The mobile world is witnessing a tremendous amount of growth, and site owners are in full zeal to take up responsive web design right off the bat. As more and more users are going mobile to fulfill their browsing needs, businesses should go all out to understand the best practices and standard techniques to fabricate a responsive design that engages users and stimulate them to respond.
Being a graphic designer and a digital strategist, it’s our job to move beyond merely squeezing a design for mobile. We need to satisfy our user’s information requirements and direct them to take decisions. When it comes to responsive design, functionality is different than look and feel. The success lies in putting these elements together to create something rich and pleasurable.
If you are a newbie and finding yourself navigating unfamiliar terrains of responsive design, then this post is just for you. Here, I have compiled a list of some pivotal tips that you might find useful when creating a responsive design. Read them thoroughly to register a strong mobile presence.
- Think about mobile first
- Create a Pattern Library
- Focus on Performance
We are living in the mobile era and designing for it is extremely crucial to make headways in the digital market. However, to master the art of designing for mobile requires to have forward thinking and focus on detail. Unfortunately, because of shoestring budgets and diminishing deadlines, web designers can get sidetracked very easily.
Developing a responsive site requires you to have a clear mobile strategy in place so that you don’t fall short of achieving your goals. There are millions of people who are using mobile phones, you need to learn from their interactions with mobile. Understand the buying pattern and persona of your target audience, what elements pique their interest, and how they should be placed. Armed with this knowledge will allow you to get into their shoes and thus create a successful responsive site.
One thing that I always found prominent while playing around RWD project is- Style Guide. This basically involves details about key styles that need to added within the project along with their level of interaction.
But there is one thing that is evolving, this is known as pattern library. There is a great article ( Getting started with Pattern Library) written out there. This is a nice article that gives you a valuable insight on pattern library. A typical pattern library gives you an access to UX patterns that need to be used throughout your website.
Now as a standard practice, I would put these elements in Fireworks with the help of styling components and modules. However, for a successful responsive design, it’s crucial to understand how each module would respond to different breakpoints. The process becomes time consuming when performed in Fireworks.
As we know that prototypes are designed using HTML and CSS, it would be a cardinal sin not to make the most out of the pattern library.
An article written by Brad Forest on ‘Atomic Web Design’ is quite helpful to understand the concept better. Here, he has created a theory based on a scientific terminology stating that Atoms are basic building blocks of our design and give our brand an identity. Components such as colors, icons, labels, and fonts are molecules. When Molecules are combined together they create an interface which completes our design.
With the help of this theory, we can create a road map of our pattern library. First, think about brand first and then apply the core HTML elements accordingly. Pattern library is gaining importance in responsive web design as it makes it easy for us to shift our focus from designing pages to components.
The biggest challenge in responsive design is that it’s almost impossible to predict who will be the next user and what device they will be using to view our website. That is why it is important to design a responsive site that is equally performing.
Users hate to browse sloppy web pages, and if your pages respond too slowly then be ready to lose users. Therefore it is important to make your responsive design reliable enough to give visitors reason to stick around your website.
Designers must put efforts to design light and clean web pages. Images are yet another key element to consider while speeding up your website. You can reduce the size of your images and serve them depending upon devices and their breakpoints.
Furthermore, you can reduce the overall weight of your website and spruce up its performance by splitting its content into small chunks and render the same when demanded by the user.
You don’t need to segment overall content of your website, just the one that is located in the right hand side or on the top. You can also take the advantage of some progressive disclosure techniques to revamp the capabilities of your responsive design. “Load on scroll” is a popular technique used by a number of social media websites to allow users load more content. To give users an access to the secondary information, you can create a link which reads “find more” at the end of page.
Designing a responsive site is a challenging job, but challenges can be overcome easily if we focus on basic details that help us create more interactive and successful mobile experience. Map out your user needs and responsive design standards to a provide your users a logical mobile journey.
Currently Amanda Cline is working with Xicom Technologies Ltd. – a renowned Mobile Application Development Company. She has also written interesting and informative articles on Custom Software Development, Web and mobile Application Development etc.