Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned web professional, creating a responsive web design can be confusing at first, mostly because of the radical change in thinking that it required. As time goes on, responsive design is drifting away from the pool of passing trends and is rapidly entering the realm of standard practice. In fact, the magnitude of this paradigm shift feels as fundamental as the transition from table-based layouts to CSS. In short, this is a very different way of designing websites and it goes to represents the future.
In the past year, responsive design has become quite the hot topic in web design community. If you are yet to catch on the drift, then it is time to get educated. The first step in doing so is to get a gist of what responsive design is exactly. Kayla Knight of SmashingMachine.com gives us a clear definition of what it really is.
Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.
With responsive design, as with anything in web design, you need to make sure that you follow along with some crucial best practices if you want your responsive website t o actually work well and give the flexibility that it is supposed to. Here are the 6 best practices of responsive web design by Stephan Jukic of WebDesignLedger.com.
- Mobile users deserve the same quality of browsing experience
- Design your site with responsive in mind
- Pay attention to your breakpoints
- Make your images flexible and workable
- Allow compression of site elements and content
- Get rid of non-essential content
The above are just some of the major best and most important practices you can try out. Ultimately, though, if you want your responsive web design website to work well, you have to build it so that it can load and function quickly on devices that will usually have low resolution, small processing power and weak bandwidth access. This means a simple, well organized site conforming to its core function with maximum results.