Responsive Design
— Makes Life Easier, Save Time, and Remedy Baldness
The Facts –
- Around 1.5 billion are using mobile to access the online
- Mobile online users doubles every year.
- 90% of US, Europe and Canada citizens have Internet ready mobile phones and Use regularly
Responsive websites designed for mobile devices make life easier because you avoid all the overhead of creating, maintaining, and supporting native applications for mobile devices. There are many different devices with many different screen sizes made by many different manufactures and all of them may display your website differently. As designers and website owners we always want our visitors to be stunned and amazed with what they see and we want to maintain a consistent experience.
Alas, we are not super heroes with super powers so time and money is limited. Responsive web design is our key to building websites that adapt to the viewing device and its screen size. So, no more pulling our your hair trying to build several different websites (a mobile one, a web one, etc.), just build one that adapts!
Responsive Web Design Magic
Stress, Late Nights, and Baconators Disappear!
Many users use smart phones, tablets, and other WIFI handheld mobile devices to do their web browsing, date, or do some work. The flexibility that mobile devices offer is a blessing in today’s world of hassle and bustle. We have been liberated from the restrictive nature of laptops and personal desktop computers. We should cheer for joy! But in this modern world screen sizes have become very diverse and users are surfing with other devices including netbooks, palmtops, smartphones, tablets, and other handheld mobile WIFI devices.
Each renders the user interface (UI) and layout of websites differently based on screen resolutions and technology differences for every model and make.So, of course, designing websites and applications is now more difficult because of the many considerations to create responsive user interfaces that respond to the uniquely different mobile devices.
We as designers want the web interface to appear in an optimized state, always and without exception. This helps us provide our users with a positive user experience. People that find our website ugly or have a bad experience will just not use our services, recommend us, or like our site. That would be sad. I love being liked.
Thanks to responsive web design (RWD) websites can be developed to run gracefully in different devices. The user interface will adapt to the device and the user will have a customized and personal experience. They may not only love your website but they may praise it! The user can have a great experience and you can save time, money, and hair! No more stress, late nights, and baconators supporting multiple website versions for different devices.
The Know How. You Can Do It!
Responsive web design makes use of Cascading Style Sheets 3, HTML 5, and media queries. Media queries are used to detect the device and custom style the website pages based on the viewing device. The website and its dimensions, fonts, and appearance are loaded into the mobile device. The user interface and layout magically or dynamically syncs making the website automatically re-size and appear in an optimized state for better viewing across different devices
– 6 Things to Focus on While Creating Mobile-Friendly Responsive Websites
With more and more people beginning to use mobile devices, it’s become vital to create highly optimized mobile-friendly websites for your brand. Unless you’re aware of the essential ingredients of a mobile site (along with the best practices and guidelines), you can never expect to provide an amazing web experience to your mobile users.
Given below are six important things that you should always concentrate on while building a mobile-friendly website.
- Goals: One thing that you should always keep on top of your mind is that on-the-go mobile users don’t have the same goals as they do while accessing a website via a desktop (or laptop). If someone wants to check out a website, they would prefer using larger machines. That they’re using their mobile devices is indicative of the fact that they have different goals. To create a mobile-friendly website, therefore, you should always focus on a very small number of user goals (possibly just one).
- Design: You need to take a more practical approach while creating the layout or the design of your mobile website. Don’t go for a design just for the sake of looking pretty to the users’ eyes. Designing should also be done keeping in mind that many of the mobile devices come along with touch-screen interfaces. In terms of design, you should keep these in mind –
– Keep it simple
– Use valid markup
– Make sure the site scrolls in one direction
– Avoid opening new windows or pop-ups
– Improve the navigational structure
- Content: Surely, you can’t include all of your traditional website’s content on the mobile site. Planning the content structure efficiently is vital to match the needs of mobile users as well as fit in with the limitations of the mobile internet. Since most of the mobile device users are on-the-go, they won’t have time to view detailed pieces of content. Apart from cutting down the content (to significant value points), you should also eliminate images (that don’t fulfill any specific purpose) or resize (if they are truly vital) them.
- SEO: Mobile website SEO is not entirely similar to traditional website SEO. Before you publish your mobile site, you should never forget to make sure it’s optimized for better mobile search rankings. Always place the most important piece of your content towards the top. Many of the traditional website on-page optimization techniques or best practices will apply to mobile SEO. Make sure that the total page size doesn’t exceed 20 kb. Create an m-dot URL for your mobile site (i.e. m.yoururl.com), so that Google indexes it through their mobile-specific crawler called “Googlebot-Mobile”.
- Branding: Don’t ever forget to unify your branding efforts via the mobile website. Since your customers know you, not living up to their expectations would only ruin the image of your brand. Simplify things, while maintaining consistency of your message. Don’t forget to use your company logo and colors that your customers can quickly identify with. Also embed links to your company’s social media pages.
- Customer Feedback: This is an essential part of the testing process. How users like your mobile website (in terms of functionality and usefulness) is much more important than how it’s overall design appears on mobile devices. If you want to make sure whether your mobile website is truly user-friendly, customer feedbacks can prove to be your most valuable tool.
Responsive Website Designing
– 8 Problems With Solutions
The main objective of a responsive web design (RWD) is to make the visitors having the same look and feel of the web pages without any disturbance whether it’s on the desktop or the Smartphones.However, web designers often face many difficulties in creating responsive web designs. What are those problems and what are the possible solutions. This post will cover the topic in depth.
Problems With Responsive Web Design
The concept of responsive web design isn’t new, but still is in the evolving stage. What Website Designers have to face is the changing code frameworks, scripts, and the landscape of devices. It’s needed to develop new ways to work with the clients to create a responsive web design. The major problems with a responsive web design include the following:
1. How Tough It Is To Explain RWD To The Clients?
The older linear process of designing websites was meant for easy understanding of the clients. The stages that a client has to pass through include
– Structural planning
– Pixel perfect visuals
It’s a fluid process; however, the other tools are more powerful. The best way to show the clients the strength of a responsive web design is to show them the design in action. Comparing the responsive web design with a non responsive web design would be the most effective way of convincing a client.
2. Missing The Static Design Elements
To make a responsive web design, little change is needed in the old static design. Designers stress more on quick sketches, rapid HTML, wire-framing, and CSS for browser based designing. All this is replacing the static screen-shots.
There can be a great difference between the processes and the work-flow, but what works best, is the best. It’s recommended by experts to design in the browser while making use of HTML earlier and then Photoshop and Fireworks to create smaller design elements instead of full layouts.
For bigger projects, wireframing can be the need at each step. It’s advised to use wireframe widgets so as to deal with the clients with great flexibility and providing them with solid input as and when they need that.
3. Navigation Issues – Common With RWD
Gone are the days when the navigation menus were there at the top or bottom left of the web page in a horizontal manner. However, it needs to be reconsidered to appeal to the targeted visitors of a website. It seems to be a tricky question to be solved for enhanced user experience.
Consistency in the web design can help in resolving the navigational issues. The decision should be taken on the basis of informational structure as well as the content the website will have. Before implementing any demo, it’s better to check how it will work for the site under construction.
4. Handling Images – The Scrappy Issue
Just like navigation, handling images in RWD has been quite scrappy. Due to the missing functionality, the designer is left with the personal choices of the scripts. It’s important for the designers considering the next generation devices having density displays of high pixel.
To make the images responsive, there are some good solutions (if not the official one). SVG graphics, CSS sprites for retina resolution, scripts, and icon fonts are the better ones.
5. Data Tables – Complex Information Creates Problems
It has been determined from the responses obtained over the data tables that larger count of columns and rows make the tables problematic. To present the whole information on a small screen device is a big challenge that is there to disturb the web designers.
There are several resources available regarding responsive tables that one can go for; hiding the unimportant data (in accordance to the viewing device of the visitors) is also a good way to keep the tables less complicated.
6. Old Fixed-Width Sites – Conversion Is Tough
Designers find it tough to convert the old fixed-width sites into the responsive designs. As the RWD is different from the old fixed layout, so coding is performed in a less flexible manner. The options can be two: reverse engineer the current templates and also the style sheets, or a Greenfield rebuild.
Surveys say that the possible solution to the problem of old fixed-width sites is greenfield rebuild of the style sheets and the templates. Reverse engineered coding is also good due to limited choice. Normally, the older sites don’t need the mobile-tailored design or a different structure of the content. For bigger sites, it’s easy to rebuild than reversing the code.
7. Dealing With Users Having Older IE Versions – It’s Tough
The main issue with older versions of IE is no support for CSS based media queries. It means if there is the mobile first technique used in the web design; the layout won’t appear well on the desktop-based browser. All it will result in a small screen layout onto a big screen.
With new IE versions, a designer has to consider the older versions as well to create the responsive websites. There are many options to do that; including polyfill in the pages. For the mobile friendly websites, not carrying respond.js script, it’s easy for the visitors to have a mobile view of the website. The best advantage of using this solution is the accessibility of the content.
8. How To Test And What To Charge?
A designer may have several questions in the mind, like how to test or what should be the devices to test with. The cost of the RWD is another big concern. For freelance web designers, it’s not easy to test the web design against certain devices, other than those personally used.
Sharing the testing devices with others is a good way to go. It might not be good for online designers, but locally, it can be done perfectly.
Responsive Development And Optimization
– Google’s affection for “Responsive Web Design”
It hasn’t been too long that the Responsive Web Design dawned upon us and look who’s become its endorser – it’s none other than Google!
During , 2012 it had come out in the open with an approval of Smartphones optimized sites and 2015 Mobile friendly search update confirms the future of responsive web. The recommendation from Google, actually came out like a precursor to its acceptance by the mobile audience. It supported websites with similar url’s (having similar names) containing the same HTML, while employing the Cascading Style Sheet to deliver the web pages on every device.
But why such an endorsement? Let’s look at some finer details as to why Google has chosen it.
Reason1: Key Pages pull more links
Quite naturally, single url for every webpage would bring in more links to it, in comparison to a higher number of versions of a single page. Therefore, if your mobile website is one which is exclusive, then some links would be invariably diverted to it, hence weakening the impact.
Reason 2: Sharing becomes easy
Being transported to the mobile version of a site is not appreciated by many. In most circumstances, it will resize the window of your browser. The design or the experience cannot be similar to the desktop versions.
An everyday thing like tweeting to a famous website, like The Guardian will somewhat look like , which will not look too good on a desktop computer (larger screen) as the site doesn’t take any pains to detect the device.
Therefore, while looking at a website on a mobile that takes up mobile url’s, you’d share such a link more easily as you’d know people who’d look at it won’t get a device friendly version.
Whereas, in this very scenario reading a website on a mobile would become less and less enjoyable, hence sharing would soon lose its meaning.
Reason 3: Indexing is easy
One of the known alternatives to a mobile site is building an application that grants you the same information. The only limitation is that Google doesn’t index applications, so it won’t be able to locate it. Apart from that any content by the user that gets added to the application will not be indexed too, so that too doesn’t do any good to the site.
On the other hand, a RWD would fit reasonably well into a mobile display like an application would. Besides, the content can be indexed by the search engines too.
Having said that, it can’t be said that having an application is going to be a bad idea. A renowned website like Amazon has got a mobile version of its website as well as an application- that has the same data.
Also, a RWD needs lesser crawling as its single url is needed to be found out only once. So, no distraction for the search engine and Googlebot is surely happier.
Google had clearly stated this fact. And it is enough a testimony for everyone.
Reason 4: Multiple devices
The fact is nothing can be said about what the future holds. Speculations are rife over the fact that iPhone 5’s screen would be bigger than its erstwhile counterparts. So, does that mean a new website layout should be built for it ?
Therefore, a Responsive Web design is the only key. It would scale the site according to the size of the display window, so device sensitivity could be taken care of aptly.
Reason 5: They are more attractive
Quite naturally a single sized website that fits into every screen is bound to look better. It would contain all the content, a site has to offer and fits in appropriately. So, your beautiful website that you had so painstakingly built would not lose its sheen and would look as it is.
Responsive Web Design FAQ
– Note that this is still a work in progress!
Your world is going to be rocked, teetered, and dumped on its side. Before, web pages could be designed on paper, building blocks put in place and they could be visualized before being coded. There was linear structure…and it was comforting to be able to have everything in its place. Something out of place? Change your code, change your widths and heights, change your alignment. No more…different devices will view your page differently. How….what….?
Why are the navigation buttons, ads, and other building blocks to the web page in different places on different devices?
Each of your building blocks will adjust to the size of the device it’s being viewed from. This means your header menus will stay at the top, but your ads may slide to the side….or even to the bottom of your content. Content will hopefully be given the priority it deserves, since your focus is to engage your reader quickly. We all know how particular buyers and info seekers can be – don’t get their attention in three seconds and they’ve hit the back button.
IE versions up to 8 may have issues with viewing responsive web design pages.
Why do my picture resolutions look different?
(this may be an issue, unsure at this time)
There are going to be some things to consider with images. Will high resolution photos be sent to every user? That can eat up bandwidth and increase load times. Low resolution photos will not look good on laptops and some tablets, which will be a majority of users.
How do I code in my pictures and links to look good on different devices?
Short answer: Instead of giving parameters defined by pixels, it will have to be set by percentages. You’re working with a starting 100%, now divide by how many pictures you want in a row. Also give room for wiggle. 3 pictures – 30%; 10% is left as your buffer zone.
How Do I Test My Responsive Layout On Different Devices?
I don’t own one of everything!
True, most people do not own all the different devices. Some people have only and will only shop from their laptops or home computers. There are tools online that enable you to test your web page’s layout with different devices. This, dear reader, is a brilliant, wonderful thing.
Check out the links here – Mobile-Friendly Test
Online users are increasingly using smart phone devices and Google’s new search algorithm is now favoring mobile-friendly websites. In online where every deal is an important , it’s worth responsive design effort to review your web properties again & determine all the mobile and responsive design related updates is running in your blog or websites.
Do you have a mobile version of your company website? If you have more tips on building highly effective mobile sites, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.