The Ultimate Guide to Responsive Web Design: Benefits, Best Practices, and No-Code Approach
Responsive web designs future-proof your website and offer an impressive user experience. Learn all about responsive web design for your business in this blog - from best practices to benefits and the no-code way to design responsive web design.
Today, over 50% of global internet users are using mobile devices. And less than 45% - desktops.
So does this means you should only develop your website for mobile? Not really.
Today's digitally fast-paced world needs a website that can work on all devices without any interruption. After all, your website is the cornerstone for your marketing activities like driving brand awareness, traffic, and conversions.
That's when responsive web designs come into play. Responsive web designs ensure your audience can access your website on any device with the same user experience.
This approach gives you an edge over your competition and raises your chances of growing your business. Therefore responsive websites are a necessity than a luxury.
So in this blog, we're going to learn all about responsive web designs and how it benefits your business.
Table of content
- What is a responsive web design
- Responsive web design vs adaptive
- Why responsive web design is important for your business
- Responsive Web Design Best Practices
- The no-code way to responsive web designing
So let's dive in!
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is a design approach that makes your website flexible, so it works well on every screen size.
This approach ensures that your website's content settles into the dimensions of the user's device, offering a smooth experience across devices.
Once your website is designed to respond and fit into various dimensions, it'll shrink on mobile devices and expand on desktop ones. Plus, it'll work just fine for sizes other than mentioned.
This gives your users the flexibility to view your content from anywhere and any device, whether it's a minimized desktop screen or landscape mode in tablets without awkwardly large or small images or text.
So, in a nutshell, responsive web design settles into any screen size, be it a laptop, mobile, TV, or anything in between.
Let's take an example here. If you go to the TransferWise website, you can see its content work like water.
It adjusts as you minimize or maximize the browser or view it in different settings.
While the page adjusts, it ensures that the information stays the same - so that viewers across devices can see its value upfront, have the call to action above the fold, and have no difficulty whatsoever in viewing.
This is what a great responsive web design does.
While responsive designs essentially mean a website's ability to adjust to screen sizes, the benefits of responsive web design stretch way beyond that. Responsive designs not only enhance user experience but also enable high conversion rates across all devices.
Finally, it puts the control in the customer's hands to view the content in their preferred viewport.
But, How Does a Responsive Website Works?
A responsive website is based on 3 pillars:
- Media Query
Media query makes it possible to view the same layout on various screens without breaking. It's a CSS function that gets a signal from the viewer's device about the size and then triggers the breakpoints in the design.
- Fluid Grid
The space within the rows and columns is called a grid. That's where you can add your website's content. A fluid grid is a way to create a visual design for different screen capacities. A fluid grid enables layout stretching and contracting depending on the user's device.
- Flexible Images
Images can break the entire layout when not optimized. Therefore, flexible image is one of the pillars of responsive web design. Flexible images can adjust to various screen dimensions without pixelating too large or small for the space.
Let's now understand how responsive web design is different from adaptive ones.
Responsive Web Design Vs. Adaptive
When designing a responsive website, the designer builds just one web layout. Then this layout is made fluid to adjust to different screens and settle in their dimensions.
This means all the elements, design, navigation, etc., will be the same. It'll adapt to the screen's dimensions to show results. Naturally, it uses fewer resources, saves time, and is easy on the pocket.
When the user accesses responsive websites, the layout will take the shape of the device.
On the other hand, adaptive websites require designers to build a separate layout for each screen's real estate. This means the designer has complete control over how each web page loads on different screen sizes and how a visitor utilizes it.
When a user accesses an adaptive website, it'll identify the template and display the same.
Both responsive and adaptive web designs have their set of pros and cons.
While responsive is easier to maintain and costs less, adaptive gives you complete control over each screen's real estate.
But the goal of each of these approaches is mutual: to offer an impressive user experience and drive business results.
Lastly, it depends on your business goals, the complexity of your website, and your audience's preference that define whether your website should take a responsive or adaptive approach to design.
But for the sake of this article, we're going to stick with exploring responsive web designs. So let's dig deeper.
Why Your Business Needs a Responsive Web Design
Gone are the days where users would only access computers and designers didn't have to worry about different screen sizes.
Today, not only screen sizes are increasing but also customer behavior is changing. Indeed, today we're living in a digital era where buyers prefer shopping on their own instead of calling companies.
One way of facilitating user engagement and enhancing their experience is by designing websites that offer unparalleled experience regardless of which device the user is using.
Here are some other benefits of responsive web design.
- Less upfront and maintenance cost
Designing responsive websites means creating one layout which works well across all screen types. Therefore, it naturally saves you upfront cost and provides easy long-run maintenance.
For example, instead of maintaining different layouts for each screen size, you only have to manage and update one structure, and it'll work impressively across all devices.
- Enhances SEO
Achieving higher ranks on Google is critical for every business to attract new audiences and grow business.
While there are many factors Google takes into consideration, mobile compatibility is one of them.
Another reason a responsive website will boost your SEO is by decreasing bounce rates, which is yet another positive signal for Google's ranking algorithm.
Finally, having one URL instead of multiple URLs for different devices makes it easier for Google to crawl and index your website on its search engine.
- Decreases bounce rates
A high bounce rate signals Google that people aren't finding what they're looking for on your website.
Luckily, you can quickly reduce bounce rates by making your website responsive, offering a great user experience across devices.
Since responsive websites settle to the user's device instead of cropping the layout, it eliminates the chances of displaying unrealistically sized images and text.
- Enhances user experience
When talking about user experience, many factors come into play. However, one of the most fundamental is that your audience should:
- Find information easily
- Navigate smoothly
- Take action intuitively
Think about how users interact across devices - thumb gestures in mobile devices, mouse in desktop mode, and stylus for tablets.
This perspective keeps users at the forefront and helps you design a website that delivers an impressive user experience and keeps visitors coming back for more. Finally, enhanced user experience builds trust and loyalty among new and repeat customers.
- Expand audience reach
When you're designing with the audience in mind, you're designing for a large audience. This means with responsive designs, you get to target not only desktop or mobile users but everyone with a smart device. This will also future-proof your website, making your website compatible with emerging devices and varying screen sizes.
- Increases conversion rate
It's the job of a well-done UX and UI to enable intuitive next steps for the users.
A responsive website eliminates friction and positions your value upfront. Finally, when a layout adapts to the screen's size, it makes it easy for your audience to explore content, reach out, or make a purchase.
So far, we've covered what responsive web design is, its importance for your business, and how it is different from adaptive ones. But, what are some key considerations for creating responsive websites? Let's take a look.
Responsive Design Best Practices
Designing responsive websites is easier than it sounds. Designers have to ensure it looks flawless on each dimension, for each breakpoint, and even between those breakpoints. So here are a few best practices that can be a game-changer when designing responsive websites:
- Keep CTAs clear and close to the top
Imagine going to a supermarket but finding no checkout section. That isn't possible, right?
Similarly, the call to action acts as a check-out point or a gate to explore other pages on the website. If done right, almost every website will benefit from this one nugget of wisdom.
Be it mobile or desktop devices, keeping your call to action above the fold never hurts.
A great example here is Airbnb -- they’re crushing their responsive website goals and giving us some actionable inspiration. Here are some key takeaways from the Airbnb website:
- The call to action is above the fold on both mobile and desktop version
- The image is resized according to the device
- The navigation bar is on top of the desktop while on mobile, it sits towards the bottom, keeping the users in mind.
So keep your call to action visible, adjust the size according to the website, and always keep it above the fold.
- Don't forget the typography
No one wants to leave their readers squinting. That's why it's important to keep in mind that typography plays a major role in developing responsive websites. Poor readability will cause people to leave your website, causing high bounce rates.
- Designing mobile-first
Mobile screens offer less screen real estate than their desktop counterparts. For this reason, it's ideal for designing for the mobile-first then moving your way up to the desktop version. Designing mobile-first also helps you prioritize important elements of the page. Infact, Google announced mobile-first indexing in 2018, which gives the responsive website a considerable boost. This means if your website is designed mobile-first, it will boost your website's ranking and rank well.
Testing is the most vital supplement of a healthy marketing structure. Customer behavior, trends, and other elements are constantly evolving. So start with some of these practices and test till you figure out what sticks with your audience.
For example, you may have 2 breakpoints - one for the website and the second for mobile. But what happens between those breakpoints in a case where the viewer minimizes a browser window? So test till you win.
- Reliable interactions
Clicks and interactions on mobile vs. desktop look different. The former requires taps and touches, which are not always as accurate as clicks on the latter option.
So the clickable space on the mobile should be larger to make it easy for the users. A good starting point is to consider at least 48 dp.
So wherever you have buttons—blogs, hero section, forms, links—you need to keep in mind these dimensions.
- SVG and responsive images
Images can easily break the layout which makes it integral to keep the image responsive.
Besides, scalable vector design (SVG) is an integral part of the responsive website when using icons or illustrations. Using SVGs helps you scale without pixelating across devices.
Finally, SVGs are small in file size, so they don't bog your website; instead, they enable faster loading.
While this list is not comprehensive, this is a good starting point.
Although one thing to keep in mind is that think about usability. How a user will interact with your website on various screens, is the information clear and upfront, and finally test to verify your hypothesis.
The No-Code Way to Build Your Responsive Website
The No-code movement challenges the current website building landscape and makes technology accessible to everyone, regardless of their tech skills.
One of the most powerful features of the no-code website is enabling designers and non-designers alike to design beautiful websites without coding knowledge.
So without having to write a line of code, you can visually bring your imagination to life.
While there are ample no-code platforms out there, we help our clients build a website with Webflow. Webflow is a no-code website development platform that enables businesses of all sizes to build and easily maintain their websites visually.
Here are a few more reasons we opt Webflow to design an impressive website for our clients:
- Native responsive images
We've seen flexible or responsive images are one of the pillars of a responsive website. Webflow has in-built responsive images, eliminating an extra step of resizing images across devices.
- Clean code
One of the biggest advantages of using Webflow is its clean code. As we design the website, Webflow writes the code and the final product is a clean code. This helps load your websites faster and future proof your business by working on future devices as well.
- One-click switch between layouts
While you can create a single layout for the web page, you can switch between various layouts in a single click to see in real-time how each button, text, or image would look across devices at any point.
So it all boils down to having the ease of creating responsive, future-ready websites with the breeze. Responsive websites save you upfront cost and reap benefits in the long run with the ability to win over search engines and easy maintenance.
So in this blog, we've discovered what responsive websites are and how it's essential for your business. Here's a glimpse of the blog:
- Responsive websites are like water - they adjust to any device and offer an unparalleled user experience.
- Responsive websites use just one layout, ideally starting with a mobile device and scaling up to desktop sites, ensuring a seamless experience for all screens.
- Taking a mobile-first approach is a great idea to start building a website for every size.
- Responsive websites serve both long and short-term benefits. It saves upfront costs but is also easy to maintain.
- Testing is the essential element to achieving a successful website goal.
- No-code website design platforms like Weblflow make creating and maintaining a responsive website a breeze and future-proof your business.
Are you ready to experience the power of a responsive website?
If you're not sure if Webflow is the right choice for you, or you're not sure about the next steps, we're there for you! Schedule a call to discuss how we can build an impressive responsive website for your business growth and achieve your goals together!