With the mobile web continuing to grow at an alarming rate, it is becoming increasingly important for your website to accept visitors from a variety of devices and screen sizes. This is where responsive web design comes in, but if you want to succeed you need to follow some crucial best practices.
- All users deserve the same experience
Make sure that the website is built so that the browsing experience is the same for all users on all types of devices. This means that the appearance and visual structure should change without creating any content or function losses for users.
- Design websites with responsive in mind
When wireframing your site, remember that there are layouts that work well for responsive design and layouts that don't. This means that you will need to design as simple a site layout and HTML code as possible and that you will need to use simple mechanisms.
- Pay attention to breakpoints
Resolutions can actually be defined in an assortment of breakpoints, but there are a handful of major sizes that you should be focusing on. <480px is for older, smaller smartphones; <768px is for larger smartphones; and >768px is for even bigger devices.
- Make images flexible and workable
Because you're already using a simple design, you can make images flexible, too (to a certain extent). The easiest way to achieve this is by using adaptative sizing and resizing their width. There is actually a tool that can help you do this.
- Allow compression of elements and content
Find a program that will compress your page resources for easier transmission across networks. This means that you will have lowered the number of bytes sent per page or element, which makes content easier to browse and access with low bandwidths.
- Remove non-essential content
If you really want your responsive design to shine, you need to remember that some content and elements were never meant to be used on a mobile phone and that they will never work. If you have these sorts of elements on your site, try to get rid of them.
The above list comprises some of the primary best practices that you should be trying out. If you want your responsive design to be successful, however, you should ultimately build it to load and function quickly on more portable devices, which often have low resolution, small processing power and low bandwidth.