Every day there is a new technology or innovation that comes up. As a web designer, your job is to keep up with the latest innovations and learn them accordingly. One recent innovation is responsive web design. This is a technology that is totally different from conventional web designing.
In simple terms, responsive web design makes web projects viewable in multiple devices. Responsive web design has an inherent flexibility which makes it a great and smart innovation. Through applications such as images, fluid grids and media queries, you are able to adapt the content of the website to any device; be it an iPad, smart phone, or even a desktop computer. With this concept, you do not need to create a mobile version for your website and you also wouldn’t have to bother creating an application for every popular device that is released.
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Here are some tips to keep in mind when building responsive corporate websites.
Tip #1: Decide on Your Design Method
Design is the main attraction point of any website. This should never be compromised. The designer should aim to come up with a fluid layout which appeals to clients in an easy way. Create a modest design that has a simple layout. The following are some layouts that must be considered for a perfect design features:
Stepped Layout: This is a unique technique that makes it possible to integrate different resolutions for different users. In the past, web designers would be required to have different designs for different devices like computers, phones as well as tablets. But a stepped layout allows you to have one design for different devices.
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Fluid Grid: This is a percentage-based method whereby you are required to create your site depending on percentage widths of the resolution in order to make it responsive. This method is more effective than the stepped layout in that you are able to optimize your website for every possible resolution without any limitation. This method will require a high level of expertise and can be quite a challenge for many designers who only have basic graphic design knowledge.
Fluid/Stepped Hybrid: This is a method that combines both stepped layout and the fluid grid design methods.
The technique allows one to integrate different resolutions for different users while at the same time allowing the designer create a design with a resolution of 960 pixels or less in width. Check How to Build a Better Design Experience.
Tip #2: Avoid Rigid Images
When you make your site for responsive purposes, images have a major role to play. In order to have an effective site, you should organize your images and make them flexible for them to fit different resolutions. You can resize images using the vertical and horizontal aspects. The CSS’s method also allows for cropping of images in order to fit any resolution. The safest way is to have different image sizes designed and stored up in the server. There is a feature that is used alongside DOM manipulation which can detect which image is needed for which resolution.
Tip #3: Make Reading Mails Easy
Most mobile users have a hard time when they try to read their email messages on their mobile devices. This is because the messages are resized to fine print that makes it very hard to read. This is an issue that can be sorted out using media queries. The web designer should be able to create an interface specifically for emails that will help one read mails as if you were on an ordinary site. As long as you give people an easy time reading their mail, they will stay connected to your website. This is the overall objective of designing responsive corporate websites. It helps with visitors staying on the site for a longer period. Check Approach Tips to Design and Market Your Mobile App.
Tip #4: Design for the Mobile First
Recent studies show that 80% of the world’s population own mobile devices (see http://ansonalex.com/infographics/smartphone-usage-statistics-2012-infographic/).
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Out of the 1.08 billion people who own smart phones, 84% of them use their phones for browsing and 76% for emails. This is the main reason why responsive corporate web designers should consider designing for the mobile first.
Also, there are very high chances that any design that works well with a mobile device will be easy to adjust to any other resolution. Check Designing Websites for a Better Mobile User Experience.
Tip #5: Create an Easy-to-Navigate Interface
Consider having the most important and relevant content only. Remove any unnecessary information and make navigation easy for the users. Place buttons and other icons in a place that is visible and avoid congesting information which will force the user to keep scrolling vertically and horizontally. Do not cluster all information in a single page as this will look messy. Check Eight UI Design Patterns You Should Consider.
Tip #6: Have a Sustainable Structure
When you are embarking on responsive design for a corporate website, it is important to consider options for future alterations. You do not want put so much effort into something that will become overruled by new technologies. Have a structure that accommodates the present as well as possible future challenges. You can try to split the CSS into several files to sort out components for easier navigation. Create different files for various tasks which will ensure that there is some sort of order and organization. This can be improved over time as new technologies come up.