Gone are the days of designing websites that suited a single desktop screen. There is no one-size-fits-all web design. But, you can have your website easily accessible and viewable irrespective of the gadget and screen size. This is through a responsive web design. 

However, do not fret if you are up-to-date with the technicalities. A web design agency London comes to the rescue and sorts you out in this domain. 

Responsive design versus adaptive design

There is an air of confusion between these two. A responsive design tweaks the aspects of a single-page version, whereas an adaptive design delivers several versions of the same page. In a responsive design, users access the same file using their browser, irrespective of the device. The CSS code controls the layout on different screen sizes. For an adaptive design, a pre-installed script evaluates the screen size and then accesses the template.

The five fundamentals of responsive web design

# 1 Understanding the user demographics

When designing a responsive website, start by knowing your audience. Doing so will give you a clear idea about how much traffic comes from desktops, tablets and mobile phones. 

Although it is critical to design websites for different devices, what about varying web browsers? The latter is a much more complex endeavour, and pursuant should know that each major web browser comes with its mobile version that displays the sites differently across platforms and devices. Another trickery is that the browser itself has several versions. It would be naive to expect everybody to be on the latest one. Hence, the responsive design should also keep in mind the different iterations.

# 2 Website dimensions

There is no standard size for a website. Much depends on the device, model size and screen resolution, and they change all the time. What’s more complicated to comprehend is that each website attracts users on different devices. For instance, one is more likely to look at food recipes on mobile devices (for quick and efficient cooking).

Don’t worry, though. Google Analytics takes care of this nitty-gritty. But a relevant question to ask is, how should one get with a responsive website in a world that consists of endless combinations of browsers sizes and devices? A solution is to have three layouts, minimum. These shall take care of different widths of browsers. The small layout would be 600px and shall cater to most mobile phones. The medium, between 600px and 900px, is suited for larger phones, tablets and notebooks. Lastly, layouts over 900px are for viewing on laptops and desktop computers. 

# 3 User Experience

A responsive design goes beyond the browser versions and sizes, and devices. It also considers user experience. This caters to how users interact with your content and whether they can view their desired content and information across platforms and devices, especially mobile phones. These are smaller devices, and getting all the content pieces on small-sized screens is quite a challenge. 

A word of caution is to not design for the latest mobile phone. Adding to this is a specific screen dimension. To get around this, you should instead design your website around the content and information. Also, experience on mobile focuses on the limited viewing area, and hence less is more. 

So, you must understand how users read and move through the site. They should be able to receive your intended message clearly and get a holistic idea about your site in a convenient manner. To get this right, prioritize your actions, such as informing or getting them to the ‘Contact Us’ page. Once done, you can tailor the content and design. 

# 4 Navigation and Gestures

Navigation is crucial on mobile. However, there are several ways of collating menus and content, for instance, the hamburger-style menu, a simple dropdown selection or even expand and collapse fields. Additionally, you can do with tabs that scroll horizontally. 

Other aspects related to navigation are flexible images and gestures. Start by thinking about how your images will scale. That is their appearance on large desktop screens, tablets and small mobile phones. The development code performs the image scaling by giving a percentage value to the browser width. 

Now, gestures are crucial. They offer tremendous room for innovative designs. By now, it is a given that people love to read and interact with content using their hands – it is a kind of user empowerment. When it comes to images, users on mobile and tablets can pinch to zoom or slide images. Interaction directly correlates with design. 

# 5 Tools and Resources

Fluid grids

These are based on website layout design that gives percentage values instead of set pixels. Say the width of content on desktop screens is 930px, and you want to target it to 320px for mobile. The scalable figure requires a conversion in the percentage of 320/930, which is 34.4%. 

Google resizer

Yet another profound resource is the Google resizer. It allows you to preview your site on multiple devices. The tool is excellent when launching a new web page and amending information and content. 

Media queries

This is a type of code that is implemented in the site when built. The code sets the conditions for the design to adapt to the screen size. Drag your browser to a smaller screen, say from desktop to mobile, and you will see that the content automatically resizes. 

Parting words

Latest technology and tools make it crucial to have a website containing stellar effects, seamless navigation and captivating information and content. Time will tell what the future of websites and responsive design will be. As of now, hang in there while the experts create a website to be remembered for you.