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What is a Responsive web design?

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Responsive web design ensures that the appearance of a website, webshop, or web application changes in a dynamic way.

What is a responsive web design?

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach used in developing a web environment. Responsive design ensures that the appearance of a website, webshop, or web application changes in a dynamic way. This is completely dependent on the screen size and orientation of the device used to view it. For example, a PC screen will show a responsive design completely differently than a responsive design on a smartphone. Responsive web design is an approach that answers the problem of some designs. Responsive web design does this by adapting to the different devices available at the time. So this can range from small smartphones to large desktop monitors.

How does a responsive web design work?

Responsive design uses so-called breakpoints. These help determine the layout of the web environment based on the screen size it is displayed on. One specific design is used above a breakpoint and another design is placed below that breakpoint. The breakpoints are mainly based on the width with which the browser can display itself. The layout of these designs remains completely the same on all different devices. It is only the layout that is modified to change the look of the web environment.

With responsive design, page elements are actually just rearranged, so that it can be viewed clearly on the desired device. This way images can be placed in a different place within your web environment. Or when you have multiple text columns, this is reduced. Responsive design is based on proportions indicated by a grid. Within this you can arrange the content and other design elements.

What is important when using a responsive web design?

It is good to keep in mind that responsive design is also possible to show certain items on smaller screens. So it’s not just a good way to provide equal access to information. Often they are items, such as background images, secondary content, or additional navigation. The decision to hide this content and other items or change the appearance of a page should all be based on knowledge about your users and their wants and needs.

Because the design is not linked to a specific device with responsive web design, the design is actually just adjusted. Elements are therefore displayed larger or smaller. In addition, they are also placed in a random order. This makes it better to implement a responsive design on a website that is focused on the content instead of the functionalities. Complex data or interactions can be difficult to implement while maintaining clarity and functionality.

How do you create a useful experience with responsive web design?

Since responsive design relies on moving elements around on a page, design and development work closely together to ensure a usable experience across devices. Responsive design often turns into solving a puzzle. This is because you have to completely reorganize the elements on larger pages to fit the elements on thinner and longer pages. Ensuring that elements fit within a certain page is insufficient for a successful responsive design. For the responsive design to succeed, the design must be fully usable on all screen resolutions and all screen sizes.

As the elements move around the page, the user’s experience is also modified. The user experience may vary with the different views. It is therefore very important that design and development teams work together to determine the arrangement of the content. In addition, it is also important to see what the end result looks like with the moving elements. This way they can also have an idea about how this might affect the user experience.

That is why many teams are looking at popular responsive design frameworks, an example of this is Bootstrap, which can help with creating designs. Such frameworks can also be of great help in getting the development going. Careful consideration must be given to how the framework will respond to the content and functionality of your website and not just how the website works in general.

Test

To get an indication of the user’s experience, we recommend performing usability tests on the responsive designs. In addition, it is also good to test the responsive designs on different platforms. It can sometimes be difficult enough to design a website that is usable on a desktop. So it can be even more difficult to design a website that is usable for the different screen sizes. The same design element that can work on a desktop can work terribly on a smartphone, or vice versa.

Why is content important in responsive web design?

The content is an important aspect to keep in mind when you want to apply responsive design in a good way. On a large desktop monitor, much more content is visible without having to scroll compared to the small screen of a smartphone. So it’s slightly easier for desktop monitor users to look around the page so they can discover what they’re looking for. On a smartphone, users often have to scroll endlessly to discover the interesting content they wanted. It is therefore important to prioritize content. Because with this you help your users find what they are looking for.

Why is responsive web design important?

Responsive design can also affect the performance of your website. Not every device can handle the same heavy architecture. There is therefore a big difference between a desktop with a large screen and a smartphone with a small screen. You also have to think about the internet connection. When you test the responsive design, you are probably in the office with an excellent network connection. However, this is not the case in all situations. So think of alternatives and make sure that your responsive design does not reduce the performance of your website. It is therefore not nice when downloading a file from your website takes ten times longer for a smartphone user compared to a desktop user. So test this in all possible situations and be prepared for this!

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