Three Elements of a Mobile Responsive Website

responsive-web-desginCreating specific mobile versions of your website has been deemed a necessity, but did you know that you can create one responsive website instead? Today, the ability for your website design to adjust and adapt to the user is imperative for success. With over 300 million computers and mobile devices being used to view online content, it is just smart business to become more responsive.

At the heart of responsive web design is the ability for your website to change to fit the device the user chooses for viewing the site. The code will make it respond appropriately to the size of screen the user is viewing the site with, as well as the browser choice. This allows the content to move around to be viewed in the most optimum way.

Whether the user is using a widescreen desktop monitor, a small laptop, a tablet or a mobile phone, the responsive website looks exactly right for each instance. No need to code a site for different viewers – you create one responsive site for all devices.

There are three important elements to consider when creating responsive websites:

1. Design for the mobile device first – Mobile devices are outselling PCs, so it just makes sense to change how we all think of website design and focus on mobile devices first. Get rid of extraneous design and focus where you should: on the content.

2. Optimize the organization of your content – Move items around, make important sections bigger, and use fewer columns in your site. Place the focus on whether the user can read and use the content you’ve provided. The user’s experience is paramount and the site will look good regardless of which device they use to reach your site.

3. Keep interaction a primary focus – Most people who view content with a mobile device are not viewing your content to see how great your design elements are. They’re just trying to read the content, the review, the directions, or something they’re linking directly to via another site. Ensure that they get to see that particular content when linking to your site and they don’t have to worry about your fabulous flash slide show on entry, or your huge menu. Let them go directly to the content they want to read.

Using CSS, fluid grids, scalable fonts, thoughtful navigation and clean design elements can make your website more responsive to all users’ devices. How your site looks will depend on the user’s pixels, screen size, font choices, and more, and not on your choice of how big your headers or banners should be. What’s important today is making it easy for the user to view and use your content no matter what device they use. Otherwise they may leave your site in frustration, causing you to possibly miss out on that sale.

While creating responsive mobile designed websites may seem complicated and difficult, the truth is that this is the direction the future is taking us. In fact, the future is here now that mobile devices are outselling personal computers.

If you use WordPress to build your sites, there are already many mobile responsive themes as well as plug-ins to help you design and develop your mobile responsive site easily and quickly.

Responsive Web Design – The Cutting Edge of Mobile Design

Responsive web design has very quickly become the gold standard on how to design mobile websites. It’s much more flexible than any other approach and allows you to build mobile sites for all kinds of devices, from iPhone to Android to weird obscure operating systems.

What is responsive web design and how can you use it to improve your mobile site?

Responsive Web Design in a Nutshell

Responsive web design is a style of designing that allows you to design for all kinds of browsers, from desktop to iPad to mobile in one go.

Instead of having one desktop design and one mobile design, you instead have one “responsive” or flexible design.

Whenever a visitor lands on your website, your site uses user agent and media queries to figure out exactly what browser and device people are visiting your site with.

Then your website will load up a custom CSS stylesheet designed specifically for their device or screen width.

 The Only Way to Design for All Devices

Responsive web design allows you to design a different stylesheet based on different screen widths. It would be (nearly) impossible to design a different site for every tablet out there. But you could easily design a CSS stylesheet that applies to every tablet of a certain width.

There are a lot of devices that you simply won’t have the time to design for. Responsive web design will let you still create great-looking sites for these devices.

 Better for SEO

It’s still unclear how good or bad mobile sites are for SEO. But most SEO experts agree, splitting your links between a “www.site.com” version and a “m.site.com” version is probably bad for SEO.

With responsive web design, you don’t have to worry about that at all. A different stylesheet is loaded up on different pages of content, but the site’s URL is exactly the same. You only have one page and that page gets all the backlinks.

Go Mobile First

The best way to design responsive websites is to design the mobile version first. This allows you to create a design that looks good on small pages first, then grow it larger.

Most designers go the other way around. That ends up creating mobile websites that look watered down. If you start small and go big, you can make sure all levels of your website look fantastic.

Where to Go from Here

Start by educating yourself on media queries and user agent queries. Learn how to serve up different kinds of CSS stylesheets based on screen size, device and other variables.

Then design at least three designs: One for mobile, one for tablets and one for desktops. Some designers go so far as to create as many as ten different designs!

The Five Don’ts of Mobile Website Design

In mobile web design, one mistake could be all it takes. Some of these mistakes will cause your websites to not display properly at all. Others will simply frustrate mobile users and cause them to leave. These are five of the biggest mobile web design mistakes you should absolutely avoid. […] Read more »