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A Fool-Proof Guide to Designing a Responsive Website


Today, responsive web design is not a trend; it’s a standard for any business who wants their website to get exposure. It was only a year ago when Google made it a part of a website’s ranking criteria, and visitors will more than likely see your website on their mobile device versus a desktop. Mobile-friendly websites are continuing to produce stats that prove it’s a must for businesses, and if your current website is not mobile-responsive it’s not too late for you to starting reaping in the benefits.

Check out our fool-proof guide to responsive web design and set your website up for success in no time.

Planning Out Your Website

Before you start designing your website, you should plan out the “flow” of your responsive site and establish each breakpoint you’ll be designing. A breakpoint is a point where your website will respond to the user’s screen and provide the best possible layout for their device. Essentially, these breakpoints will tell your website to accommodate to the screen its being viewed on.

Usually, you’ll going to want to create a min- and max-width for:

  • Smartphones, both portrait and landscape (less than 480px, at least)
  • Tablets, both portrait and landscape (less than 768px, at least)
  • Typical desktop screens (greater than 768px)

Once the breakpoints are determined, start sketching out your wireframes, also known as your website’s blueprint. These visual layouts will help you decide where each website page’s elements will work as the screen shrinks or expands. Remember to keep the user experience in mind when designing and how they will navigate through your website on each device.

Responsive Web Design Best Practices

It goes without saying that all successful responsive websites are easy to navigate through, no matter the device. While the tablet-sized design will be able to look similar to a desktop version, the smartphone layout will pose a bigger challenge.

Think of someone who is looking at your website on their phone versus their desktop. Smartphone users look don’t have a lot of control over the interaction, so it needs to be both accessible and readable, even on a smaller screen.

Also, strive to simplify when needed. If your desktop page has a navigation bar across the top of your website, condense it into a menu button for smartphones. As long as the user experience is always the center focus, there is not right or wrong way to design your responsive website. Just constantly ask yourself, “How can I make this more user-friendly,” and your website will be well on its way to success.

Designing Responsively (Pun not Intended)

Since this post is about designing a responsive website and not building it, we won’t be getting into the development process. If you aren’t accustomed to website design, get to know how to use a grid system for design, especially the fluid grid for responsive design. One thing to note about a grid system: You will not be able to design a responsive website without a grid-based design; it simply wouldn’t work. That being said, it you want control over your website’s design, get to know the fluid grid system well.

If HTML and CSS are not your second language, you can always hire someone to build out your website design for you. Although it might be a big expense, these developers will also act as a consultant for your website. They will probably be able to offer professional insight into how to make your designs more user-friendly and answer any questions you had while designing your site.

Testing Your Website

After your website has been designed, coded and staged, check out Google’s Design Resizer to test your website in multiple screen sizes. This will bring any responsive issues to your attention.

Stop losing potential customers because of your non-responsive website. Create a consistent, seamless experience for your visitors and start winning over clients. If you need help with your responsive website design, contact GreenMellen Media today!

About the Author

Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

View Brooke's Profile

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