Responsive web design is focused on the viewer. It’s easy in web design to get stuck on things from your own perspective, so you can think of the responsive approach as a reality check. Exactly how are other people who encounter the site going to interact with it? What types of approaches can you use to make the viewing experience the easiest and most engaging for viewers? These are the types of questions those using responsive web design will ask.
Elements of Responsive Web Design
This approach to web design focuses on minimizing all the things about web pages that viewers find annoying. These can include the following elements.
1. Minimizing Excessive Scrolling – Experts say overwhelmingly that the attention spans of people on the Internet are vanishingly short. This means that if viewers have to scroll down too much to access a site’s content, they will be more likely than not to just click away instead. So, the responsive approach tries to find ways to put all the most important content up front and center.
2. Cutting Back On Too Much Resizing – If a site has to be resized too much for every single device that accesses it, chances are that the site is going to look ugly. The responsive approach tries to emphasize universality as a result.
3. Emphasizing Compatibility – There’s no doubt that the trend in the modern world is towards a variety of different mobile devices as well as more conventional desktop computers and laptops. As a result, you’ve got to make sure that your site will run on any particular mobile device.
4. Fluid Grid – This is an approach that focuses on making the flow of a page more relative and flexible. By using percentages instead of something absolute like pixels. As a result, web pages can be made to conform to any particular device or setup rather than being rigid, which makes their compatibility fail in certain situations.
5. Flexible Images – sizing images using a percentage system, you add adaptability to the web page. As a result, you’re much more likely to have an image that actually stays within the bounds of its section if it can adapt flexibly to the medium loading it, rather than one with a rigid style like traditional web building.
Designing websites specifically for readability and ease of interaction can only translate into higher reader response. After all, if a viewer feels like it’s much easier to transverse the site, they will be much more likely to read the content, share it with their friends, or even purchase goods or services connected with the site.
The benefits can be summed up in the following ways.
- More hits/viewership
- Higher retention of viewers
- More conversions on viewers to buys/sharers
It’s a simple fact that the more fun a site is the more people will interact with it, after all.
According to Mashable, 2013 is the “Year of Responsive Web Design,” which is occurring perhaps in part because of the explosion of variable mediums for accessing web pages. The days of everyone browsing the Internet on the exact same general type of desktop computer are quickly falling away. It’s likely that those that have adaptive approaches, like responsive web design, will create the website that the increasing number of mobile and other types of users will flock to in droves.
Kate Simmons is a blogger and freelance writer on topics related to technology, web design and social media marketing. Reach out to her on Twitter if you have any questions or just would like to say hello.