With mobile traffic having overtaken desktop, creating a site that offers a delightful experience to all users regardless of device is more important than ever. With responsive web design, developers can create a single website that adapts to the screen size of any user’s device for a seamless browsing experience.
With CSS breakpoints in place, a website will automatically adjust itself to fit the user’s screen size by removing or adding elements and rearranging content. This helps a website to look its best and make it easier for users to consume the information on the page.
One of the most popular techniques used by developers to build responsive websites is a grid system. These systems position and set web elements based on a number of factors, including screen size, resolution, and other properties of the device the user is using. The most common grid system is called a fluid grid, which utilizes CSS and media queries to adapt to screen size and other characteristics of the user’s device.
Creating a responsive website requires a lot of planning and thought. A well-built website will also take into account how to make elements easy for users to interact with on touchscreen devices. For example, a button or other interactive element should be large enough to be easily clicked with a finger on a touch screen. Similarly, text must be big enough to be easily read on small screens. To facilitate this, many designers use a font sizing system that allows developers to create a custom layout for various devices by defining the amount of space an individual letter takes in pixels.
A key component of a good responsive design is reducing the number of elements in a layout. This can help improve performance by lowering page load times. It can also reduce the number of files and resources a browser has to download, especially when viewed on smartphones with limited data connections. To test the performance of a responsive website, it is recommended to not only test it on a home or work network but also on a public Wi-Fi connection and in known trouble spots for cell phone connections.
Responsive sites can be a little difficult to develop, but there are a number of tools that can make it much easier. For instance, a tool like Zeplin can help designers collaborate with engineers on a project to ensure that both teams are on the same page when it comes to the design of a responsive website. Similarly, a tool like Marvel can help designers and engineers to create wireframes of pages, layouts, and other elements that will be easier to understand when it is time for developers to build them in code.
These 11 examples of responsive websites showcase how to use a combination of fluid grids and flexible images to provide a tailored experience for any device. With these tools and design ideas in mind, you can be sure that your responsive website will offer a delightful browsing experience to users on all kinds of devices—both current and future.