Responsive web design is a new buzzword in the world of web development. By definition it means creating websites which react to the device’s environment. These sites share the same source code which helps bring down the development cost considerably. Designing a responsive site is a highly demanding job. The target isn’t merely to design a website which renders on all devices but offer a complete browsing experience to the users irrespective of the device he or she uses to browse your website. Here in this write-up we shall take a look at five major pitfalls that you must avoid when it comes to designing a responsive website.
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One of the biggest mistakes that most web developers make while creating a responsive website is by hiding the content. The reason they do this is to make the website appear visually attractive on small devices. This kills the whole idea of developing a response website. More importantly you shouldn’t judge which content is important for a user and what is not and rather let them make the choice. Mobile users often find this annoying as they don’t get the same experience browsing a websites as their desktop counterparts. In the long run you tend to force your mobile users to look for other alternatives. Avoid doing this and offer a complete website to the users irrespective of the devices.
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Single Pronged Approach
The whole idea of developing a responsive website is to cater to the PC/Laptop, mobile and tablet users. You need to keep the interest of all these categories of users while developing the website and avoid bias towards any of these platforms. Traffic statistics may convince you to favor one but you never know where the next big deal is coming from. So develop a website keeping all these categories of users and test the website using testing tools for all these platforms.
When you are developing a responsive website one of the things that you need to care about is the content size. If the page contains images which are large in size such images might create a problem for the users who access the website using mobile devices. Also try avoiding long text elements as the user in the smaller devices needs to keep scrolling to the eternity! The overall size of the page also needs to be kept in mind as heavy pages might be problematic for the mobile users especially who are making use of 2G and GPRS connections.
This is another major area of concern which you should keep in mind while designing a responsive website. The problem area lies with the mobile devices which often have their native browsers which create issues when it comes to rendering the website. Agreed that you cannot run a browser compatibility test for all the browsers in the world but it would be a wise idea to test it across all the popular mobile and desktop browsers. If possible avoiding features and functionalities which are known to create browser compatibility issues.
Relying on Device Dimensions
We may have mentioned this last but this is one of the most common mistakes that developers make while designing a responsive website. In the early part of responsive web design some standard sizes were being followed such as 320px, 480px, 768px and 1024px but with time this method has proved to be futile. You cannot control the screen size of the devices that are being manufactured around the world. And following such a method would require you to keep upgrading the site every time a device with a new dimension hits the market. This also creates issues with the height of the screen as many users like to have the bookmark or other bars in their browser. Instead, you should look for maintaining fluidity across different elements on your website.
These are the five important things that you should keep in mind while designing a responsive website. Remember the website needs to be adaptive in a true sense and you can achieve this with compromising on the quality of the images and content on the website.