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Responsive Design the Right Way

August 14, 2013     Designs Wallet    

Used as an alternative to mobile versions of a website, responsive design can provide a more flexible option for companies and people that want to make their site more durable for different devices. With responsive design, CSS3 media queries are used so that a site automatically resizes based on the screen size being used; this means that a site is designed in such a way as to only feature the most important content and design elements. While it’s worth consulting with experienced web designers like Boxmodel Digital in Newcastle to learn more about how to use responsive design, there are some general rules that should be followed.

Effectively, responsive design comes down to accessibility. Rather than having to produce a different version of a website for a mobile device, you just design the same site to recognise when it has a different screen size to deal with. Content resizes to fit the screen, creating a more consistent experience for users, and reducing the amount of work you have to do to make sure that sites aren’t unreadable for your users. When using responsive design, you can focus on different areas of a website to make it more accessible.

Some of the key features that can be included with a responsively designed website include infinite scrolling, and a minimalist navigation bar that can slide and drop down, rather than taking up a lot of space. HTML5 and CSS3 should be the main tools used when designing a responsive site, with as many elements as possible pared down so that users aren’t overwhelmed by content. Some good examples of responsive design in practice can be found here.

In terms of the workflow for creating a site using responsive design, you should be focusing on the assumption that a mobile will be the first point at which someone will interact with it; working back from a mobile sized screen dimension can enable you to make tough decisions over presenting the simplest version of a site; scaling images to be as optimised as possible, and cutting out excessive JavaScript can be a good idea.

Responsive design works best when a site is made as clean as possible in terms of code; this means avoiding the temptation to use special effects like Flash or complicated JavaScript plugins. Having a maximum and minimum width and pixel dimension for a site can similarly allow you to decide on what the limits are for a site, and what you need to cut down on. Trying to be too intricate with inline styles can be particularly problematic.

It’s also worth remembering how a site will look at its lowest resolution, and what material is essential to understanding what a site is about; remove excess content, and try to put all relevant menu information into a single column, so that you can keep a clean navigation running around a page. Consulting with a web design agency can make it easier to work out what the best possible design will be for your site.

Author Bio

Hannah Bentley is a freelance blogger and web designer. She recommends you check out Boxmodel Digitalfor design work and tips on responsive design. Hannah also likes to blog about graphic design and illustration.

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