What is web design for mobile devices

Advice: Responsive web design

Web design was relatively easy until 2005: an online shop was optimized for computers or notebooks. The customer was either sitting at home or was picked up from the office. As an online retailer, you could assume that he was in front of a large screen - and that it was easy to use. That has changed fundamentally with the triumph of smartphones and tablet PCs. Unlike the "old" computers, these end devices are equipped with touch-sensitive displays and can be operated with a finger.

"This development led to unexpected problems - responsive web design was born!"

In 2010, the weak points gradually became clear: Most front ends (user interfaces) were only suitable for conventional display formats. A smartphone is smaller than a classic computer. In addition, it is much more complicated to view the individual content on a tiny screen - or did you invent the mouse for the smartphone?

What is responsive web design?

Content is difficult to access on small screens. Scrolling requires a mouse and this movement can hardly be performed with the fingers.

The solution is called responsive web design - "responsive web design": A website adapts to all devices and is beautiful to look at everywhere. The navigation should also function flawlessly, because the user must be able to view all content comfortably. Otherwise he will leave your homepage and possibly decide in favor of the competition.

In contrast to adaptive design, responsive web design can be flexibly adjusted to the size of the browser window. Thus it differs from the rigidly constructed layouts of old online shops.

Pros: why is it so important?

A few years ago, hardly anyone was interested in the Internet on mobile devices. It was used for small games or to load a few pages. More was not possible because the data tariffs were very expensive, only allowed a small amount of data and there was a lack of a fast network. Since then, web development has made enormous strides. Thanks to LTE or 4G, these problems are a thing of the past - which is what creates problems for companies:

"Almost 10% of the online shops are optimized for mobile devices."

That is far too little because the user landscape has changed. While it was a small percentage 10 years ago, over 70% of the population are now using smartphones, tablets and the like on the Internet. It is much more relaxed to search for the desired product on the couch - instead of using a "bulky" computer. The number of tablets has almost doubled since 2010.

Responsive design offers the following advantages:

1. One version for all end devices

Anyone who has used a version up to now has to rethink: Today you should include the screen resolution of various devices:

  • Smartphones 320px to 480px
  • Tablets 768px to 1024px
  • Desktop PCs 1024px and higher

With responsive web design, you don't have to worry about that, as the screen resolution adapts automatically - which also applies to new devices with a different resolution. No code change is required.

2. Only one URL is required

Without responsive web design, you would have to create a separate URL or subdomain for each screen resolution. Now a computer user likes your homepage. A great thing - but this link is only displayed correctly on the PC. Tablet users find the design inadequate because it is the computer version. Good advertising looks different!

"From an SEO point of view, you get a better ranking if you use one domain for all content."

And you save a lot of time. A URL only takes a fraction of the maintenance that you would have to do for multiple links. If only one small component changes, you would have to adapt it for all URLs - a real Sisyphean job! In e-commerce, you have to react quickly and flexibly to innovations. Use the time wisely than maintain multiple versions of a website.

3. Professional demeanor

Many entrepreneurs hardly value a serious appearance. They believe that a few good texts are enough to underline their competence.

The reality is different because customers don't even look at such content. They immediately click on if a website appears dubious to them. The design of a homepage should be very important to you. In the long term, you will achieve economic benefits if you make your website as customer-friendly as possible. With responsive web design, every visitor receives the best possible variant of the website.

4. Importance of the mobile internet

As already mentioned, tablets and the like are gaining ever greater market shares. This has also been noticed by Internet companies such as Google, which align their search algorithms accordingly.

SEO: Websites with responsive web design are ranked higher.“

Conversely, it means that "old" homepages are harder to find. These are not just empty words, but a concrete assessment. The last Google update increases the pressure on entrepreneurs: With the rating "mobile-friendly", responsive websites receive a ranking bonus. In the future you will have to measure yourself by whether your online shop can be reached on all end devices.

5. Design: Identical content for all end devices

It was a long time ago: data tariffs weren't enough to display a full-size homepage. Images or content have been left out. In addition, there were hardly any smartphones with a high screen resolution. A lot has happened in web development since then.

In the meantime, a fully fledged Internet browser is available to mobile devices and the price question has been settled. In addition to free WiFi networks in large cities, the data tariffs have become significantly cheaper. And at home, a router enables any amount of data to be called up.

6. Increase the conversion rate

The higher the number of optimized devices, the larger the customer base. Imagine that 100 users are interested in a product on your website - but it is only optimized for desktop PCs.

"It is realistic that 50% of the visitors use mobile devices."

So you miss every second customer. With responsive web design you can cover any screen resolution. Many online shops complain about high bounce rates, i.e. the number of users who leave the shop immediately. With responsive design you can reach all customers and increase the conversion rate (completion rate).

What is Mobile First?

More and more people are using smartphones and tablets, which leads to a question of meaning: Isn't it smarter to optimize a website for such end devices first?

The high screen resolution of the desktop computer allows many elements to be accommodated on a homepage. Negative consequence: It quickly seems overcrowded and bursting with information - which nobody needs. That is why it makes sense to purify a website and to do without unnecessary building blocks. What is the best way to proceed?

"With Mobile First you work your way from the smallest layout version to the largest."

With this concept, you take advantage of the supposed disadvantage of small screens. So you can integrate more and more elements, which is easier than leaving out important building blocks. Not to be neglected is the limited data volume of some users and their available bandwidth. One visit shouldn't cost your customers' entire internet volume. Do without insignificant information and operating elements and opt for a visually pleasant design.

How is responsive web design implemented?

With responsive web design, you benefit from mobile first and even fully automatically. So you can start with a single-column layout for smartphones and make the design more and more complex - or leave the design to a web designer. Here it is only important to maintain a certain basic structure. After all, your website should be recognizable on every device.

For the implementation you make use of the so-called media queries. This is a list of criteria that must be met by an output medium - i.e. the media type (printer or computer) and the media characteristic (color, size, etc.). If you call up a website with a smartphone, the media queries ensure that the layout is adjusted accordingly. The web designer uses CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheet) for the creation. During web development, one CSS file is created for each end device. This gives you a total of three CSS files for desktop PC, smartphone and tablet.

What should you watch out for?

As a company, you want to make money with your website. If you just want to present yourself, you should also follow these tips, because ...

"... in the end it is the number of satisfied customers that counts."

And when is the customer satisfied? When he finds a homepage with high accessibility and usability. The English technical term is called "Usability" and should come first for you. This term is linked to the following conditions:

  • Content
  • Loading time
  • navigation

These three points are the most common sources of error in responsive web design. During web development, you should make sure that all texts are displayed correctly. Images in particular unnecessarily increase loading times. Think about whether and how you want to display advertising in the mobile version. The leaner you design the content, the faster your website loads - which Google ranks better. A long stay also has a positive effect. Responsive web design helps you by ensuring that the website is always displayed correctly.

Test the navigation on all devices. In the case of small end devices, it is displayed too large and robs the actual content of the space. Make the navigation points smaller or leave them out completely. Each button should be at least 1cm x 1cm so that it can be operated with the finger.

Conclusion: Responsive web design is a must. Mobile devices have long ceased to be considered a trend, but are instead gaining ever greater market share. The number of tablets alone is increasing annually by around 5 to 10 percent.

"Since 2014, more users have been going online with mobile devices than with traditional desktop computers."

In e-commerce, you can secure a real advantage over your competition. Switch to responsive web design and gain additional customers.

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