4 Responsive Web Design Mistakes That You Want to Avoid

As responsive design becomes more popular, more businesses have migrated to it—for good reason. It offers the best user experience and accessibility, and users have started to expect responsive websites when they’re surfing the web. Businesses have started to overhaul their web presence with brand new responsive websites, which is great, but some have poorly performing sites because they ignored certain design principles and standards. If you’re building a responsive website, you should know what to avoid, so that your site functions without a hitch.

  1. Sluggish loading times

Larger files take longer to download; huge files on a responsive website will slow down the loading times of your web pages. In today’s day and age, that’s something that you want to avoid. Regardless of their internet speed, people expect web pages to be opened quickly. Here’s the problem: People on different devices may experience different internet speeds. Someone on a desktop or a laptop may be connected to a speedy wifi connection, while someone on a mobile device may be using a slow 2g or 3g connection. This divide in speed capabilities means that your site needs to be able to load across all devices, and all internet connections. As a rule, your site only has a few seconds to load before web visitors become disinterested. If it cannot load quickly, you will lose traffic. That’s almost a guarantee, and you can expect it to hurt your bottom line. Make sure that your site loads in 3 seconds or less.

Over resourcing your site will dramatically slow it down. You can remedy this by compressing your CSS and Javascript resources. If you’re not using a designer/developer, you can do this yourself by using tools like SASS (CSS compression) or Uglify (Javascript compression).

  1. Ignoring Touch

People on their phones or tablets will interact with your website differently than someone who is on a desktop computer. With this in mind, every link on your site needs to be easily accessible by someone who is using their thumbs to navigate. In fact, on mobile devices, links should be large buttons that are easily seen and simple to click on. Create icons that have a minimum of 44×44 pixels (as recommended by Apple). The navigation should be user-friendly; on mobile devices incorporate the use of drop down menus if you have a good amount of items in your navigation. Your website should be contextually inclusive—its functionality should make logical sense when being used on any device.

  1. Hiding content

If someone is browsing a site on a mobile device, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want a less immersive experience. Mobile devices offer far less real estate than traditional computers, true, but your web visitors will still come to your site with certain expectations. If those expectations cannot be met, then they will bounce from your site. Don’t do yourself any disservice by hiding content; the same content shown on a desktop computer needs to be displayed on a mobile device—no exceptions.

  1. Beginning the design process desktop-first

Designing for the desktop is a fatal error. You should begin the process mobile-first. This will allow you to properly account for all of the problems that the mobile design process causes. Transforming a desktop-only site into a mobile-friendly one is tricky, and you will surely run into frustrating setbacks. Designing the site with mobile in mind seems counterintuitive, but it really helps to set your design on the right path. If it can work for mobile, it’ll be able to be translated to desktop functionality.

Responsive design in the future

Responsive design is still in its fledgling stages. People have become acquainted with its power and have started to see its usefulness in a mobile-dominated world. But it’s not perfect just yet. As we learn more about responsive design, we will discover new ways to optimize it. What’s clear now is that it is the best solution that bridges the divide between desktop and mobile devices. Instead of having separate site for different devices, just create one responsive website that will work universally. Elevate the functionality of your site by designing your site to work seamlessly across any device.

As always, if you need help with your responsive website, please don’t hesitate to contact Zen Agency today.

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Joseph Riviello

Joseph L. Riviello is the CEO and Founder of Zen Agency. Joe's agency builds websites and web applications that attract, engage, and convert. Joe has over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and he is an expert digital marketing strategist who specializes in conversion-centric e-commerce experiences and cutting-edge solutions that maximize growth and profit. Check out Joe featured on: Business.com, Redbooth.com, Kabbage.com, MaterialDesignBlog.com

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