Whether it’s while creating a new mobile app, website, or e-commerce platform, “responsive” is a term that will come up often. Modern websites, apps, and other digital assets must be responsive to meet modern standards and consumer expectations.
Here’s what it means for an app or website to be responsive, why it’s a crucial aspect of modern web and app design, and the fundamentals of its implementation.
What Is Responsive Design?
Ever try to open a website on a mobile device, and it just looks off? The buttons prompts are too small, the text is all over the place, and you have to scroll a lot just to use basic functions? This is most likely because the website wasn’t built to be responsive and as a result, it takes away from the quality of the user experience.
Responsive design in web and app development is a method of optimizing the user interface to fit organically onto the displays of various devices, whether it is a phone, tablet, or computer. You can test the responsiveness of our website, gracethemes.com, by simply opening this same article on another device with a different screen size.
Benefits of Responsive Design
Why go through the effort of implementing responsive design for digital assets? There are several reasons why responsive design is a must for modern web and app development as they are advantageous to both users and owners of digital assets alike.
The most obvious advantage of utilizing responsive design in the development of digital assets is the greater audience reach and accessibility. Giving people the ability to use your apps and websites on any device significantly increases the reach of your digital content.
Sure, pretty much everyone has a phone, a computer, or one of many other devices with screens of varying sizes. However, everyone uses technology in their own unique way.
For example, some people prefer tablets, laptops, and computers to do online shopping as the screen is larger and is more convenient for browsing products. Others may prefer shopping on the go with their phones. If your e-commerce platform can accommodate various types of devices and screens, this means more users have access to your shop.
Greater accessibility results in a wider reach of your digital assets and more seamless brand exposure. So, in a way, responsive web and app design can also be perceived as a powerful marketing tool on top of providing a better user experience for customers.
Convenience is the name of the game with modern technological advancements. Consumers expect to go through fewer and fewer hoops when doing anything as simple as browsing an e-commerce platform, using an app, and everything else in between.
This convenience also includes seamlessly jumping from one device to another. Here’s a scenario that demonstrates the importance of seamless functionality that responsive design can provide websites and applications:
A user is browsing an online shop on their computer and leaves their home. They must now switch to a mobile device to continue browsing products and finalizing a purchase. If the platform is not optimized for smartphone screens, they are unable to proceed to the checkout, and the vendor loses a potential sale.
By implementing responsive design into web and app development, this same client can easily finalize their purchase even on the go after they’ve switched to another device.
Look through any article covering the basics of branding or a guide on creating design systems, and you will understand just how important consistency is. Creating responsive digital assets allows your brand to maintain consistent quality regardless of what device is being used to access your content. Nothing ruins brand image like malfunctioning, glitchy digital assets, be it on a website or mobile app.
In the eyes of the consumer, the quality of your website and app is concomitant with the quality of your products and services. Putting extra effort into the responsiveness of websites and apps communicates to consumers that this company cares about what they do thus fostering greater confidence in your brand.
On top of that, responsive web and app design creates a solid digital environment for users without limiting them to a specific device in order to use your website, app, or digital asset. This consistent quality improves user experience, which in turn further creates positive brand perception.
Components of Responsive Development
It would take a much longer article to go through all the nuances of responsive web design and mobile app development. However, there are universal principles that apply to most digital assets when developing with responsiveness in mind and many of them utilize the term “fluid.”
Fluid is used to characterize visual content, be it text, images, videos, button prompts, menus, etc. on websites and apps that can adapt to different screen sizes. Take for example this article that you’re reading. Open it on different devices to see how the text organically adapts to the different screens.
On devices with bigger screens, this article has enough room to display wider lines and a smaller font. Smaller devices like smartphones, however, require the text to be more narrow and the font size bigger to fit into the smaller, vertical screen orientation.
Fluid images are another important aspect of responsive design. Depending on the resolution of the display, images will also adapt to different resolutions themselves to organically fit onto the screen.
Finally, there are media queries which are a set of instructions. These are written by web or app developers and are designed to dictate to browsers how to rearrange the contents of a website or application to suit a particular screen. For example, the designers could instruct the browser to rearrange a webpage vertically if the website is opened on a smartphone.
Responsive web and app design has become a staple of modern digital asset development. It’s really hard to imagine not having the convenience of jumping from one device to another without losing access to any function of an app or website.
It’s all thanks to the intricate craft of responsive development that we can continue making use of websites and apps regardless of what device we hold in our hands.