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alex black


Responsive Web Design: Main Problems with Solutions

Responsive web designing is the future of web design world. Not a single website can gain attention of the customers using Smartphone’s to access internet, unless it’s made in a responsive manner. Is it easy for web designers to create responsive websites? Obviously, it’s not that much and designers have to face several problems during the designing process. What those common problems are and what are the possible solutions; the lines below contain results of a survey conducted by James Young.


RWD – The Common Problems

Although, it has been two years that responsive web design is in the trend, but still it seems to be a hatchling technology. Web designers have to face the changing devices’ landscape, the frameworks to code, and the scripts, so they have to work in an innovative manner to deal with clients who want responsive web design for their websites.

The respondents of the survey pointed out the following problems that they face while creating responsive websites. Solution is also given along with each problem.

1. It’s Tough to Explain RWD to the Clients.

Responsive web designing isn’t like the linear process, as used in traditional designing. It becomes hard for web designers to explain to the clients what it means to have a responsive web design. Clients don’t understand that designing is no more a visual stage, but a fluid process.


Tell the client what magic a responsive web design can do with his/her website. Present a demo in front of the client showing a RWD in action. This strategy is followed by the experts of web design Dundee Company.

2- It’s Not Like Static Designing.

Like old designing process, RWD doesn’t involve static designing. Web designers have to depend on wire framing, quick sketches, HTML, and CSS prototypes rapidly through browser based designing.


RWD doesn’t mean to go against the work process that you already follow. Just go with what makes you comfortable. If you like using paper, use that for testing different ideas through sketching. Browser-based designing is better as well as HTML working, but use Photoshop or Fireworks to create elements instead of complete layouts. For big scale projects, wireframe can be done with everything.

3- Navigation Is A Serious Problem.

In traditional designing, horizontal navigation was in trend, which was either at the top of the page or at the bottom left of the page. The respondents of the survey have mentioned navigation as a tricky problem to solve, as it lacks any canned solution.


The navigation decision should be based on the information architecture and the content present at a website. Many other design considerations are also involved behind that. The most important element is to decide how it goes for the site under construction. Do test the navigation on different devices to make the site working perfectly for all types of clients.

4. Image Handling Isn’t Easy In Responsive Web Designing.

There are fragmented options available for responsive web designing. As no specification has been backed by W3C community yet, so personal choice of scripts is left to create appropriate assets for devices. Considering the next generation devices with displays of high pixel density makes the situation more complicated for the designers. Images and icons should be flexible like code, to make graphics not looking blurred due to poor scaling.


Although, responsive images aren’t there, but there are many possible solutions. Symbolset icon fonts work well for different-sized screens. SVG graphics help in designing with resolution independence. CSS sprites make websites well optimized for retina displays.

5. Data Tables Are Problematic

Many respondents of the survey have mentioned data tables being problematic, specifically when there is complex data to be presented or the tables have to carry many rows and columns. It becomes a big challenge for the designers to present all of the information for small screens, provided that presentation remains useful.


Hiding the less important data from the users is the right option to go for. Provide the users with data depending on their device they are using. Many strong options of responsive tables are available online, so pick one of your choice.

6. Updating The Code Base Of Old Sites Is Not Easy.

Old fixed-width sites aren’t easy to update while making them responsive. Responsive web designing is quite different from the traditional designing in the sense the coding is done in a less flexible manner. It’s a point to ponder over whether to rebuild the whole site or to reverse the coding of existing style sheets and templates.


Rebuilding, or more appropriately called as Greenfield rebuilding, is the best solution for such a problem. Older sites aren’t meant to be mobile-friendly. Rebuilding is lot easier than reverse engineering the code of a site. It’s also a cost effective approach.

7- How To Deal With Users Having Older IE Versions?

The older versions of IE lack the CSS media queries support. It means users using older versions might not be able to view the display properly. A responsive web design will end up giving the users of older IE versions, a small screened layout even though they are using the big screen.


It’s necessary to consider the older versions of IE while designing responsive websites. Including respond.js polyfill in the web pages can resolve the issue. It will let the users of older IE versions view the mobile version of your website. Leaving the content accessible while not providing the support to the older IE versions is somewhat a reasonable solution. The main thing is to see the requirements of the client. Do ask them what they want, to discount the older IE versions or to include them.

8- Testing And Cost Can Be The Hurdles.

This is the major concern of most of the respondents of the survey. Which devices to test the responsive web design and how to bear the cost of testing for diverse range of devices. It’s not easy to build the test suit of devices other than the one you own personally. Testing time is another big issue.


There are many companies who offer sharing of the devices to test websites. There are many resources available online to get help from related to testing RWD on real devices without bearing the cost burden.

How did you find this interesting survey, the problems, and the solutions? If you know any more RWD problems or any other possible solutions to the problems mentioned in the lines above, feel free to share.