Google’s algorithm change for ranking mobile friendly sites has pushed many businesses to upgrade to a responsive design. In the past, a responsive site alone helped you stand out from the competition. Now, it’s the fine details that make the difference.
No website wants to simply blend in with the crowd. A few design tweaks to your already responsive design could make a major impact on how visitors view your content on all their devices. Think of it as going the extra mile to make your site better for your visitors.
To scale your site correctly, navigation is often condensed. Some desktop sites even condense their menus into a single hamburger style menu. The best responsive sites have different forms of navigation, depending on the size of the device’s screen. For instance, a desktop site may have a standard menu on the left side or top of the page while a smartphone site may have a hamburger menu at the top of the screen. The idea is to make navigation more intuitive based on the type of device the user is visiting from.
Provide Relevant Content
On a desktop site, you’re free to fill the above the fold area with the most relevant content and add in other content below the fold or even on the sides of the page. The smaller the screen gets, the more valuable the page real estate becomes. Mobile users want to get the most relevant content first without having to scroll or search.
For instance, a local business may not have their store hours on the homepage of the desktop site, but the mobile version might because that’s one of the first things a mobile user would be looking for. Think about which sections of your site are most important based on the device used. Provide users the most relevant content first, no matter which device they’re using, and you’ll stand out instantly.
User Friendly Buttons
Who hasn’t run across the responsive site that seemed to just shrink everything? They’re just as horrible to try and use as the desktop version on a smartphone. While you might think mobile means smaller, the opposite is true. Our fingers aren’t tiny in comparison to phone and tablet screens. Buttons and other navigational elements must be large enough to easily press with a person’s index finger. Basically, keep your buttons large so no one accidentally presses the wrong thing.
Properly Sized Images
Images do have to be large enough to see clearly on small screens, but they should scale to load faster on smaller devices. For instance, our post image would take up an entire smartphone screen and then some if it didn’t resize automatically. This reduces both the physical and file size, allowing it to fit on the screen perfectly and load quicker.
Another option is to consider how many images load based on device type. Obviously, you have more room on a desktop version to load more images. On a tablet, you might reduce the number of images slightly. On a smartphone, you may only have a fraction of what the desktop version shows. Mobile users will appreciate a faster loading site that doesn’t eat all their mobile data and desktop users enjoy a more aesthetically pleasing site.
Consider Information Density
Have you ever visited a website and felt overwhelmed? When it comes to web design in general, less is more. It’s even more important with responsive design. A site that’s already crowded on a desktop turns into a nightmare when it goes mobile. The human brain is only designed to handle so many choices at once. A website that throws numerous menus, buttons, images and stories at them all at once actually drains them.
Prevent this problem and ensure visitors enjoy their experience on your site by focusing on information density. Simplicity is key. Limit the number of options for each page and reduce those options as the device gets smaller. This makes it easier to absorb information on the site quickly. Creative Bloq showcases five great examples of simplified sites that look great on all devices.
Responsive Design That Stands Out
Responsive design is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean it needs to look exactly the same on every site. Take the time to consider how to make your site look its absolute best on every device. When you make it easier to use while still providing the most relevant content first, you’ll be ahead of the competition and stay in the minds of your visitors.
Want to ensure your responsive site stands out? Our Responsive Web Design projects will help your audience love your website on every device.
Image: Evan Courtney