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March 28, 2022 • 5 minutes read

The Fundamentals of Responsive Websites

In this day and age, you can only build a loyal audience if you offer unparalleled experiences, a good quality product alone does not suffice the need of the hour. People believe in what they see – It is just the simple truth of life! If you look around, you will notice that brands are going above and beyond in shaping experiences for their users that ultimately translate to their acquisition. Let us be real, the era of non-responsive websites is long gone. Art concepts and experiential designs have now rewired the way designers used to perceive web design and development.

Let us give you a scenario to offer you a glimpse of what responsive design is. Imagine you are out shopping in the mall and you lay your eyes on the shirt of your dreams. Your eyes beam with joy and you can already imagine how dashing you will look wearing it to your friend’s party. Suddenly, all your dreams shatter when you find out that they don’t have it in your size. You go find an employee to scan the barcode to see if they have it available in your size in any outlet around the city! He scans it for you to tell you to purchase it online as there are only 2 pieces left in your size. You hurry up, pull up your phone and try adding the shirt to your cart. The interface is haphazard, the “Add to cart” button does not work and the website does not seem to be mobile-friendly. Upon seeing your frustration, the employee who helped you comes up to you and says “Sir, our website only works on desktops – You can try to order it when you get home.” There could be two outcomes to this, Number 1 – You give up, look for an alternative and call it a day. Number 2 – You rush home and order the shirt through your desktop. In both cases, however, you were subjected to a bad user experience.

This is where responsive websites come into play. It is crucial for brands to have responsive websites these days to retain customers.

So, what are Responsive Websites?

We have been in the design game long enough to know how responsive websites can help in conversions. We have worked with numerous clients over the decade and almost all of them wanted a mobile, tablet as well as a desktop version for their website.

In plain and simple terms, Responsive web designs are practices and principles to create web pages that look great across all devices. It also automatically adjusts for various viewports as well as screen sizes. This will ensure that you have an ideal viewer experience across all devices.

hero
(Source - Click here)
How is Responsive Web Design different than Mobile-first Design?

We have written a dedicated blog on Mobile-first websites wherein we have highlighted how Response Design is different from Mobile-first design so if you are interested in getting the complete walkthrough, be sure to check out our blog here Click here

How is Responsive Design good for your brand?

If we go back a couple of decades, people used to access websites only through a desktop. Back in those days, designers created designs based on the same layout more or less as most monitors used to be of standard sizing. It has taken a complete turn in the current scenario. There are a plethora of devices used to access websites and all have distinctive dimensions. The consumer of today looks for a good experience supplementing a good product. This calls for an urgent need for the adaptation of Responsive websites. All users are different and go through a customer journey that is unique to them. One thing stays constant – User minds are conditioned in a way that they want to consume data in a certain form when it comes to devices. For example – A user browsing through a mobile website is familiar with the up-down swiping motion and usually skims through the website. He also subconsciously expects the website to offer him the feature to access the location through maps on his phone that direct him to the exact location of your store/workplace. Similarly, a desktop or a tablet user has a different set of expectations.

Responsive designs serve a lot of purposes. A key purpose for a designer or a developer would be that it saves the hassle of creating innumerable versions of a website which in theory is only possible to a certain extent. Studies show that mobile traffic has surpassed web traffic accounting for about 51%. Bogus right? Well, now just imagine if more than half of your potential users are using mobiles and tablets to access your website, giving them a desktop version will decrease, if not eliminate your chances to maximize your chances of an enhanced ROI in the long run.

Mind-boggling facts about Responsive Designs!!
  • Search Engines favor Responsive sites over Non-Responsive ones.
  • Mobile visitors wait for 6-10 seconds before clicking off a website.
  • In 2015, a whopping 53% of emails were accessed through mobiles.
  • Responsive designers offer a good user experience.
  • There is a 40% bounce rate on Non-Responsive websites.
  • 8 out of 10 people will click off if the content does not display well on the device they are using.
  • 67% of people prefer Responsive websites.
  • 91% of small businesses worldwide don’t have a responsive website.
  • 50% of e-commerce revenue comes through mobiles.
(Source - Click here)
3 Types of Designs

Since device compatibility is a huge criterion for brands to stand out nowadays, designers work with 3 types of designs apart from Responsive designs while creating websites for different devices. According to your requirement, you can pick and choose what works for you and is best suited for your end goal.

  1. Adaptive Design
  2. Adaptive design is an interface that is adapted to different screen sizes. This encapsulates a range of fixed layouts that render and adapt to the screen size that is closest to the user’s device. It does not move around the content on the basis of the size of the screen. What it does is that it cohesively adjusts the design for the specific device. An adaptive design serves to screen widths of 320px, 480px, 760px, 960px, 1200px and 1600px.

    hero
    (Source - Click here)
  3. Fluid Design
  4. Fluid designs have some characteristics of Responsive as well as Adaptive designs but differ in functionality. These designs do not use fixed units, they use the same percentage of space regardless of the device. The width of the page element is placed proportional to the size of the screen and scales itself based on the viewport.

    hero
    (Source - Click here)
  5. Fixed Design
  6. Even though this design approach is rarely used nowadays, it is still important to know what is it. The fixed layout has a set of fixed-width in pixels. The components of the website do not move or scale on any device. The width of 960px is usually used for Fixed design layouts.

    hero
    (Source - Click here)
    Principles of Responsive Design

    Now that we have cleared what responsive designs are and how they can benefit you, it is important to know the principles of Responsive design. Whenever you are designing a responsive website, be sure to keep this in mind for impeccable results!

  1. Screens over devices
  2. If we tell you to name as many types of devices as you can in 60 seconds, we are sure you are going to fall short of time but not short of the kinds of devices in your mind. Rule number 1 is always to design for screens and not devices. Most designers design for small, medium, large and extra-large screens.

  3. Emphasize the User Experience
  4. As discussed above, a user looks for a great experience when he visits a website. This means whatever screen you design needs to be molded in a way that provides the user with a good experience. Leverage the whitespace on big screens and make sure that you place content in a way that enables people to skim through for small screens. These tips and tricks will help you get conversions!

  5. Use content-based breakpoints
  6. Content should be supplementing the design and it should not be the other way round. You should always use content-based breakpoints as opposed to device-based breakpoints.

  7. Content Hierarchy
  8. Be sure to follow the content hierarchy for all types of screens. Prioritizing content on the basis of importance is key, especially for small screens. It has to be very strategically placed in order to initiate a conversion.

  9. Conduct Periodical Testing
  10. When a user first lands on your website, he lands on your hero section Click here. This is where you should conduct periodical tests for your website responsiveness across various screens and devices. There are a lot of tools, some free as well to help you test your website.

    Resources and Tools to create exceptional Responsive Websites

    We are sure by now you are pretty intrigued and may be interested in experimenting with Responsive web designs. Don’t know where to start? No worries! We are here to give you a walkthrough of the tools and resources that will help you enormously.

  1. Browsers (Web & Mobile)
  2. Let’s start with the basics. Although it may seem like an obvious tool but is a very crucial one as your responsiveness depends solely on the browser. We would suggest you download 10 different browsers, to begin with, and resize according to that. This will help you garner feedback and aid in learning a lot about how responsiveness works.

  3. Fluid Grids
  4. A fluid grid layout offers a visual place to build layouts based on the devices on which the website is displayed. A fluid grid helps you specify layouts for an array of devices like desktop, web, mobile, tablet, etc.

  5. Media queries
  6. We talked very briefly about media queries above but let us give you a crux of what it does. Media queries is a feature of CSS 3 allowing content rendering to adapt to different conditions such as screen resolution. It became a W3C recommended standard in June 2012 and is a cornerstone technology of responsive web design.

  7. Google Resizer
  8. This chrome extension re-sizes the browser's window in order to emulate various resolutions. It is particularly useful for web designers and developers by helping them test their layouts on different browser resolutions. The resolutions list is completely customizable (add/delete/re-order). You can set the window's width/height, window's position, preset icon (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop), and even the option to apply the new dimensions to the entire window or just to the viewport.

Examples of Responsive Web Designs

Check out some examples of Responsive Web Designs from these amazing designers across the globe. These designs will help you create great designs that are functional at the same time.

  1. hero
  2. Click here
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  4. Click here
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  6. Click here
  7. hero
  8. Click here
  9. hero
  10. Click here
  11. hero
  12. Click here
Conclusion:

Responsive Websites are the present and the future. There is nothing greater than giving your users an exceptional experience and Responsive websites make sure you achieve that seamlessly. We highly recommend small businesses and enterprises implement the concept of website responsiveness to yield the results that they desire for their business! Well, now that you are well versed with what Responsive Websites are and how you can leverage them to reach great heights, shoot us an email at coffee@apric.in to show us your best responsive designs. If you have any queries or questions about Responsive designs, send us a DM on our Instagram @apricweb and we shall get back to you at the earliest. Till then, stay tuned for our upcoming blog as it is going to be a very exciting one. Ciao! ☺

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