Whenever we talk about a particular actor or an artist, one of the most important characteristics or traits that people seek out in them is the ability to adapt and be versatile beyond their comfort zones. Well, if you consider yourself as an artist in the online realm, where creating and managing an online business is your art form, then you have to be versatile and show a high degree of adaptability in it as well. In the online or the digital world, the ability to be versatile with one’s online space is termed as “responsiveness”, a word which was spawned from the constant need to adapt and respond to the changes in the trends of the digital world.
With smartphones and handheld devices being the current technological expansion on our planet, responsive websites are now needed more than ever. The extensive user base and immense reach that these sites are gaining is evidence enough for this. The main goal while designing the layout for such a site is to achieve optimum user experience, not just through the technical nuances of the websites, but also through personalized elements such adapting to different screen sizes, compatibility across various platforms, and increased degree of customizability. Making a site in such a way that it fits everyone’s standards may seem like a lot of hard work so, here are some of the pointers to keep in mind before you start off with it.
According to a recent research, a quarter of the American population uses mobile devices to access the web. With smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices rapidly replacing PCs and laptops in terms of their usage, it is only wise to develop a mobile layout for your site first and then adjust it according to other screen sizes. Making sure that your site’s appearance or visual structure does not affect the content and functions of your webpage is necessary for making it mobile friendly.
Acing Media Queries
A feature found in the CSS/CSS3, Media Queries are used to adjust your page according to different viewpoints that may be present with regards to a particular device, medium or platform. The important aspect to understand in this case is that media queries essentially help in increasing the adaptability of your website on a particular medium or platform, by making it customizable and compatible with all the features and conditions that are a part of these mediums or platforms.
In order to get your site across the various ‘markets’ of populations around the globe, you must present your content in varied languages. Also, the viewers too must have the independence to respond in the language of their choice. This can considerably increase the reach and the overall engagement with regards to the visitors on your website.
Breakpoints and Grids
While developing most websites, you need to specify the breakpoints in your content pages- the point at which the content shifts to a new line. This is important so that your content does not stay cluttered and accumulate at a point in the webpage.
If you are looking to create a structured website, it is essential for you to know the implementation and creation of grids. One system for placing your grids right is the Bootstrap Grid System. This can help you in ensuring the systematic placing of your content in such a way that it does not seem too scattered.
The mark of an efficient and fluid website grid is the inherent flexibility which is provided with the use of percentages, which is a better option than using periodic breakpoints to structure your content. Making breakpoints for every viewport can be an exhausting task. Instead, you can first decide a maximum layout size and then define the width-height ratio in the form of percentages. This can considerably help in increasing the fluidity of your website grid.
Need for Speed
With the immense amount of diversity that is present in terms of content on the web today, visitors may simply switch over to another site if yours doesn’t load fast enough. A recent study shows that an average user expects a site to load in 4 seconds. One major factor affecting websites from achieving this are non-optimized images. These can be cured by using tools like Adaptive Images and Tiny PNG. These can save your website from the drag that is produced due to the presence of heavy images.
A Clean Design
Having too much cluttered content on your website is equivalent to having too much noise in an audio recording; it just obstructs the things that matter. Therefore, try to put only relevant information on your page so that the viewer can give reasonable attention to all of it. You may use programs like GZIP for compressing images for easy transfer across networks.
The Right Text Size
One of the biggest turn-offs that one can have on a website is the lack of readability when it comes to your content. Therefore, you need to decide on an apt text size to match the readable size of all your viewers. Some ideal sizes are 16 px, 1 em or 12 pt. Tools like FitText can be used to create responsive texts. A good way to make your site interesting can be to use web fonts as icons or indicators within your content for links and other essentials. These can be developed through programs such as Font Awesome.
Here’s a useful conversion guide for px to em that can be helpful if you want to experiment with text sizes.
The Right Button Size
If you are looking to create or design a responsive site, button sizes are crucial elements that need to be taken into consideration. This is especially significant in the case of mobile devices, where the mode of response is touch-screen. An ideal button size would be 44 X 44 px. You may also use padding to increase the trappable area, instead of margins which only increase the white space around the buttons.
Understanding your Mobile Users
As a large number of users will be using their mobiles and handheld devices to access your website, you must look into their preferences as far as navigating and utilizing the design of your website is concerned. Once you know what their inherent preferences are, you can make certain changes in the inherent design and overall layout so that accessibility and convenience are increased to a high degree. Mobile users usually prefer to use the search bar to find something specific that they are looking for. What this essentially means for you as a website designer is to make the search appear significant and increase the accessibility of the same by removing other unnecessary elements from the screen layout.
As for mobiles, it is seen that most sites are viewed in portrait mode than landscape. Even so, you must ensure that the content of your site is easily compatible to both. A way to go about such a layout is to first create the look and feel that you want your site to have before actually designing it, which essentially means building the interface before the coding. This gives you a clear idea of what you’re going for and helps in not creating too much dissonance on the site so developed.
The need of the hour is to understand that responsive web designs are necessary to attract users to a website due to how they appeal and connect with them. These are some of the top tips we have, to provide in the field. What can be your suggestions for improving the responsiveness of websites and help in reaching out and connecting to your visitors?