Best Responsive Web Design Practices

By now you may have heard the term “responsive web design” being thrown around. In case you’re new to this concept or our blog here, the term describes creating a website that properly adapts and functions on all kinds of devices. As technology evolves, so must the practice.

That said, 2019 responsive design will be a little different than 2018, which was different than 2017, which was different than 201, and so on and so forth. As the technology progresses, consumers can begin to expect a personalized experience, giving you even more reason to stay ahead of the competition! We’re going to cover the five most relevant responsive design practices and principals to keep in mind this year. Let’s do this!

1. More Micro Interactions!

One of the most common things web design writers are noticing as trends for the year is the use of micro interactions. Micro interactions are variables that allow a user to interact with a page without reloading it.

The best example of this is Facebook’s “reactions” that have been added to post “likes.” You can react to posts with hearts, smiley faces, angry faces, and sad faces to indicate your emotions toward the content of a post, and the page doesn’t reload — it stays the same.

Micro interactions save time and make the user experience (UX) much more fun. We expect to see them become more popular in 2018 and a given in the future.

2. Smart Typography

While commonly overlooked, you are able to create a responsive typeface in addition to the other page aspects that are typically designed to be responsive. For instance, a desktop version of a page may use Helvetica 24 pt. for a header, but a mobile version of the page could use a smaller type of Arial.

Certain fonts jump out at you and work best on a big screen — they’re designed to be large, not just appear large in relation to the rest of the page. This makes that font less effective on a mobile page. Aesthetically, it may be less pleasing, and it may push smaller, important and informative text out of the limelight for users. So setting up titles and text into different fonts and sizes for each device being used is crucial to user experience.

3. Be Knowledgeable of Mobile

While mobile websites have been well covered in web design journalism over the past few years, expert writers are arguing for more attention on them! The reason for this? Well in short, the majority of web traffic is coming from mobile devices now.

With that in mind, make sure to separate the concepts of apps and websites in your mind. App usage and user experience are important, but having a responsive app is different than having a responsive website. However, as a web designer you might find yourself working on them, depending on the circumstance.

For an app, there are a lot of similarities to what you may focus on for a mobile-catering site, but then there are semantics a responsive web design will not deal with. For instance, proper A/B testing will be done on an app differently than a responsive website. However, the gamut of screen sizes that could be used is a consideration for both.

4. Innovate on the Grid

In the past we have made good use out of popular grid designs like the rule of thirds, 12-unit grids, and common column amount grids for website design. To keep things fresh though, you have to grab people’s attention, even subtly or subconsciously.

For this reason, 2018 should be the year you innovate your grid layouts. There needs to be a way to keep your website aesthetically pleasing but also differentiate it from other websites, and page organization has a lot to do with that. Try new, uncommon column combinations or playing around with whitespace and the CSS grid for new means of page organization.

5. Vibe on the Color Wheel

Vibrant colors are the new black, to borrow the colloquialism. Web design writers such as those at Elegant Themes agree that in 2018, vibrant colors are going to be what current web design tools allow us to experiment with next.

The Elegant article talks about Material Design specifically and the advancements it’s made along with its popularity. Similarly, Creative Bloq pointed out Flat Design 2.0 and its updated, evolving use of gradients with vibrant colors as something to take advantage of this year.

In the past, mobile screens were not as strong, and vibrant colors didn’t always translate as well with complex and busy visual designs. But the more technically advanced our smart phones and tablet devices become, the less of a divide there will be between the quality of content able to be displayed on mobile devices compared with that of a desktop. This is how responsive design has even found its way to the semantics of color.

What are your opinions on responsive design in 2020?