Most people who start a blog today realize the importance of being ready for mobile technology. Responsive design is an aspect of a website that every developer needs to consider. It’s the process of building a site that responds to the resolution of any particular display.
A user on a five-inch smartphone can have just as good of an experience as someone using a 22-inch widescreen monitor.
Because mobile technology plays such an integral role in society, it only makes sense to make sure the website adheres to smaller screens. According to statistics, mobile-device users are browsing the Internet more often than desktop computer owners.
Below are some of the best ways to achieve responsive design in virtually any kind of Internet platform. Whether it’s the development of WordPress or through traditional coding standards, accommodating smartphones and tablets is just as important as desktop and laptop computers.
Keeping the Layout Clean
In the early days of the Internet, it was quite common to come across a website littered with ads and flashing banners. Most found sites of this nature to be too distracting and too difficult to navigate. Now, imagine if that same appearance was seen on a five-inch smartphone.
Adding too much activity to a layout can easily take away from the user experience. Most people want something that is easy to read and control. Even speed will play a factor in audience retention, which is often affected by adding too much to a blog’s layout.
For instance, many of those who use WordPress to launch a blog fill up sidebars with vast numbers of widgets because they are “cool.” Unfortunately, this hurts website performance.
Develop Scalable Navigation
Navigation bars are an important facet to the website. These give users a way to find important content on the blog. However, they can also take up a great deal of room if they’re not condensed.
Scalable navigation tool bars look good whether they are on a desktop monitor or on a smartphone. This is often referred to as “minifying” the nav bar. In this environment, the three horizontal lines are used as a universal indicator that there are more options available. This is also an easy menu item to tap with a finger.
Adding one of these kinds of nav menus is quite easy in platforms like WordPress or Joomla. In fact, many themes and templates offered today have this already built into the layout.
Optimizing Image Use
One problem many bloggers still have today is that of image optimization. Graphics and photos are one of the biggest elements of any website and directly affect speed performance. This means it also affects search engine optimization.
Optimizing image use can include things like:
- Using images that are the perfect resolution for all display types.
- Implementing lazy loading for content under the fold.
- Minimizing the use of imagery in total.
- Reduce the use of Flash-based graphics.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all mobile device users are on the same high-speed Internet network. In fact, even Wi-Fi connections within homes are often slower than Ethernet-based desktop computer systems. Keeping images optimized delivers a great experience for all.
Buttons Big Enough to Tap
Another common issue when developers start a blog is not using links and buttons that are easy to tap. Although pinch-to-zoom technology is quite beneficial, it’s also an extra step visitors have to make to tap the right link.
This doesn’t mean that all links need to be buttons, though. It simply means that links need to be easily accessed by a thumb reaching across a mobile display. The less work a person has to do on a site to navigate it, the happier he or she will be.
Realize the Effect of Typography
A lot of developers don’t take into consideration how typography affects a layout between desktop and mobile devices. Header appearances that look great on a much larger monitor make look horrid on a smaller screen. Font sizes, types and even colors can all look much different making it difficult to read.
One way to avoid this kind of an issue is by using a larger font overall. It makes the content easier to read no matter what display the visitor is using. Selecting a good universal font may also benefit the appearance of headers within the blog.
Reconsider Using Sidebars
Sidebars are a great tool for the desktop and laptop users. Unfortunately, these do not translate in the same way to mobile devices. For instance, many WordPress and Joomla themes will adapt by moving the sidebar to the bottom of the content. But what if there is something ultra important in these sections?
Many readers will move on without scrolling past the page they’re reading. This means that valuable information in the sidebar is ignored. The best way to test this is by using heat map plugins or scripts. This addition will show exactly where visitors are scrolling and if a sidebar is even necessary.
Test, Test and Test Again
The most vital part of achieving excellent mobile design is by testing the site on various devices. Sure, it’s easy to test the responsiveness by minimizing a desktop browser. However, this doesn’t gauge how the device will process the site data and graphics.
There are multiple combinations of mobile device and browsers on the Internet. Testing should be done through a spectrum of different types of units and software. A great way to get started with this process is by using Google Analytics to determine the most popular devices and screen resolutions that access the blog over time.
There is a lot to think about when anyone decides to start a blog. From the overall layout to the use of graphics and imagery, it will all play a part in how a website appears on a smartphone. There are several types of web hosting, such as: Joomla hosting, WordPress hosting, etc., it’s important to determine what the website really needs. Remember, most people will abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Keep it fast and keep it friendly for those using their thumbs to navigate the site.