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Responsive Web Design – An Essential Approach

Steven Nguyen - Posted in User Experience

Responsive Web Design – An Essential Approach

When you’re in the early stages of web development, you think about how to provide the most optimal user experience for everyone. One question that comes to mind is, “How will my site look like on mobile devices?” Ever since the use of mobile devices to surf the internet became popular in our current time, mobile traffic has been steadily increasing. Eventually, traffic on mobile had surpassed that of desktop. With more and more users visiting and navigating sites away from their computers, it’s more essential now that web development must take into consideration the same optimal user experience across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors). That’s where responsive web design comes into play, where the layout, format , and contents of a site are adjusted but still interactive to be suitable for smaller screen sizes.

What is Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to be scalable across a wide range of screen sizes and mobile devices. Because mobile devices are constrained by their smaller size than a desktop, UI design, format, and content, must be are adjusted, and require a different approach to how they’re laid out on the screen.

Let’s take a standard “fixed” website. On the homepage, there’s this large image and these paragraphs separated by three Bootstrap columns in a row that, when viewed on a computer, looks properly formatted and is laid out as readable. However, as you minimize the browser, the image and the same columns stay at the same size. By the time that browser is at the size of a smartphone, you may be forced to scroll horizontally to view both of them, or certain contents and elements are hidden from view or distorted, something that users will not like.

However, if that website implemented responsive web design, the image will resize itself, and paragraphs will adjust itself by stacking the columns vertically so that it is readable and easy to navigate without needing extra work done by the user.

With responsive web design, the website is crafted to be automatically scaled on wherever the user views it with. Whether it’s on the computer, a smartphone, or a tablet, the site will always provide the same user experience for all devices.

The OC Web Kings Approach

OC Web Kings places high value on user experience no matter how the user engages in that experience. We do not build your website blindly with the tunnel vision of just one screen size. During web development, every possible device your site will be viewed and interacted with is always on our minds. We take measures to ensure every visitor in the world can have the best user experience with your site.

However, we do not just build the website for desktop first, and then try to cram all of its layout, design, and contents, into the size of a smartphone to make it work. Instead, we integrate it as part of our design stage with a “mobile-first approach”. When our designers create mockups and wireframes for your site, they smoothly translate their design for the mobile devices. When we implement the mobile aspect of the site, we use the meta viewport tag to control the width and scaling of the browser’s viewport, media queries to scale content and layout to be suitable for different screen sizes, and JavaScript/jQuery to alter navigational features to be interactive for devices not on desktop. Finally, we make the web pages scalable to both desktop and mobile. This is how we approach responsive web design.

Great Benefits

  1. Efficient User Experience (Mobile-Friendly)
    A responsive website = better user experience. A major factor contributing to user experience is the time in which a user spends on your site. When a site is scaled and changes the layout of navigational features appropriately (accessing the menu, links, buttons, filling out forms, etc.) to accommodate for smaller screen sizes, then the site becomes mobile-friendly, and user experience becomes efficient for those surfing the internet on mobile devices.
  2. Increased Mobile Traffic
    With the rising usage of mobile devices to surf the internet, mobile traffic increases at a steady pace. This means that mobile traffic accounts for the majority of internet traffic to your site as much as desktop. Therefore, it’s becomes even more essential for a website to be viewable and interactive on mobile.
  3. Faster Load Times
    Websites that are responsive tend to load faster on smartphones and tablets. Thanks to responsive images and caching, a page will take less time to load all of its design, layout, and content. Without it, pages will take longer to load, which can exhaust the attention of mobile users.
  4. Less Bounce Rate
    Bounce rate represents the percentage of visitors who leave the site after viewing one page. A website that is difficult to interact with or features layout or content not suitable for smaller screens leads to the visitor quickly abandoning the site before they even view its contents. A responsive website, however, makes interaction and viewing content easier, encouraging the visitor to stay on the site. Visitors will stay on the site much longer and explores everything it has to offer.
  5. Improved SEO
    With all of the benefits listed above, responsive web design contributes to one, very crucial importance: Search Engine Optimization. Efficient user experience, increased mobile traffic, faster load times, and lesser bounce rates, all translate to higher search rankings that boost the number of people discovering your site on search engines if it’s considered mobile-friendly.

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