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Things to Look for When Designing a Responsive Website

November 16, 2015

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Things to Look for When Designing a Responsive Website

It’s not surprising that mobile continues its steady climb of popularity. After all, what else am I going to do with the incredibly smart mobile device in my pocket? Answer: Play TwoDots, read my Feedly, listen to Spotify and answer my friends’ questions with a quick Google Search. But I can’t find those answers if you don't have a responsive website. Surely I’m not the only one here that has left a mobile website because it was too difficult to read on my phone? When I’m on-the-go, the information needs to come quick and easy. Anything else makes me bounce like a kid on a trampoline. So, if you’re wanting to keep me (and the numerous others just like me) around on your company’s website, it’s time to get responsive. Luckily, I’ve got just the thing to help you knock out some of the most important parts.

Is the Website Thumb-Friendly?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pinch zoom on my phone. (And most of those instances led to me finding another website.) Design for the thumb! Lose the cursor-first mindset; it’s not doing you any favors. responsive-website-buttons People are using their thumb to navigate and click on your links, buttons and call-to-actions. If you aren’t considering this reality, your responsive design won’t work. Here are some tips for a thumb-friendly mindset:

  • Make buttons big and easy to spot.
  • Keep clickable content away from page corners. (You don’t want accidental touch!)
  • Enable clickable contact information so readers can click to call/email.

Are you designing for the thumb? If not, it’s time to start!

How’s the Readability?

This is similar to the thumb-related touch issue - except for your eyes! responsive-design-fonts If I can’t easily read your font, I’m going somewhere else. And so will the vast majority of your readers. Remember, we’re on-the-go. That means keeping things simple, easy and accessible.

  • Take the time to find a simple, readable font. (I’m looking at you, Zapfino!)
  • Visually, keep the contrast high. (Black text on white, not beige on brown.)
  • Keep to standard web writing rules. (Short paragraphs, easily scannable.)

People visit sites to consume information, and finding the right font is a huge part of that process. Don’t skimp here - take the time to do it right.

Does the Content Stack Well?

Stacking happens when you shrink a screen and the elements, well, stack on one another. If I’m being completely honest, I hated the first few years of responsive design. In fact, I preferred someone to serve me a mobile site rather than a responsive one. Why? Because designers refused to pay attention to how things stacked. responsive-design-stacking This caused a frustratingly poor user experience, and I wanted to give up on responsive websites all together. Thankfully, most designers have evolved past these poor practices. But it’s still easy to fall into if you’re not careful. The solution is simple: make sure the stacking makes sense.

Have You Testing Everything?

I’m going to end this with one very simple tip that often gets overlooked: test everything! And once you’re done testing it, find an impartial 3rd party to test it too. And once that 3rd party finishes, go find a person in your target audience and have them test it. Then once all that testing is over, test it again. If you want to avoid mistakes, there is safety in numbers. The more times and the more people you get involved in this process, the clearer your picture becomes. If you want your design to stand in this era of digital, you’ve got to have a responsive design. What other things do you look for in a strong website design? I’d love to hear your contributions in the comments below!

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Josh Coffy

Josh has an exhaustive understanding of technology and a creative marketing approach that drives client results. In his free time, Josh does CrossFit and travels with his wife.