Responsive Web Designing: A Future of Web Designing

ADMEC Multimedia > Web Design > Responsive Web Designing: A Future of Web Designing

Advancement in technology (particularly HTML and CSS3) has revolutionized the outlook of the web industry. It has modified the way the designers used to work and design their websites and web applications.

Introduction of a variety of portable devices such as Smartphones, Tablets, Notebooks, Fun Books and many other gadgets over the past few years had led to increase in the number of mobile users and internet across the globe.

A website has not remained a site for desktop solely, thus when it comes to the designing for such mobile devices then Responsive Web Designing (RWD) or Adaptive Web Designing (AWD) is the perfect answer. 

What is Responsive Website Designing or RWD?

The term responsive or adaptive means “to provide responses or adaptiveness” to the users. Within the context of a website, being responsive means that to take an existing website and convert it into a responsive website. Responsive Web Designing (RWD) primarily refers to an integrated approach of web designing through which compelling and easy to use websites are built, to give an optimal viewing user experience.

That is to form a website that offers smooth navigation and reading with a minimum pinching, scrolling and zooming across a wide variety of devices starting from desktop computers to mobile phones. A website will be made responsive with the assistance of CSS3 and HTML. Whereas CSS3 is used for content representation, HTML is used for coding and structure. CSS3 comprises of media queries, electric fonts, flexible images and fluid interiors.

Basics of Responsive Website Designing

As a number of screen sizes and mobile browsers keep on growing, it poses a great challenge to the web designers to form a one size that fits all designs. Following are some of tips/guidelines that web designers should keep in mind while creating a responsive website.

Understanding the Mobile Web and its Content

Web designers should consider the few questions while mobilizing the content such as what is the purpose of the site, who are the users, what sort of data is being accessed by them, user locations, capacity of the devices, and screen information such as size, resolution, pixel density, color information,etc from which information is being accessed.

Adapting the Layout

Designers should use appropriate layout to suit completely different screen sizes i.e. from widescreen desktops to small screen phones.

Range of screen/ browser sizes for responsive website designing:

  • Devices-Size
  • Phones-480px and below
  • Phones to tablets-767px and below
  • Portrait tablets-768px and above
  • Net Book-990px to 1024px
  • Monitor-1024px and above

Resizing Images

Designers should resize the images to suit the screen resolution and will severe up lower bandwidth images to the mobile images.

Hiding non-essential Elements

In order to get responsive website designers should hide all the non essential elements especially for smaller screens.

All the portable devices are typically accessed from unpredictable environments, therefore web designers should focus more on core scenarios of a website creation and make sure that the website can be read in seconds by the users. The main focus should be on building the pages that are Crisp, Clean and Succinct. Designers will optimize the pages by vertical scrolling because it simplifies the consumption of contents for the users.

How to Create Your First Responsive Website

I know; you are excited to design your own first responsive web page right now. As you know that responsive website designing is an advanced form of website designing; so genuinely it needs a fare discussion on the required technologies and skills here.

Please read all the given points carefully:

Meta Tags

Meta tag is a coding statement in HTML that describes a few aspects of the contents of a web page. The information provided in the meta tags is used by the search engines for page indexation. Meta tags are generally placed at the top of a web page as a part of the heading.

Thus, a responsive designer needs to add the following meta tags to make a website mobile optimized. There are three different meta tags work for old, new, and modern hand held devices like mobiles (all types) and tablets.

  • Put these 3 lines in the head section of your site.
  • <meta name=”HandheldFriendly” content=”true” />
  • <meta name=”MobileOptimized” content=”320” />
  • <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0” />

CSS3 Media Queries

CSS3 Media Queries consists of a media type and zero or an optional expression to assign different style-sheets depending on browser window size using media features such as width, height, orientation, resolution, pixel aspect ration, and color etc. Using CSS3 media queries, presentations can be tailored to a specific range of output devices without changing the content itself.

You can use mediq queries in different ways for different reasons.

Syntax:

Use following CSS media query syntax for calling an external stylesheet:

<link rel=’stylesheet’ media=’screen and (min-width: 320px) and (max-width: 480px)’ href=’css/phone.css’ />

And you can control css presentation in css file too:

@media screen {
     body {
          width: 75%;
      }
}
@media print {
      body {
          width: 100%;
      }
}

Likewise, you can use more advanced CSS media queries like:

@media all and (max-width: 699px) and (min-width: 520px), (min-width: 1151px) {
  body {
        background: #ccc;
  }
}

Common Grid Systems to Create a Responsive Website

Grids are the simplest, strongest, and quick way to create page layouts. A grid is a set of number of “columns” and intervening “gutters” (margins) inside a “container” with any width and flexibility. Before CSS3, breaking up of web pages into columns was a complex process.

Grid system provided under CSS3 act as a guide for the web designers and developers. A well designed grid system allows such designers and developers to make their designs not only more beautiful and legible, but also more usable. It gives a feeling of considered organization of one’s website. According to Google, the grid system is designed as a pattern of regularly spaced horizontal and vertical lines.

In the words of Josef Muller Brockmann,” The grid system is an aid, not a guarantee. It permits a number of possible uses and each designer can look for a solution appropriate to his personal style. But one must learn how to use the grid; it is an art that requires practice.”

Following are some of the common grid system used to create a responsive website:

  • YUI CSS Grid
  • 960 Grid System
  • Golden Grid System (also referred to as Folding Grid)

Popular Frameworks to Develop A Responsive Website

Frameworks can be defined as a set of tools, libraries, conventions and best practices that enable the designers to cut down their routine tasks into reusable generic modules. CSS3 frameworks provide following benefits to web designers and developers;

  • Faster designing and building of websites
  • Designers can focus on crucial segments of website building- using a grid, including a print style sheet, browser compliance, creation of multiple layouts,etc.

Following are the popular frameworks that web designers and developers used to develop responsive websites:

  • Skeleton
  • Foundation
  • Bootstrap

Benefits of Responsive Web Designing

Presently designing responsive websites for portable/mobile devices are gaining popularity across the globe. It extends several benefits to the companies and to the users at large.

Benefits to the Users

For the past few years, we can say that an addiction, charm or popularity had been seen among the users especially youngsters who are using internet day and night and make wide use of multiple mobile applications. Using Smartphone, Tablets, and Notebooks for accessing the internet has become a common fashion or trend. The most important benefit of a responsive web design is its flexibility to be used on different screen sizes. As users are often distracted, occupied or busy, responsive websites enable them to access the information from any Geo-locations and portable devices. A responsive website automatically shuffles content, resizes images, and adjusts font size which helps to optimize a user experience. Presently Opera is the leading and most compatible browser available in the world for various Smartphone such as Blackberry, iPhone, Nokia, Chrome and Android.

Able to Read Information as per Preferences and Needs

With a responsive design, users can search and navigate the information as per their needs and preferences more conveniently and economically. Users are able to access information in very short span of time from any portable electronic gadget and from any location. They are not required to sit in front of their desktop computers and laptops for every single detail.

Encounters Fast and Intelligent Sites

Responsive websites act as a pocket guide for the users. It offers precise information according to their needs and preferences by tapping the Geo-location of the users.

Saves Time while Browsing the Site

Responsive websites enable the users to fast open the websites on their mobile devices and on other electronic gadgets. Also images and other stuff can be downloaded at a faster rate. All this saves the users time while browsing and gives them an optimal user experience.

Benefits to the Companies and Corporate Houses

Saves Time

responsive web design enables the company and web designers at large to simplify their designing process. Web designers are not required to create multiple versions of their website for completely different gadgets. Instead single responsive design is created to suit all designs. Therefore, a responsive web design saves the precious time of such designers and the company and allows them to focus on more crucial areas of a website development.

Minimize Maintenance and Overhead Cost

A responsive website is far easier to maintain than creating the multiple versions of a website. In responsive web design a single site is created or made responsive that can be open on different devices- desktop monitor, smartphones, iPads, iPhones, tablet, etc. Also updating a website becomes easier resulting in lower maintenance and overhead charges.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Responsive websites are easy to maintain and update, it saves time, efforts and most importantly capital employed in website development and its management by the company. Also it reduces the staff requirements for multiple websites as in responsive only one website is created. All these benefits allow the company to enjoy a higher return on their investment in the long run.

Improved SEO Rank

Responsive web designs enable a company’s website to rank higher in search engines as against the traditional websites. Responsive web designs permits the creation of a single URL structure and a single model for content optimization for all devices.

Better Performance means Better Sales

Responsive web designs enhance the users browsing experience across all devices which mean increased sales and positive conversion rates for the site. Better conversion rates ensure that people are more familiar with the site and become a prospective consumer.

All the above mentioned factors coupled with the widespread demand for Smartphone and other portable devices within the world- have given a rapid shift from traditional website designing to responsive web designing.


View Full Presentation on slideshare

Introduction to User Experience Design

Introduction to User Experience Design from ADMEC Multimedia Institute

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