January 6, 2021 Last updated June 16th, 2021 850 Reads share

10 Basics of Responsive Web Design You Must Know

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Just because your website is working perfectly on a desktop, doesn’t mean it will render in the same manner on other devices as well. There are a plethora of screen resolutions and devices available and it would be impossible or at least impractical to create a website for each device and also to manually check the elements of the website.

Therefore, it is essential to create a website that adapts to all the screen resolutions and does not compromise with the user experience.  However, many of these websites are not fully optimized for mobile devices and that’s where responsive design comes to the rescue.

Optimizing your website for different screen resolutions and devices can be daunting but you do not have to do it on your own anymore. You have to make sure that your website has a responsive web design and it will automatically adjust your website’s content to different devices and platforms. Make sure you test your website once before launch on LT Browser.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Making an existing website responsive is even more difficult and challenging. Therefore, it is suggested to focus on the website’s responsiveness from the beginning. You have successfully created a responsive website, now what? You need to check the above-discussed points by manually performing the responsive mobile testing on real devices.

Before creating a responsive website or a website, it is important to know your target audience and how they access the web because it will decide the features of your website. Analyze the site’s analytics and find out the most used devices or browsers and work accordingly on the site’s features. Below are the features you can work upon to create a responsive website.

1. Flexible Layouts

A website’s flexible layout will allow it to adjust automatically to different environments and resize easily to any width. The flexible layout consists of the following components:

  • Header
  • Footer
  • Body
  • Content
  • Copyright
  • Navigation
  • Links

2. Viewport Setting

The first step to optimize pages for a variety of devices is to define a meta tag in the head of the document that tells the browser how to adjust the size of the content while rendering the page. The meta viewport gives the browser instructions on how to manage the page’s scaling and without it, a mobile browser will render in the same manner as the desktop version.

Developers use width-device-width to match the screen’s width in device-independent pixels and define minimum-scale and maximum-scale to determine the scaling of the page. Using Percentage instead of Pixels will display the content based on the screen’s size and resolution.

3. Adjusting Content Size

After defining the viewport, you have to work on modifying the elements of your page as your users expect viewing the content in vertical format and not horizontal. Optimizing text for a page can be done in absolute terms using px or pt, and in relative terms using em, rm, or percentage and you can manage the text properties in the media queries for different dimensions so that the user does not have to scroll horizontally or zoom in leading to poor user experience. You can consider the min-text-size and max-text-size for a specific scale and viewport.

4. Using Responsive Images

Images have fixed dimensions and when the dimensions exceed the viewport, it will cause a scrollbar, which leads to horizontal scrolling.

But, you can easily overcome this problem by determining the max-width of 100% and set the height to auto. Using max-width instead of width will allow the image to not stretch more than its actual size and shrink in size when the viewport is smaller.

However, adding dimensions and attributes of the image to the img element will reserve the space for the image during its loading time, so that it avoids layout shifts while rendering the page.

5. Media Queries

While designing a website, make sure to not assign fixed widths to any element and consider the content, design, and settings of the site across all devices to ensure a high user-experience.

Almost all modern browsers support the use of CSS Media Queries, and it renders the content of the website appropriately according to the screen layout and allows different displays on different devices.

Web development professionals utilize max-device-width and min-device-width parameters to interact with specific CSS properties based on various screen-based filters. Media queries provide many styles for devices/browsers depending upon the orientation of the device, viewport, etc.

Some media queries considerations:

Based on Viewport Size

We can test the screen size based on the following things:

  • Width (max-width, min-width)
  • Height (max-height, min-height)
  • Ratio
  • Orientation

Based on Device Capability

Due to a plethora of devices available, we can test for the following features:

  • Pointer
  • Any-pointer
  • Hover
  • Any-hover

6. Choosing a Framework

You do not have to start from scratch anymore, instead, you can choose an appropriate framework for your website and then turn it into responsive web design. You can consider opting for a framework like Bootstrap or Foundation as it will allow you to modify and upgrade the existing website’s code without starting it from the beginning. RWD’s are coded in PHP, .Net, Java, and many other new frameworks that are easy to use and develop responsive web designs. Therefore, choosing an easy to use and reliable framework is essential.

7. Choosing Breakpoints

To identify a layout of a site, RWD uses breakpoints, where each design is used at different breakpoints, one below the breakpoint, one above the breakpoint, depending upon the width of the browser. Instead of optimizing breakpoints based on devices, choose to determine the breakpoints based on the content itself.

You can do this simply by designing the content first, according to the smaller screen size, and expanding it later according to the screen resolutions. This will ensure the least number of breakpoints and allow optimizing the breakpoints according to the content.

While choosing breakpoints, if the layout changes significantly, consider making minor changes such as changing font size, or adding or removing margins to make it look natural.

8. Media Query Breakpoints

After setting up your media query breakpoints, you can see how your website looks, but you do not have to resize your browser window anymore. Instead, you can go for Chrome DevTools, as they have in-built features that enable you to see how a page looks under different breakpoints.

9. Intuiting Navigation

A navigation menu acts as a map to the website that provides directions to the website and leads to a better user experience, and therefore, is an essential component of RWD. Having a different navigation menu for each device will trouble people and is not recommended. To overcome this problem, you have to create an intuiting and self-explanatory navigation menu, in either of the two ways:

  • Converting navigation links to the drop-down menu
  • Creating a hidden menu that can be accessed by a click/swipe.

10. Reduce Loading Time

If a website takes enough time to load, there are chances of users leaving and coming again to visit the web page and you don’t want that. Therefore, the speed of the website is important and cannot be neglected. Many times the need for RWD arises due to the slow loading time of a website. You can overcome this problem by choosing conditional loading i.e., only loading those elements of the page that are required by the end-users instead of loading those elements that are less important or usually consume more loading time.

Nowadays, more and more people surf the internet through mobile devices, rather than desktop, therefore, conditional loading is a more preferred way to eradicate this issue.

Since now you know the basics of Responsive Web Design, let’s see how you can perform Responsive Web Testing.

How Does LambdaTest Stand at Front as a Responsive Tool?

LambdaTest responsive testing tool allows you to seamlessly test your website on more than 2000 real devices and browsers which are publicly or locally hosted.

There are two different options to test your website depending upon the number of pages it has:

  • For a few pages, you can try the live interactive testing tool, as there are fewer pages, it will debug and resolve the issues live, leading to faster coding.
  • For a larger number of pages, manual testing can be daunting, therefore, you can go for Selenium based Automation Testing.

Features:

  • LambdaTest Selenium grid will enable you to test instantly on 2000+ real mobile devices and browsers and run parallel tests to rescue the execution time of your test suite by 10x.
  • You will get a variety of languages and frameworks to test in one place, along with different plugins.
  • It offers video recordings, automated screenshots of errors, browser and network logs, and text logs of every Selenium command to help you in detectings bugs and resolving them.
  • You can also add unlimited members from our organization so that you can seamlessly collaborate with them.

Isn’t that all you need in one place?

Conclusion

Responsive web designing is an approach that suggests that a website’s design and development should respond to the environment based on the screen size, platform and it allows developers to adjust text, UI elements, images, and content depending on the viewport and code in a single language for multiple devices and browsers.

Responsive web design -DepositPhotos

John Oliver

John Oliver

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