- Responsive web design is the practice of designing websites to look good on mobile devices.
- Best practices include one-column layouts and minimized navigation.
- As a rule of thumb, shrink images and enlarge text in responsive design.
While big, beautiful websites look amazing on people’s HD monitors, most of your business’s target audience are accessing websites on their mobile device. Massive website designs need to be able to shrink down to this small scale. They also need to be tuned into people’s mobile browsing behavior. This is called responsive web design. Read on to learn how to apply it to your website.
Shrink and rearrange your content
Grid layouts with multiple columns and massive splash images are popular in web design, but these elements don’t look good on small screens. In responsive design, you must ensure that the elements adjust to the size of the viewport.
For example, it’s not a good idea to simply shrink your grid for smaller screens; you should stack each box on top of each other into a single column. This makes it easier for mobile users to read and interact with each box.
You also need to pay close attention to how images look when scaled down. Is key information being cropped out or obscured by text? Is the subject clear? You may need to reposition an image in the mobile version of your site.
Tuck the navigation away.
Most mobile users don’t expect to see the classic menu at the top of the screen. Instead, they want it out of the way, only accessible when they want it. That’s why many responsive web designers use the “hamburger”: a stack of three parallel lines at the top of the screen. When users tap the hamburger, a menu opens for them.
Of course, the best-designed sites have a natural navigation flow, and on mobile devices, that’s even more important. Make sure that you have strong calls-to-action on your site that direct users where you’d like them to go, and place any crucial information in legible text.
Minimize your text.
The fact is that most users don’t want to read lots of text on their phone. So while lots of content is good for SEO, you’ll want to avoid showing long walls of text to your mobile users. Use lots of white space in both your design and text handling, and consider hiding non-essential text in the mobile version of your site.
That said, be sure that you don’t shrink the text along with the visual elements in your responsive design. Text should be large enough to be read comfortably, and it shouldn’t obscure images or other key elements. You may need to shorten some of your headings or calls-to-action to make them mobile-friendly.
Responsive website is more than a set of trends: it’s a requirement for any website. No one should assume that the majority of their audience is accessing websites on their desktop computer. The key to successful digital marketing is to reach your audience wherever they are — and that’s probably on a mobile device. That means responsive design is crucial to your success.