What is Responsive Web Design?

Nowadays, a good-looking desktop website is not enough to launch your brand into a success. If you don’t satisfy every screen on the marketing spectrum, you may as well bid your business goals adieu. Fortunately, solutions like responsive web design exist to appease desktop and mobile users. 

Remember, mobile use makes up over 50% of global online traffic, so if you aren’t already using a responsive website design, it’s time to play catch up. With that in mind, responsive layouts aren’t as simple as you might anticipate—with a better understanding of how it works and how to incorporate it, you can prepare your business for success in 2022.

Defining Responsive Web Design

Simply put, a responsive website can adapt to a user’s screen for optimal viewing. So whether your visitors browse your website on a laptop, mobile device, or tablet, responsive designs load quickly and without distortions. 

Responsive websites have three defining features.

Fluid Grid System

Flexible grids automatically rearrange themselves according to the device a site visitor uses. So, for instance, your website will shrink proportionately when a user accesses your website from their mobile device. 

Instead of developing multiple layouts for varying screens, designers can update one responsive web design using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). 

Fluid Images

While similar to fluid grids, flexible images are not as simple to navigate. For example, while you can automatically set your photos to resize themselves according to the device in use, you risk slowing your website’s load speed or cutting off the image prematurely. 

Because images are not naturally fluid, you will have to code specific attributes for your website media.

Media Queries

Fluid grids are not a one-off solution for responsive websites—you may have to take things a step further with media queries. Media queries allow developers to inspect the physical characteristics of every device class and adjust layouts according to findings. 

You can accurately render your website based on the appropriate screen widths, orientations, and heights by mastering media queries.

The Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is a relief to designers, developers, and business owners alike. If you’re considering implementing a responsive design into your business website, here are a few ways you can benefit.

Increased Mobile Traffic

Since 2015, over 50% of website traffic has originated from mobile devices. As such, websites that can successfully render across multiple screens attract significantly more traffic than those with fixed layouts. 

Plus, you won’t have to worry about redirecting mobile users to another version of your website—they can access the information they need as quickly as possible. 

Faster Loading

If you thought desktop users had low attention spans, mobile users would give you a run for your money. If your website takes more than three seconds to load, mobile users won’t hesitate to click away.

Caching and using responsive images not only improves your web page loading speed but captures the attention of more mobile users. 

Cheaper & Easier to Manage

Instead of investing time and money in a standalone mobile website, taking advantage of responsive designs will save on maintenance and configuration costs. Not to mention, standardized testing methodologies make it easier to optimize your site without adjusting two different content strategies.

Improved SEO Outcomes

High-volume keywords are no longer the core of successful SEO strategies. Instead, Google also considers high-quality websites with seamless layouts and optimized content. A single responsive website eliminates the risk of duplicate content while improving your search ranking.

Lower Bounce Rates & Higher Conversions

As we mentioned before, mobile users have far less patience for slow-loading and unresponsive websites. By providing a seamless user experience for site visitors, you won’t just reduce your bounce rates—you’ll also increase the potential for conversions.

Best Practices for Implementing Responsive Web Design

Want to ensure that your website is both responsive and mobile-friendly? Put these tips into practice.

Design First, Apply Later

You’ll be surprised to know that the design-first-apply-later doesn’t always come naturally to business owners. After all, the faster you publish your website, the quicker you can start generating meaningful leads—but not always.

Make it a point to create wireframes and visual designs before fully coding your website. 

Pay Attention to Typography & Responsive Imagery

Shrinking your browser does not mean sacrificing readability. Instead, use a responsive and legible font with a size of at least 16px. Avoid anything overly-stylized, cursive, or handwritten. 

You also want to optimize your images by uploading them in the appropriate format (JPEG for scenic landscapes and PNG-8 for icons or logos). Then, shrink your file sizes using an online tool like TinyJPG to ensure that your loading times stay swift. 

Embrace User Feedback

The best way to ensure that you’re giving users what they want is to, well, listen to what users want. Take feedback seriously—some viewers might find that your website has too many elements or have trouble navigating your sitemap. 

You can garner feedback by publishing forms on your website or facilitating surveys on your social media.

Take a Minimal Approach

In most cases, less is more, especially when it comes to a responsive website. After all, site visitors only want to receive the information they came for—not bear witness to overly-embellished websites that take ages to load. 

Don’t Neglect Touch Responsiveness

When it comes to mobile sites, design with thumbs in mind—literally. Don’t be tempted to blow up buttons and use up too much space. Instead, keep your buttons to 36dp for optimal accessibility and ensure that they stand out. 

The Bottom Line

Nowadays, responsive web design isn’t just “nice to have.” It’s necessary for providing your site visitors with the best browsing experience possible. With a better understanding of how responsive web design works, you can rest assured that your website will look flawless on any device. 

Could your static website use a responsive makeover? Leave the job up to us. Contact our specialists at Igloo for an award-winning design that will get your website converting quality leads in just a few months.