These days, most people devour all sorts of content from different devices. Many people have access to smartphones, phablets, tablets, laptops, desktops, TVs and smart wearable devices. All these devices come in different screen sizes and configurations. If you need a website that is optimized for different devices, or audiences, you could use the services of professional and experienced web designers and developers. Responsive web design becomes important when you want to create content that can be viewed and read on most devices easily and fluidly without having to manually resize, scroll or pan the webpage. This means that if the content on a website is designed with responsiveness in mind, it adapts to the device and the viewing area available.
There are three main elements that are changed from ordinary websites to make them responsive web design compliant. These include:
- Images are made responsive by being resized using relative units like percentages as opposed to absolute units like pixels
- Fluid grids: This means that the page element (which is divided into grids) on a webpage changes
according to relative units like percentages and not fixed units like points or pixels.
- A CSS module called media queries allows content to be rendered on a webpage to adapt to conditions like the screen resolution or the width of a webpage.
Before you can tackle how to make your website responsive, you need to also keep in mind the following:
1. Attract them with good design; get them hooked on your content
Your website needs to have content that your audience is interested in and that will be shared because it is great content. Many gurus suggest that you should pay attention to your websites content and not just the web design.
Great web design will attract your audience to the site, but great content will make your audience keep coming back to the site.
The more content you have, the more you will reach a larger audience that will be likely to share it. This loop of better content, sharing and more exposure hopefully grows to a point where your site becomes an authority, which means even more exposure.
2. Tightly integrate social media platforms
When designing your website, ensure that you have tightly integrated social media platforms. The more options the better, just make sure you put them in tastefully such that they are not in the way of your content, but remain visible enough.
The social media platforms are important because they will allow your audience to share the content on your site and therefore increase the traffic to your site. Make sure that you keep your social media profiles up to date because this can impact on your websites popularity, especially when it is seen as constantly active.
3. Optimize your media content
Make sure that your media is optimized for online viewing. You should work with a target of ensuring that your webpage can load in less than three seconds or else most web surfers will almost automatically move on.
4. Blog about interesting but related content
Ensure that you have a constant flow of great content to your website. There is no substitute for great content if you want repeat traffic to your website. The rule of thumb is the more things that you could do to get web search engines to reference your site, the more people will know it exists and the more people will come to your site.
Making your website responsive
When you want to make a website responsive, ensure that you take into consideration the following:
- Different sized screens and resolutions
- Adapting to a pages orientation (portrait or horizontal)
- Your potential audience's internet bandwidths and speeds
- The method of interaction, for example, TV vs. Smartphone, touch vs. non-touch, etc.
To make your website responsive follow these guidelines:
Step 1 Prioritize your content.
Since you will most likely create content for an audience that will view it on a small device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, you have to consider what you want to be seen first and decide what can be relegated for later viewing.
Step 2: Know more about your audience.
It is difficult to cater for everyone's needs, but it is vital to cater for a majority of your specific audience's needs. Find out more about your specific audience and how they consume your content. By doing so, you will avoid wasting resources used to optimize your site for a medium that will probably not be used.
For example, if your content is viewed mostly on a smart phone, there is little need creating and optimizing it for a 4K TV.
Step 3: Optimize your web pages for different devices.
Your web pages should be arranged such that different content is in different grids or columns, and depending on the device, different grids or columns are prioritized for viewing.
For example, content on a Smartphone should ideally be viewed on one column while content on a desktop can be viewed in up to 4 or 5 columns.
Step 4: Your site should dynamically adjust to conditions.
Step 5: Use media that is the appropriate size.
Whether you chose to optimize your site for a larger screen or a smaller screen, the content that you choose to use should be large enough so that it is appealing on a large screen as well as on a small screen.
Step 6: Consider how your audience will interact with your website.
Consider how you intend for your website to be used and how it will actually be used. These days, touch screen devices are very common. For example, consider using buttons that are large enough to be touched on a screen. Also, remember that hover-over effects are best used only with a mouse and not a touch screen.
Author bio: Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.