Home Guide Responsive Design Trends : What’s Changed in 2019

Responsive Design Trends : What’s Changed in 2019

By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack -

Ever wondered how businesses have started to give more importance to responsiveness, to provide users the best web experience? To deep dive, let’s get started with the concept of mobile responsiveness.

What is a Mobile Responsive Web Design?

Mobile responsive web design is an approach that is widely implemented in the web designing process that enables the web pages to render well across various mobile devices (desktops, smartphones, tablets, laptops) having different window or screen sizes and resolutions. Web developers, especially the front-end developers, focus on developing mobile-friendly websites as the users tend to interact with the website more through smartphones.

Why is it important to have a Responsive Web Design for your website?

Given the growth in smartphone users, there has been a remarkable increase in website traffic. This drastic change drives us to the conclusion that people’s expectations regarding how a website should appear on a mobile device have changed too. The following are a few stats (as per Infront webworks) that denote the importance of having mobile responsiveness.

  • Nearly 60% of total internet access happens on mobiles in 2019
  • Mobile phones drive 50% of total e-commerce revenue
  • Total number of adults making use of smartphones is 77%
  • 94% of online visitors judge a website based on the responsiveness of a specific website

Mobile Traffic Graph

After analyzing the above stats, one can conclude how crucial it is to have a responsive web design for a website to cater to the rapidly growing online users through smartphones.

A web developer builds a user-friendly website to reach the maximum audience. Google recommends all websites to be mobile friendly and assigns an extra weight for responsiveness, at the time of indexing a page. Responsive webpages thus have superior search positions.

As a result, organizations need to invest resources for cross browser compatibility testing and testing across a variety of real devices.

Understanding Responsive Web Design with Example

Let’s consider water as an example.

  • If water is poured into a jar, it adopts the shape of a jar
  • If water is poured into a bottle, it takes the form of a bottle

Similarly, think of the content on a website as water, where the content adjusts and renders itself as per the screen-sizes across various devices just like water adopting the shape of various vessels it gets poured in.

How to Make a Responsive Website?

Following are a few best practices a web developer should follow to make a website responsive:

  • Including the <meta> tag element in all the pages: It helps to set the viewport of all web pages which instructs the browser on how to resize the page. Following is a code snippet for defining the meta element on each web page.
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

The example below shows how a web page is rendered with and without a viewport meta tag.

Without Viewport meta tag vs With Viewport meta tag

viewport 2               viewport 1

Images source: w3schools

  • Making the images responsive using the CSS max-width property: Responsive images scale automatically to fit any size across various devices in the browser. Once the CSS max-width property is set to 100%, the image is easily scalable. Example of the related code snippet:
<img src="img_girl.jpg" style="max-width:100%;height:auto;">
  • Making the text responsive: One must set the text size with ‘vw’ (viewport width) unit to make the text size scalable. A related code snippet is as follows:
<h1 style="font-size:10vw">Hello World</h1>
  • Making the video player responsive: Similar to the images, the video player can be made to scale flexibly once the CSS property “max-width” is set to 100%
  • Using Media Queries: Using media queries is another standard method in responsive web designing besides resizing images and text elements in which one can define different styles for different browser sizes.
<style>
.left, .right {
float: left;
width: 20%; /* The width is 20%, by default */
}.main {
float: left;
width: 60%; /* The width is 60%, by default */
}/* Use a media query to add a breakpoint at 800px: */
@media screen and (max-width: 800px) {
.left, .main, .right {
width: 100%; /* The width is 100%, when the viewport is 800px or smaller */
}
}</style>

Most Common Mistakes to Avoid, while working towards Responsiveness

Here are a few common mistakes to be avoided, as prescribed by Google:

  • Web developers must ensure that the Google-bot can easily access the CSS, JavaScript and image files used on the website
  • Avoid using media or any other content that is incompatible with mobile devices
  • Avoid faulty-redirects for mobile users (i.e. A mobile user’s original request should be redirected to the appropriate mobile site’s URL)
  • Avoid interstitials that cover up the original content. It may be frustrating for a visitor.
  • A web developer must avoid usage of tiny fonts which may result in a lousy viewing experience

How to check if a website is Mobile Responsive?

Manually testing the website across various devices for responsiveness using the developer tools in the browser can prove to be a very tedious task. As test automation is slowly gaining importance, there are tools available in the market using which one can quickly determine the responsiveness of a particular website across multiple devices and browsers.

One such tool available is Responsive by BrowserStack, which makes mobile responsive testing simple. The responsive tool provides a combination of real devices to test on the fly! The screenshot below gives a clear idea about the tool.

Responsive Tool

Using a Responsive tool, one can quickly analyze the output rendered across 2000+ devices and figure out any flaws.

Similar to Responsive tool, BrowserStack also provides a tool known as “Screenshots”. Screenshots, as the name suggests, captures the rendered output across a range of devices and share a link with all the screenshots. Refer the below image for better understanding.

Screenshots Tool

Final Thoughts on Responsiveness

Traffic from mobile devices is up to 60% of all website traffic. Thus, creating a website that works seamlessly on mobile devices is critical. This is achieved by adopting a responsive design. Making the website responsive is not straightforward. Web developers must implement best practices and make use of handy tools like Responsive and Screenshots. Comprehensive testing ensures excellent user experience and results in better search rankings.

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