While responsive web design has always been a vital part of web development, today, more than ever, responsive design is more than just fad applications; it’s more about practical usages. Responsive design may not be a huge deal when it comes to your normal PC or laptop, but with more people relying on the connectivity provided by tablet technology or web enabled smart phones, responsive design has never been more important.
If you’re having a website built or you’re new to the web design industry, you may be unfamiliar with the term, responsive web design. To be brief, responsive web design is the art of building a website that is intuitive as to the device accessing the website and allows the website graphics to be scaled to the size screen the accessing device uses. This allows the site to be shown in a longer or a more narrow format in order to accommodate smaller viewing screens. This type of design is beneficial as more people are using tablets and smart phones to browse the Internet.
While responsive design is common in today’s web building industry, there are certain aspects of this type of formatting that separates the good designers from the bad. That’s why if you’re looking for this type of design built into your new website – or you’re looking to get into the web design business – you’ll want to know the Best Practices of Responsive Web Design.
The Simple Approach
The Need for Compression
Regardless of what device your website is transmitted to, compressing core elements and images is always a good idea. However, when your goal is to increase the responsiveness of your site this compression is vital. Fortunately, applications like GZIP allow you to compress your entire site in order to transmit your site, even when you’re dealing with low bandwidth. In addition, removing page breaks and excessive white lines within your text will help to make your compressed site transmit even faster, even with the slowest connections.
Edit Your Content
Some features of a site were never meant to be used with mobile applications, and they never will. For that reason, to prepare your site for mobile viewing, you’ll need to remove unnecessary content. Many clients can get very nervous at this point because they may feel as if their sacrificing key elements of their site to accommodate mobile access. Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent changing your site and how it is viewed by everyone just for the sake of mobile access. By simply adding a .not_mobile to elements of your site that are difficult for mobile viewing, or are not important to mobile viewing, these elements won’t appear when your site is accessed by a mobile device, such as a tablet or smart phone.
There are many aspects of responsive design that are tricky, but few present as much of a challenge as images. Once again, there are handy applications that help allow for substantial flexibility for your website images. In the past, you were required to format images in multiple breakpoints and then store those breakpoints in order to fit different screen sizes. While this was time consuming, it was fairly easy. The real problem that arose with this method of website responsiveness was that when encountering low bandwidth or bad connections, transmitting multiple breakpoints could slow things down considerably.
However, there are many new applications that run with minimal impact to your site and are intuitive in detecting the screen size of the device that is accessing the website. Once the size is detected, the application then re-sizes the images to fit the screen in combination with the rest of the website. This allows for unparalleled flexibility of your website’s images and it is exactly what one would expect from responsive design.
These are only a few of the practices that you will want to incorporate into responsive design. However, at the heart of everything that you do for a client or what you as the client wants from your website, effortless access and navigation of the site is paramount. You can’t afford to let things slow down access to your site and exclude mobile access or worse yet, make mobile access difficult. With responsive design, you will have a website that can detect a device that is accessing the site and format the site to give the viewer, regardless of the device, to have the best website experience you as a web builder or website owner can offer them.
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