Responsive web designs have been here for a while and with the increase in usage of smartphones and tablets, responsive websites have gained popularity. In this article we discuss Challenges in Designing Responsive Websites.
Responsive web design has made the design process more complicated. Since the designer does not know on which screen his website will be viewed, he has to design a website that is suitable for every screen size and resolution.
Then each device has a different screen resolution that affects the viewing of the website. Earlier designers used to develop different websites for each device but as the variety of devices are increasing, it is difficult to design a separate website for each. That is why more and more designers are creating responsive websites that are adaptable to every device,
Designer uses jQuery and CSS media queries to develop fluid layout. The designer first codes the website and then adds design and content. He needs to develop sample content for various screen sizes before coding the website otherwise it will create a difficult layout that may irritate the visitor.
In addition, the designer needs to develop a consistent fluid layout. For this, the designer should know the content and design as they play a major role in selecting the part that needs to be visible on smaller screens. The designer evaluates the content of the website and decides how the website will work on every screen size so that it fulfills the business objectives.
This process usually takes more time than developing a standard website and the process becomes more time-consuming when the designer has to convert an existing site into a responsive one.
On responsive websites, the images are resized according to the screen size but at times when images are scaled down, they then lose their details and may result in a meaningless image. To avoid this, the designer crops the image so that only the most important parts of the image are viewable. But this cannot always be done so designers combine two techniques together, first, cropping the image and second, using scripts that automatically resize the image.
The concept of responsive web design was introduced in 2010. Responsive web designs resize themselves according to the screen of the device it is being viewed upon. So, it means one website design for all screens but the designer needs to take care of the technical and aesthetical aspects of the website. The designer should also keep in mind the look of the content on the website.
This is done to ensure that the same content is available on all devices. It makes the job easier as the designer does not need to update the content separately on every platform. When content is shifted from a large screen to the small one, three things can happen to the text:
As the screen gets smaller, the width of the page is reduced. Column becomes narrower but the size of the font increases so that it is readable. Sidebars are shifted from the sides to below so that content is legible. Six columns may be reduced to four to fit the screen and make the viewing experience worthwhile.
Few parts of the text are hidden to reduce scrolling. It is also done to fix the size of the screen. Unimportant content is hidden through tabs and is revealed only when the user clicks on the tab.
The most loathed result is produced so that the text is adjusted on the smaller screen. However, most of the businesses do not approve of this technique but it is done to reduce scrolling or loading time of the webpage. Least important text is removed from the website when it is viewed on smaller screens.
By keeping these things in mind, the content is strategized so that the important text is not missed out. It is better that the designer develops a content prototype, first, so that the layout of the website can be designed accordingly
What is a Content Prototype?
A content prototype is an HTML and CSS based fluid grid that deals with the layout and typography of the content. it will help the designer identify the points where media queries can be placed. It also makes the content readable and suitable for the layout.
Start with the highest priority content and code it using fluid grids so that the text can be readable in every screen size. It is best recommended that the media queries should be added where there is a breakage in fluidity of the text to create a smooth reading experience.
The content prototype builds cohesion between the message and design elements of the website. It also tests the usability of the web design on all the resolutions so that the quality is not compromised on any of the devices.
A content prototype also helps decide what parts of the content need to be shifted, hidden, or removed without changing its context.
These techniques have simplified the usage of websites on smaller screens but they require a lot of coding making it a difficult task for the web developer. They spend more time and effort in order to make these websites functional. The designers can test it on various devices to be sure of the efficiency of the website.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the Challenges in Designing Responsive Websites, don’t worry if you’re not a developer and don’t have the budget to hire one checkout responsive wordpress templates on Creative Market to help you get up and running online.
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Ashlee Swenson is a web designer and professional writer at https://homeworkpay.net/, and fond of psychology. She takes part in different conferences and presentations to get more knowledge and obtain experience. She dreams of helping people cope with their problems.
Also published on Medium.