Responsive Websites From Start To Finish

What Is “Responsive Web Design”Responsive Website TechResponsive Web Design FAQStart The Conversation

What Is “Responsive Web Design”?

You know it when you see it. Responsive web design is when a website is easily navigable and recognizable on any device or screen used.

If you have a presentation to do, and want to show your website on a 10-foot diagonal projector screen, it should look stunning. If you want to show a potential client your site on their iPhone 3G from 2008 that they still have for some unknown reason, it should look good on that too.

To make a responsive website, you need an expert. That’s where Cohlab comes in.

Proportional Changes

You can’t know the size of every device that will visit your website. You can’t predict what future screen sizes will be created either. So you won’t be able to set a specific pixel or inch cut-off for when the website will make changes to it’s layout.

That’s why proportional changes are extremely important to responsive web design. Assigning a proportion of the screen to your website sections allows them to flex slightly as different sized screens visit the site. Then, set a hard cut-off at a specific pixel width where a different set of proportions take over, i.e. sections no longer sit side-by-side but stack for mobile devices.

In this way, while you can’t predict future screen sizes, you can give each class of devices a website layout which works best for them, while flexing between similar-sized screens without loss of functionality or design.

Menu

Similarly to proportional changes, you can convert your menu from a header of items into a drop-down hamburger-style menu, where a single tap or click drops a menu list down over the website, allowing for easy navigation while not cluttering a small screen.

Speed

Easily the most important part of a responsive website is speed. You have to have a fast website which quickly recognizes the size or type of device being used, and adjusts the responsive web design on the fly.

Besides - the point behind responsive web design is to make the experience great for users of every type of device. And every type of device loves a fast website.

Images

Your images will need to be highly-curated. In order to work in a responsive web design, images must be high fidelity to not become blurry in larger screens, while maintaining a small size to increase your website’s speed.

Images should also be well-framed, to ensure must-see content isn’t cut-off in various screen sizes and remains centered.

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Responsive Website Tech

Learn how we at Cohlab design responsive websites, what platforms we use, and tools we use to audit responsive websites.

Responsive Web Design CMS / Platforms

Trustdyx Responsive Websites

Cohlab’s very own Trustdyx CMS was built from the ground-up right here in Central Minnesota, by Minnesotan hands and Minnesotan minds.

While Trustdyx’s main feature is high security, it is also a natively responsive website platform, purpose built to be lightweight and mobile-friendly out of the box.

WordPress Responsive Websites

WordPress is the most popular CMS platform in the world, with more than 35% of the internet using it to power their websites.

While WordPress websites are popular and vary widely in design, we use a tried and tested custom theme which is flexible enough to handle any screen size.

Responsive Website Tools

‘Toggle Device’ In Google Chrome Dev Tools

While the website is still in testing phases, you can test your responsive website within Google Chrome’s website development tools. Using the “Toggle Device Toolbar”, you can view your test website using a variety of devices, from the Motorola G4 to iPhone X, iPad Pro, or Samsung Galaxy Fold.

You can also set it directly to “Responsive” and then adjust the pixels to the screen you may be testing for.

Device Testing

Once the website is live, you can definitely test it across an array of devices by borrowing them from friends, or asking friends or coworkers to complete specific tasks on the website. This can give you a broad range of real user feedback.

Google Lighthouse Audit

After a website is live, running a Google Lighthouse Audit through both the Desktop and Mobile options can help you better understand where you can improve your responsive web design most.

A Google Lighthouse Audit looks at performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO from Google’s perspective of search results. They want the best of the best, so when you run a lighthouse audit from their emulated mobile device, you’re going to get great advice on code and script fixes you may never notice with the naked eye.

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Responsive Web Design FAQ

How do I make my website responsive?

If you’re creating a simple website, some DIY website providers will be able to be responsive out of the box. If the website you’re planning is extensive in any way or needs special features, you’re going to want to partner with a responsive web design firm who can build a responsive website from the ground up.

Does Google prefer responsive websites?

Yes, definitively. Google knows that most website visits and searches are done via mobile device, and have been for years. Therefore, a website which looks good and is easy-to-use on any device is going to be preferred to a desktop-only website. You cannot win in search results with a non-responsive website.

How can you tell if a website is responsive?

You can test the website yourself by using a desktop computer and a mobile device to see if it’s just as easy to use on both.

Or you can scroll up on this page to the “Responsive Website Tools” section and try one of those.

Where are some responsive website design examples?

See more examples of responsive web design on our Portfolio page, but here are a few:

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If you can believe it, some of our clients think we're "responsive", good at "listening", "friendly", "prompt", "communicative", and "quick to answer". We're not sure where they got that idea.

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