The primary aim of responsive web design is to deploy a website that’s accessible and provides optimal viewing on any and every device. It’s important to your business because Google’s ranking algorithms prefer responsive sites over unresponsive ones. However, with new technology entering the market all the time, web developers need to be aware of several responsive web design issues and avoid them.
It’s hard to break out of the mentality that desktop comes first when starting with responsive design. This inevitably leads to a developer finding it hard to make changes at the back end of the project to accommodate viewing on mobile devices.
Experienced web designers will tell you that it’s easier to scale up than to scale down. Your focus must be on mobile - create your website and address design issues on a smaller screen first before scaling up for desktop.
There are tens of thousands of devices on the market. It’s almost impossible to accommodate design for each individual device. Therefore… focus on screens. The same goes for cross-platform mobile apps. Device categories no longer define the size of screens. For instance, some smartphones have screens that are larger than some tablets.
Website navigation is paramount to ensuring a good user experience. Many designers focus on traditional navigation for desktop, which doesn’t translate well to mobile. It’s better to develop navigation for mobile first, creating menus in their most basic form, before scaling up for desktop. This will optimize UX and reduce user frustration and bounce rates on mobile devices.
You need to maintain design balance and give large screens the same attention as you give to small screens. Scaling up from mobile screen size to desktop can have implications for a number of design factors, including screen layout, font size and image quality.
Traditional keyboards have all but been replaced by touch screens. It’s vital that designers include touch technology to facilitate the use of taps, drags, flicks, pinches and spreads to improve user experience.
Hiding content to make a design fit smaller screens is a mistake. This greatly affects SEO. Search engines can pick up on the discrepancy in content between desktop and mobile versions of a website and will lower SERP rankings accordingly.
Users and search engines alike place a high premium on page loading speed. Slow page loading affects bounce rates and your website’s SEO. Your website should load quickly, regardless of the device or screen size.
Websites should deploy on a single domain. Using separate URLs for mobile versions will affect user experience and site performance, and significantly lower search engine rankings.
High quality images on desktop can look distorted on a higher density screen. Likewise, pixel-perfect images on smaller screens can look pixelated and blurry as you scale up. This issue can be resolved by using Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format for images.
This last issue is extremely important to resolve problems with UX. Run usability tests to ensure that what works in the ‘laboratory’ works on actual devices.
Responsive web design can be a minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing. At times like these, what’s best is to hire the best. It is totally worth it. Contact experienced web designers and developers to avoid responsive web design issues from the get-go and ensure your website looks and works great on all devices.
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