No matter how great the content on your website is, you can’t just scale it down to make it fit on a smaller screen. Responsive web design is all about providing a satisfying user experience for mobile devices. The point is to redesign the web content and make it suitable for mobile platforms. In order to do so, you will face many challenges and terms like media queries, mobile-first and so on. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. On this list, you will find the dos and don'ts of responsive web design, and make your way through the world of modern responsive design a bit easier.
DO use responsive web design
The purpose of responsive web design is to provide the best user experience on every kind of mobile device. The purpose of responsive web design is to respond to the user’s behavior. The best way to go is to choose a theme, mobile template or a design that is adaptable to a wide range of devices. That way there will be no need to make changes on two versions of your site (mobile and desktop) because the same URL and code are used for every version, and the display will adapt to the size of any screen.
DON’T clutter the design
If you want to provide great user experience you need to think if all the features on your site are useful and necessary. There are so many elements that can suffocate your website and make it confusing, starting with unnecessary sidebars and numerous navigation planes. It’s not an easy process, but if you want a clean and functional design you’ll need to get rid of at least half of the items. Always think about what the user really needs, that will help you figure out what should be excluded from your site.
DO go mobile-first
If your priority is the mobile version of a website, then you should definitely design it with mobile-first in mind. That means you shouldn’t create a desktop site and then scale it down for a mobile device. What you should do is to create a responsive website for mobile devices, with all the features needed, and then adjust it to other, larger devices as you go. This means bigger devices may need larger images, and as you move towards the desktop version you should think about more mouse-friendly navigation.
DON’T abandon content for mobile
Ditching content in order to make it fit on a smaller screen shouldn’t be an option. No matter what device your users are on, they must be able to see the same content everywhere. There are ways to format the same content differently. One of them is a hamburger menu- a menu icon with three bars, usually placed at the top of the screen. If you want to keep your design clean the hamburger menu is a great option. Also, you can always use the already mentioned mobile-first strategy for designing your site.
DO keep it light and fast
No matter how fast the mobile network on your device is, it will never come close to the speed of desktops. With that in mind, you need to make your mobile-friendly site light in order to keep it fast. One of the things you need to focus on is the size of your images. The images must be optimized for a responsive website. There are ways to make your images adjust to all screen sizes automatically, and make the loading time shorter. As a result, the images will look flawless on any screen size.
DON’T neglect designing for touch-screens
Taking in consideration that most mobile devices are touch-screen, the users are expecting this function to work when visiting your site on their mobiles. Not including that option forces the users to visit the website on desktop, and most of them just won’t do that. Mobile users should experience the complete functionality of your website as they would on a desktop. Although designing for touch reaches out of the boundaries of responsive web design, it should definitely be considered.
DO use the fluid grid
Creating fluid layouts will surely contribute to the responsiveness of your website in the best way. Your customers can access your website from any device, so you need a layout that will change correspondingly, depending on the screen size. The fluid grid sizes page elements in percentages instead of pixels. So for example, if you have two grid columns next to each other on a bigger device, they will stack on top of each other on a smaller device. By using fluid layout in your RWD you won’t have to worry about the screen or device size.
DON’T make tiny links
Using fingers to point things on a mobile screen can sometimes be super clumsy and frustrating. As pointed out by Nirmal, a reliable Web Design Agency from Sydney, finger-friendly design should make things easy for mobile users. It’s important that links on your mobile website are big, simple and easily pushable. The body font size should be at least 16px, and the line-height at least 1.4. Also, there are touch targets which should provide more precise touch.
In responsive web design you will encounter many new rules that can seem a bit limiting at first, but once you figure out the basics of it, you will discover there are many exciting new options you wouldn’t find on a regular desktop site. With the rise of mobile devices, along came a multitude of new tools and possibilities. Be sure to use them in your design, and create a great experience for your visitors.