Advanced Techniques in Responsive Web Design
Almost everyone who runs a website is specific about having a mobile version of their site. Responsive web design was quite a difficult task even a few years ago. Creating a website structure that looked impeccable on the desktop, mobile screen, iPad, and notebook was not child’s play.
However, advancement in technology, better technical understanding, and improved approach have changed how websites were made responsive. Thanks to modern techniques, sites now respond to the user behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation.
Responsive design practice consists of an excellent mix of flexible layouts, grids, images, and expert use of CSS styling. As a user switches from desktop to smartphone, the website will automatically readjust to accommodate to its resolution and offer an exceptional viewing experience to the user. In other terms, with responsive design, a website should have the skill to automatically respond to the preferences of a user and device used.
Concept of Responsive web design
There is a fast growing discipline named as “responsive architecture” which deals with physical spaces responding to human presence. It is a great combination of embedded devices and hardware materials. Architects experiment with art installations and wall structures which flex, bend, and expand according to the need of the users.
Responsive websites adapt a similar concept and automatically adjust based on the user requirement. So, you should not require multiple variants of a website. Instead, you can have custom-made solutions to add all category of users at once. Responsive designing calls for an abstract way of designing websites. The ideas already in practice include fluidic layouts, scripts, and media queries which can reformat the web pages and mark-up automatically.
Practicing Responsive Web Design (RWD)
While thinking of RWD technique, you should not think of the ultimate technology, but start with the basics and then build your way up. The primary thing to keep an eye on is maintaining a structured content.
Now, we will look deeper into it to see how to add more layers of complexity and ensure responsiveness.
The concept still works. However, the landscape of responsive images has become more complicated now with varying screen sizes, devices, and density.
The primary concerns, defined by RICG (Responsive Images Community Group) include:
- The MB size of images.
- The physical size of the image goes to high DPI devices.
- Cropping of images for particular size and viewing angle.
Anything new in web development may be obviously difficult to get started with. Markup also may be confusing when it comes to responsive design, so let’s take it step by step approach to understand it better.
It does not matter even if you do not use the min-width or max-width in sizes from a performance point of view. However, the source order always matters as the browser uses the very first size that matches. Also, keep in mind that we do hard coding of sizes attribute to define the layout and design.
When you are engaging in responsive design, always think whether you have to include an image or not. Consider if it tells a vital part of your story or if it is just decorative. In real, deduction of one image means that much faster loading time.
We can see the effort of Patrick Hamann at Guardian, who is the front-end technical lead, first broke the 1000ms barrier in page loading by introducing a mixture of front-and-back-end methodologies. Guardians achieved this goal to ensure that their news articles are delivered to the users quickly. The process goes like:
- The user clicks on a news link on search engine.
- Instantly, a blocking request hits the article database.
- HTML loads with critical CSS in its header ‘’ tag.
- Conditional elements based on the user device dimensions get loaded through a cut-the-mustard process.
- Overtime, further content related to the parent content or supporting articles, images, and comments gets lazy-loaded into corresponding places.
Using critical CSS approach means the consist of 222 lines article, and the critical content comes within the magic number of 14kb payload with zipping, which ultimately helps to break the standard 1000ms barrier.
Conditional loading / lazy loading
Conditional loading or lazy loading helps to improve the overall the user experience based on the features of the devices they use. There are specific tools like Moderizr which allows you to test for such features, but always remember that the support offered does not mean comprehensive support.
Next, lazy loading is the concept of loading the secondary images and content while the user browses through the parent content. Lazy loading gets applied to the content that you actually intend to load on the page like images as a part of an article, related articles, or comments.
We will discuss further advanced techniques of RWD in the forthcoming articles. It is essential for the designers to take a mobile first approach to ensure acceptance. For more insight into professional, responsive web design, you can visit https://www.lasvegaswebdesignco.com/.