As we consider the move from desktop / laptop devices to tablets, phones, watches, and glasses, the term “responsive” arises more and more often in web design conversations. So what makes a site design ‘responsive’?
Responsive design originally referred to websites scaling to fit multiple sized screens. However, its meaning has expanded in recent years, and now a better description may be “Websites built to provide an experience that is optimized for each device used to access it.” While this does include scaling to fit the size of the screen, there are a few other key factors to consider, as well.
1. Concise Content
The phrase “Content is King” is becoming even more important in web design today. Just a few years ago, websites were accessed almost exclusively via desktop computers. Excess content was easily skimmed over and ignored by the user. Cottage industries related to desktop usability gave us innumerable recommendations on how to arrange the furniture in the desktop world. Consider the same content, but accessed on a small phone (or a watch!). The visitor now only views a small portion of the elements, and may not even see the relevant content without scrolling through the site.
Deciding on the structure of the site — so content can be found easily — and editing content to be concise and relevant is essential for a good user experience where multiple devices exist
2. Quick Loading Time
Another important consideration is the loading time of the website. In the world of desktop computers, and with increasing access to broadband Internet connections, the average file size of a web page grew without significantly slowing down the loading time.
Mobile devices are quickly overtaking desktops as the primary way users access the Web. Since mobile users – if not in a Wi-Fi network — are more likely to have a slower connection, the way websites are built must be changed in order to continue meeting the visitor’s expectations for load time. Sites must be built to load quickly and take up less bandwidth in order to provide a good user experience.
3. User Interaction
In the past it was fairly certain that the visitor would interact with the website through a keyboard and mouse. Today, the type of interaction broadens to keyboard, mouse, stylus, touchscreen, trackpad, multi-finger gestures, etc.
This change in tactile approaches to interaction once again impacts the design of a properly responsive website. For example, a small link that is easy to click with a mouse may be almost impossible to click if the user is employing their finger on a touchscreen.
Websites must be built to work with all of these input methods in mind, not just with a keyboard and mouse.
What does this all mean?
It is critical to design a website that responds to your visitor and the device that they are accessing it from. We must serve them an interface that is not only attractive and scales to the size of the screen, but also loads quickly, displays relevant and organized content, and is easily interacted with by the user.
Learn how your website stacks up against these changing trends by contacting Infinity Concepts and taking advantage of our Web Assessment offer.
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