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What is the Ideal Screen Size for Responsive Design?

By Shreya Bose, Community Contributor at BrowserStack -

  • As per Statista Forecast August 2023, global smartphone users might continuously increase between 2024 and 2028 by 496.7 million users.
  • People access the internet with distinct mobile and desktop devices making device fragmentation a real concern.

Device FragmentationEvery user expects that every website they access will render perfectly on their mobile device. This means website developers have to design websites displayed on many screen sizes worldwide. In other words, they need responsive design. But as every designer knows, executing responsive design has to begin with knowing which screen sizes to design for. This article explores this question and discusses the ideal screen size and common screen resolutions for responsive design.

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive web design is a design strategy that creates websites that work well for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Websites without responsive design risk alienating a significant number of users.

  • Responsive design entails designing a website so that a web app provides a good UX across various devices.
  • Mobile Responsive design includes scaling the web page components and content according to every device’s common screen resolutions.

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How to find the Ideal Screen Size for Responsive Design?

To understand why responsive design is integral to website success, one must realize device fragmentation’s vast and ever-increasing nature.

1. Identify where your users are coming from

2. Prepare a list of device-browser combinations covering these aspects

  • Device-browser combinations with high test-fail rates and low conversion rates.
  • Relevant devices and browsers, depending on the selected geographies.
  • Flagship devices with high potential usage in the future.
  • Type of tests to run in each device (Sanity, Regression, Integration, etc.).

How to find the Ideal Screen Size for Responsive Design

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Common Screen Resolutions for Mobile in 2023

  •  360×800   (11.01%)
  •  390×844   (7.92%)
  •  414×896    (5.55%)
  • 393×873     (5.26)
  • 412×915      (5%)

Common Screen Resolutions for Mobile in 2023

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Common Screen Resolutions for Desktop in 2023

According to the Worldwide Screen Resolution Stats September 2023, the most common screen resolutions across mobile, desktop, and tablet are:

  • 1920×1080   (22.18%)
  • 1366×768      (14.04%)
  • 1440×900      (6.41%)
  • 1280×720       (5.45%)
  • 1280×1024    (4.52%)

Common Screen Resolutions for Desktop in 2023

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5 Best Practices for Implementing Responsive Design

It becomes a lot easier to design a website for multiple screen sizes with the following guidelines:

  1. Know your breakpoints: In responsive design, a breakpoint is the “point” at which a website’s content and design will adapt in a certain way to provide the best possible user experience. To make a website responsive, designers must add a breakpoint when the content looks misaligned. Depending on the number of devices the site is being aligned to, multiple breakpoints must be set to ensure responsiveness. Refer to this article on responsive breakpoints to learn about them and their effectiveness.
  2. Create Fluid Designs: Fluid design refers to a design layout that can shift (expand and contract) to fit the device viewport it is running on. A fixed design layout will undesirably distort on every viewport that they are not aligned to. Work on design layouts by using % units as well as max-widths to ensure that the layout fits mobile device viewports without becoming too wide on desktop device viewports.
  3. Decrease Friction: The design must be easy to use on multiple devices. Responsive design doesn’t just include what a website looks like and how it performs in terms of accessibility and usability. Focus particularly on small-screen friction because web elements have less space to render as screen sizes decrease and become more likely to scramble and distort.
  4. Design Mobile-First: Since friction is more likely on smaller screens, design with a mobile-first approach. It is harder to narrow a desktop layout for a mobile viewport, while doing the reverse is easier. When designing mobile-first, the designer includes what is necessary for providing the optimal user experience.
  5. More functionality, less typing: Typing is harder on mobile devices than on desktop devices. So it makes sense to minimize the need for typing on mobile versions of websites. Replace typing with consciously leveraging device functions such as GPS, QR code reading, biometric ID, etc. Make it easier for users to share, email, or call relevant numbers by placing links that launch the necessary functions. Remember that the best responsive design involves simplifying and eliminating inconvenient mobile interactions.

While a responsive design may seem difficult to execute, the information in this article seeks to simplify this process for developers and designers. By doing what has been outlined above, it becomes much easier to create websites that please its audience, irrespective of the device they use to access that website.

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Responsive Design Testing on Real Browsers and Devices

Once a developer or designer knows the best screen sizes for responsive design, they do the work and create a responsive website. However, to ensure that the website renders how it is meant to on the devices it has been built for, it needs to be tested for exactly that.

An easy way to do this is to use a responsive design checker. Instead of running the website through individual devices with different viewports, enter the URL into the checker and see how it appears on various latest devices at different, frequently used device resolutions. The checker linked above offers responsive checking on the latest mobile devices such as iPhone X, Galaxy Note 10, iPhone 8 Plus, and more.

Use the BrowserStack cloud to check how a website renders on 3000+ mobile and desktop devices. Simply sign up for free, select the required device, navigate the website, and check how it appears in real user conditions.

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