Responsive Web Design: The Ultimate Guide in 2023

  • Abhi Garg
  • By  Robil Sharma
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  • clock 1 MIN READ
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  • calendar Updated: February 22, 2023


In order to design a website that looks and works well, it is crucial to make it responsive to the different screen sizes across smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers (including smartwatches, TVs, etc.). Today, people spend up to 4.2 hours per day on their smartphones, with 54.85% of all global web traffic coming from mobile devices (excluding tablets), so optimizing for mobile devices makes a strong commercial sense.

It is therefore important to create a responsive website – a website that is able to adapt to a variety of different screen sizes and resolutions.

Learn how to build a responsive website to meet the demands of 2023 and beyond in this guide covering the definition of responsive web design, its benefits, and how to build it.

Why is it important to design your website in a responsive manner?

It is a complex term for a simple concept to be defined as “client-side technique enabling multiple layouts in a single Web instance.” The Gartner definition explains it as a “client-side technique enabling multiple layouts and multiple design styles in a single Web instance.”

An approach to web design known as responsive web design (RWD), or simply “responsive design,” ensures a website works well across a variety of device screen sizes and platforms.

It eliminates the need for mobile or other special screen sizes or dedicated websites by automatically scaling the content and elements – no missing pieces or cropped images.

Website Responsiveness vs. Adaptability

A mobile website can be designed using either responsive design or adaptive design. Both involve optimizing the size, spacing, and positioning of images to suit the screen size of a mobile device.

An adaptive web design is a version of a website that adjusts automatically based on the size of the user’s screen. Responsive design is designed to scale across a variety of device sizes. The responsive web design approach is faster and more cost-effective as a single design, but a single mistake in image sizing or padding can adversely affect user experience.

Websites are designed for each class of device in adaptive design. Each type of device is served a different version of the website using adaptive design. It is more expensive in the short and long run, but it optimizes the user experience on each device individually.

Responsive Web Design comprises three components?

It is important to include three elements in the design to make the website “responsive” to different devices with the best viewing experience:

1. Inquiries from the media

The media query is a CSS filter applied to CSS to respond to devices, screens, browsers, or even device orientation. In a media query, the same content blocks can be used for different layouts, each one optimized for the particular device’s size or features. Design rules for a media query are based on a combination of minimum and/or maximum width parameters as well as other factors like resolution, browser, and orientation.

2. Grids with fluids

In a responsive web design, UI elements are normalized based on screen size and pixels using an algorithm. By considering each component by how much space it takes up in the width, a “liquid layout” calculates each component’s width – a content block, an image, padding between and around blocks all add up to 100%.

3. Visual flexibility

Rather than measuring layout dimensions and spacing in absolute pixels, images should be measured in relative pixels (epx), which is closer to a measurement of perceived size. A design should always scale to a whole number when the fluid grid is applied by using a base unit of 4 epx.

What Businesses Need to Know About Responsive Design

1. Effortless

By using a responsive web design, it is possible to create websites for different screen sizes once rather than having to design them individually. This will save you money in the long run as well, as you are not going to need to design separate websites for different screen sizes.

2. Experience is improved for users

The user expects a consistent experience across channels nowadays. As an example, a buyer may begin their shopping journey on a mobile device and continue their journey on a desktop or laptop. Providing a consistent experience across all touch points is the goal of a responsive web design. Furthermore, responsive web design ensures the design always looks its best – there is no pinching, zooming, or scrolling required to navigate.

Getting the basics right is the key to creating great online experiences.“ – Jochen Heck & Gopi Kallayil, Google

3. SEO is improved

It is also possible to improve SEO (search engine optimization) with responsive web design as well as eliminate all risks associated with separate mobile websites when using responsive web design:

a. It is not a penalty to duplicate content

Businesses risked duplicate content penalties if they offered a mobile website version. In order to reduce this risk, web teams need to focus all SEO efforts on one version of the website. Google’s bots cannot tell which version is indexed or tracked for link metrics.

b. Faster loading of the website

A site’s responsiveness (as a measure of how user-friendly it is) and speed are among the 200 ranking factors that Google uses in its algorithm. Responsive web designs typically load quicker than mobile-targeted ones. Further improving responsive web design can be done using concepts like “performance budgets,” which include compression and adaptive images.

4. Expand mobile and tablet reach

Websites that are mobile-friendly are more likely to retain customers and produce more sticky experiences for their customers. 74% of visitors to mobile-friendly sites return to them more often; 67% make purchases on those sites. Users who can’t find what they’re looking for on a mobile site are more likely to move to the competition – and never return – according to 61% of users.

5. Maintaining and developing the system is easier

In spite of the added task of ensuring the 3 components of responsive web design are implemented correctly, developing a single version of a website will always be faster than developing multiple versions of the same website. It is the responsibility of both development and marketing teams to make sure that all versions of a website function effectively, look good, and contain the latest updates and content.

As a result, organizations can focus more on activities that generate value, like product development, A/B testing, or content marketing, because their maintenance and marketing tasks are simplified through responsive website development.

Finally, responsive web design allows the website to be future-proofed against new screen sizes that may be available as technology evolves.

6. Analytics that are more accurate

Insights are always more effective when you can track consumers’ journeys across all touch points. Data is tracked and collated across two web properties with adaptive web design, making it harder to track insights. With a single responsive web, it’s easier to set up analytics and to get meaningful insight.

7. Increased Conversions

However, mobile conversion rates are only half as high as desktop conversion rates, despite 64% of online retail traffic coming from smartphones. Mobile conversion rates are influenced by a variety of factors, including difficulty navigating (19.3%), unable to see product details (19.6%), difficulty browsing (19.6%), and difficulty inputting details (18.6%). In simple terms, many websites don’t convert because they’re not responsive.

The conversion rate of visitors to buyers can increase by 10.9% with responsive web design, according to one study.

Responsive Web Design Tips: 8 Effective Strategies

The following best practices ensure success for responsive web design projects by ensuring that all elements remain flexible, such as images, text, padding, and layout.

1. Implement a “mobile first” strategy

It is best to design mobile websites and scale “up” to generate the best results, since mobile websites present the greatest UX challenges. Create intuitive designs no matter what size the screen is or what layout it is on. Design for perceived size, knowing users prefer larger designs on smaller screens to avoid pinching and zooming.

2. Grids and images should be fluid

To ensure your images scale to any percentage, create them with a base of 4 pixels. In addition to desktops, laptops, mobiles, tablet displays, and other devices that could be relevant to your audience (such as televisions and smartwatches), test across common breakpoints.

3. Touchscreens should be allowed

There are two types of user interfaces: mouse and keyboard versus touchscreen. For touchable elements to be usable on small screens, they must be large and easy to navigate, have responsive buttons, links, swipe spaces, touch gestures, and be optimized for thumbs.

4. Make sure small screens include the right elements

For each layout style, designers decide what should or should not happen based on responsive breakpoints. Identify what is functionally and visually necessary to support the smallest screen.

5. Patterns should be applied

Luke Wroblewski defined five types of responsive web design patterns: mostly fluid, column drop, layout shifter, tiny tweaks, and off-canvas. As these shifts occur, these patterns define how columns and blocks are arranged, whether elements become “hidden” until a user discovers them or whether they shift from multiple columns to a single column.

6. Accessibility should be a priority

Web accessibility refers to four principles: perceivable, operable, robust, and understandable. It is important to ensure mobile accessibility includes appropriate contrast (4.5:1 for normal text, 3:1 for large text), focusable active elements, large perceived text sizes, accessibility features that allow machine reading, voice to text input, alternate navigation, and features that don’t depend on color contrast for functionality.

7. Pre-designed themes and layouts are available

When creating or converting a website to be responsive, pre-designed themes and layouts can be an enormous asset. With a theme, you can make changes to colors, images, or content within the framework guidelines to ensure the updates remain responsive. Popular web platforms like WordPress offer themes that are responsive.

8. Invest in outsourcing

Consider hiring a team to design responsive web sites that tick all of these boxes for you to speed up your time to market with a custom responsive website. Find outsource partners who will be able to assist you with the entire process, including technology stacks, hosting, design, development, and integration of microservices. Make sure you involve only organizations that have clear processes for each phase of the project and who don’t wait until the end.

Here are some examples of responsive web design was the first website to feature a responsive design in 2001. Since then, responsive web design has become increasingly popular, including:

1. Shopify is the first one

As well over 80% of all traffic to Shopify stores and 71% of orders come from mobile devices, Shopify’s ecommerce platform is designed to be responsive and offers a large selection of responsive themes.

Mobile and tablet websites feature hamburger menus, which automatically adjust to fit mobile and tablet sizes, and cropped images rather than zoomed.

2. YouTube

More than 2 billion people use YouTube every day, and over 70% come from mobile devices. As a progressive web app (PWA), YouTube adjusts its familiar grid format to smaller grids (fewer columns) and enables single video browsing on even the smallest screens.

3. An online map from Google

The most popular navigation app of all time is Google Maps, which is mostly used on mobile devices.

Final thoughts

In today’s market, businesses of all sizes need to design for mobile devices if they are to succeed. You may want to consider responsive web design if you do not already have a mobile website or have realized it is too expensive to maintain one that is still not compatible with a wide variety of devices and screen types.

We at Revinfotech create eye-catching designs for websites using our skilled team of UX and UI designers. We know that a good website is not just responsive, but has that “X-factor” of irresistible design.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1

    How do I choose a trustworthy app development company?
    Here are a few things to remember to choose a reliable mobile app development partner:
    • Choose a partner that cares about its clients.
    • Never compromise on technology experience and domain expertise.
    • Check out your development partners’ portfolios, customer testimonials, and references.
    • Observe how they approach communication and how much they pay attention to your vision.
    • Ask the right questions to help you choose easily.
  • 2

    Why is India preferred for app development outsourcing worldwide?
    Here are a few reasons why India is one of the preferred outsourcing destinations:
    • The average outsourcing charges in India are $18 – $40, which is way more affordable than in developed countries like the USA, $38 – $63.
    • India has a large pool of native-English speakers who’re highly proficient in their work.
    • With an Indian outsourcing partner, you can access 24×7 support and specialized IT talent.
  • 3

    How much time does it take to develop an app?
    Depending on the complexity of a mobile app, it can take several weeks to several months to develop it. An app like Uber takes around 1200 hours to develop. On the other hand, a dating app like Tinder can be developed in 1000 hours.
  • 4

    Freelancers vs. app development company – which one is better?
    Pricing-wise, freelancers appear to be more affordable. However, they offer no accountability for your mobile app. You can’t hold them accountable if the app doesn’t turn out to be as expected. On the other hand, an app development agency takes complete responsibility for your mobile app. Hence, an app development agency is better than a freelancer.

Do you have an exciting mobile app idea in mind?

We can help you build a mobile app on an affordable budget. Contact us!