In responsive web design, the website is designed in such a way that it can automatically adapt to the device it’s being viewed on whether a phone, tablet, or desktop.

Mobile traffic has gone up and website visitors are using their smartphones to access sites. That’s why websites need to be mobile-responsive. Not only should everything on a site fit in a device, but it should also adapt to the device’s hardware capabilities, device resolution, and web browser. To achieve this, these are the best practices for responsive design.

Design for the Mobile First

The best way to do responsive Web Design is to design for the mobile website first. The reason is that there are more usability concerns for a mobile website especially because of the device’s small screen.

Also, you can scale up the mobile version much more easily than you can scale down the desktop one.

Because mobiles have a small screen, designers have to determine if a feature is necessary, if something can be designed first for the mobile and then scaled up for the desktop later.

Consider User Experience

The purpose of responsive web design is for the user to achieve their objectives. One way is to eliminate friction. Designers should focus on the user objectives and remove friction. For example, for an ecommerce store, the mobile store can have a 1 page checkout while the desktop store can have a multistep checkout.

Also, the website should be designed with the mobile user in mind. Users interact differently while using mobile devices and when using desktops. With a desktop, users use clicks while mobile users use swipes and taps. Desktops are usually on the surface while mobile devices are held by hand.

Therefore, when designing the website, these should be put into consideration. For instance, for the desktop, the main navigation should be at the top while that of the mobile at the bottom where thumbs can reach easily.

Make Layouts Fluid

Layouts should be fluid in that they can adapt when the browser resizes, such as when maximized and minimized. So, not only should web designers consider responsive breakpoints, of various devices, but they should also consider what happens in between the breakpoints such as when a user minimizes a desktop browser.

Therefore, layouts need to be fluid such that they can adapt naturally as the browser resizes.

Consider Landscape Orientation

Fluid layout enables content to adapt to the device. However, viewing on mobile while in landscape orientation, some of the content in portrait viewpoint may be lost and can hinder usability. Also, in landscape, the user is required to scroll more. Therefore, when designing websites, web designers should also design for landscape breakpoints. For example, items that stack vertically in vertical orientation can be displayed as slides in landscape orientation.

Optimize Performance in Responsive Design

Responsive web design is not only about adapting the website to a device but also ensuring that it loads faster. It’s no use designing a website that will take forever to load and discourage the users from using it.

To optimize, you can:

· Use lazy loading

Lazy loading means that loading videos and images is delayed. They are not loaded all at once with the rest of the content. This helps to improve the performance of the page.

· Conditional loading

To keep mobile websites simple, some elements are hidden and are not loaded. They are only included in certain conditions. This helps to load the mobile website faster.

Web designers should indicate when and where those elements should exist.