Execution of a Responsive Web Design

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 18, 2016
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Smartphones and mobile devices take new shape every day with the regular release of newer OS versions. The availability of a variety of applications from different app stores and high speed connectivity has completely transformed the way consumers leverage their mobile devices. According to the report by Cisco, smart devices carry the vast majority of mobile data traffic, which is around 97 percent and by the year 2019, the mobile data traffic will increase nearly tenfold.

The scenario is urging developers to be more innovative in their application or web design and development to suit not only a particular desktop or mobile but also across various devices having different screen resolutions. Many of the developers opt for making one version of their site for desktop and another for mobile devices. Users and visitors of an application are looking for a user friendly interface to enjoy the full features of the service from the provider. If the interface is not working fine for a user, it is probable that the user switches to the best possible alternative that satisfies the user experience criteria. It is important to retain your customers and visitors by giving the right applications with user friendly interface that supports all of the users’ devices.

In order to achieve it, a general need for any new application being built is to have a responsive User Interface (UI) that make websites and apps responsive on any device.

What is a Responsive Design?

Responsive Web or Application Design (RWD) is a methodology that commends the design and implementation of a website or application that responds to user behavior and environment based on the orientation, screen size, and operating system of their device. Responsive applications are designed to work on any platform as it is a custom CSS stylesheet that makes the website or apps look slap-up on any device. So, whether you’re accessing it from your PC, iPhone, Android or tablet, your website will format perfectly.

Advantages of Using Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is a single code base that runs across all devices with one-time build. It renders across any screen size and allows to view on any devices whether it is 20-inch monitors, 15-inch laptops, 10-inch notebooks, 7-inch tablets, 3-inch smartphones, and every size in between. Such a design also considers the huge difference in widths and heights, whether the screen is landscape or portrait, and screen resolution. It also improves search engine optimization (SEO)—a single version of the website ameliorates page ranking. Most importantly RWD reduces maintenance cost and effort because of single link. Finally, it provides control and flexibility that allows making changes from one centralized place.

How to Implement It?

The most important point to remember when designing a responsive application is to maintain the same user experience and friendly UI on any device, whether the user views the page on a laptop, desktop or any other mobile device.

From a technology point of view, the framework consists of a combination of flexible layouts, images, flexible grids, and intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from one device to another (for example, desktop to iPhone or any other smartphone), the website automatically adapts to accommodate for image size, resolution, and scripting functionalities. This eliminates the need for panning, resizing, and scrolling by the user in order to view the website on the new device quite conveniently.

Organizations should insist developers to work on some of the aspects given below to uphold the friendly UI:

Layout

UI of a page mainly depends on the target device’s screen width. A three-column row seen in laptop should be displaying two-column row when viewed on a tablet and a single column row in mobile device. The rest of the rows are required to wrap up in the next row. When speaking of a layout with rows and columns, the concept of Grids comes into picture, facilitating easy hosting of content.

Image Quality and Size

Laptops screens need bigger size and higher resolution images, whereas mobile devices require normal quality of image. If a smaller resolution is stretched to fit on a large screen, it might look distorted. As a better practice, use the same images, or different images of different sizes for different resolutions.

Font Types and Sizes

It is important to use proper pixels and font weight to look good on desktops and other mobile devices. RWD will accommodate according to the device requirement, however choose optimum font that works on both desktops and mobile devices.

Selective Display of Contents

On a larger screen, we may display more content as space is available, but on smaller screens, such as a tablet or phone, there will not be enough space to fit all the contents. So, selectively choose to show or hide sections of data.

Navigation

Using Navbar features of Bootstrap and few other plugins which are available on the market will help to adjust the navigation button for the devices.

When and Where Is It Most Appropriate to Implement?

RWD is suitable for informational web app and pages, with data on the right side of the screen in desktop applications brought to the bottom of the page in mobile applications. The most applicable scenarios where RWD would be helpful are corporate websites/blog sites, media/news sites, and location-based services.

Corporate Websites and Blog Sites

For corporate websites, the need for rich images is little, device-agnostic solutions are higher, and target audience is a huge factor. And for blog sites, there is no need of extensive user input and requires minimal images. The primary requisite of these sites is to maintain brand consistency. By allowing one website to work on both mobile screens and desktop makes it easier to keep a consistent brand identity. Also, there are no style guides required to communicate between multiple vendors such as different entities, which are responsible for the mobile and desktop versions of the site.

Media and News Sites

RWD works well as a solution in cases where users are accustomed to scroll from top to bottom on their device particularly with in media and news sites. These sites are text-heavy, and sections such as breaking news require real-time content updates which add to maintenance cost if different mobile technology options are used for the design.

Location-based Services

Location-based services such as Google maps and other direction finder services are normally loaded with heave images. Users try to zoom and re-size the screen to find the routes on map for better clarity and auto-adjustment becomes essential for clear view of the image. Responsive Web Design supports all of these features extremely well.