Responsive Web Design: The Basics of Building a
Better User Experience


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Ohhhhh websites! When it comes to sharing your business or organization with the world, your website is a bit like your online home. It tells people who you are and what you do/care about and welcomes them into your world. It’s like an online open house, which explains why so many people spend time thinking through its design β€” the layout of web pages, the colors used, the images shared, the copy written. However, something that’s just as important to consider is your responsive web design. In this blog, we’ll dive a little deeper into the subject and explore the difference a responsive web design makes to the success of your online home.

When your website is your online home, you want to make sure it's a welcoming place for all. A resposive design will help.

Understanding the Basics Responsive Web Design

Here’s a basic definition of a responsive web design from Adobe Business: “Responsive web design means creating web pages that render well on a variety of devices, windows, and screen sizes. When a website is designed responsively, it will stay consistent no matter how or where you view it. Great responsive web design recognizes that it’s not just the screen size that changes from desktop to mobile. The consumer mindset changes, too.”

Let’s break this great explanation down. First, it’s easy enough to understand that a browser window and device width differs device to device. (An iPad screen is a different size and dimension compared to a laptop compared to a smart phone, etc.) As a result, responsive web designs take each browser width into consideration. A responsive web design means that your web pages will work well (and maybe look slightly different) based on if a person is viewing it on their phone, tablet or laptop/desktop screens.

The screen width of a tablet will be different from the screen width of a phone β€” responsive designs and a responsive site take this into consideration

Benefits of a Responsive Website for Mobile Devices and Beyond

Adobe explains the benefits of a responsive website well: “Responsive websites give marketers another place to optimize for customer experience. They also increase your site performance. When your responsiveness goes up, your bounce rates go down. Your engagement increases as you optimize for different viewpoints and customer mindsets.”

The stats of a mobile friendly website don't lie. Ensuring your website works well on difference devices can impact your bottom line.

To explain these benefits further, let’s look at a few statistics of how people visit websites and for how long. First, mobile phones and tablets are responsible for 56.74% of global internet usage, which means a responsive design is a must for your website. After all, you just don’t know how any one person will view your site, right? No matter how they come to your site, you want them to enjoy it and come back.

Next, the average amount of time someone spends on a website depends on the kind of content they’re viewing. If someone is looking at a blog post, the average time is two to five minutes. If they’re on an e-commerce site, the average ranges from 44 seconds to 1 minute, 22 seconds. (See here for more on the stats.) These average times also differ based on the purpose of the site β€” is it an e-commerce site? A B2B site? A personal website?

Responsive web design is a crucial component to any website these days.

Knowing that people spend a very limited amount of time on any website means that the website needs to make sense with a few quick looks. And because you don’t know if someone will be looking at your website from their mobile phones, small screens or full-size computer, you’ve got to make sure your site is taking every viewport size into account.

Definitions for Web Pages on Your Mobile Device and Beyond

Here’s quick glossary of terms you might find as you read up on mobile first design, modern responsive design and more on the topic.

The terms used to explain the backend design of a website β€” css media queries, flexible images, mad width property β€” can sound like a different language.

User’s viewport β€” This is the area of the web page visible to users.

Font size β€” While you probably know what font size is, it’s an important part of responsive design because based on the size of the screen, the text and image size may need to be adjusted. Hubspot has more info on the topic here.

Viewport width β€” VW is a relative unit of measurement used in CSS to define sizes and layouts on web pages. (Thanks to SitePoint for the definition.)

Viewport meta tag β€” HTML (HyperText Markup Language) code that tells browsers how to control viewport dimensions and scaling. It’s a key ingredient of responsive web design and ensures your content is easy to view. (Thanks to SemRush for the explanation.)

Media query β€” Media queries, as explained by Inside Design, “allow developers to use condition checks to alter web designs based on the properties of the user’s device.”

Two column layout β€” This is a basic website layout and includes a header, a footer and two columns in the general content area.

CSS grid layout β€” This is a way to lay out a website in columns and rows. With a flexible grid, the columns automatically readjust based on the device width and screen size.

More features of a responsive website include responsive images and responsive typography which both scale in size based on the device width.

Responsive Web Design to PR Plans β€” Let J.O. Agency Help You Build Your Communication Strategy

These days there are some incredible resources for building a website you love, including companies like SquareSpace, Shopify and WordPress. With a basic understanding and/or training, you may be able to take on the work of creating a website that serves your business. However, if you’re looking for personalized expertise, remember that J.O. Agency is here to serve. Our team can take on the entire responsive web design process for you. We also specialize in communication strategy β€” copy to PR to digital advertising. Don’t just take our word for it β€” visit our portfolio of work to see what we’ve accomplished for clients in the past. When you’re ready, reach out to us through our website or call 817-335-0100.

From the computer screen to irl, we see the brilliant possibilities of sharing your company's message with the world. (Photo taken at our recent eclipse watch party.)

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