Responsive Design Best Practice: Must Know Tips

Responsive Design Best Practice: Must Know Tips

Inbound Marketing
April 18, 2022
Responsive Design Best Practice: Must Know Tips

If you want your business to be seen, your website needs to be responsive. Meaning it can adapt to all screen sizes and resolutions. By doing so, you’ll drive traffic to your site and improve leads and conversion rates. Here are the responsive design best practice tips to help you get ahead of the game.

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What is a Good Responsive Website Design?

Good question! A responsive design focuses on eliminating the problem of multiple screen sizes, allowing any screen, regardless of the device, to view and navigate through your website easily. Streamlining this process improves user experience as viewers can access your website content whenever they wish without constraints.

If a user is on their smartphone looking at your website, they don’t want to see buttons and elements in the wrong place on the screen. This will hinder user experience and increase the bounce rate. Overall, a good responsive design makes your website easy to use.

What is the Difference Between Responsive vs Adaptive vs Mobile First?

You may have heard of the term ‘adaptive design’ and wonder if a responsive design is the same thing. While they’re both related, there are some differences between the two.

A responsive design best practice uses CSS media to dynamically alter a page’s layout in relation to a specific device. Adaptive design uses a static layout, offering a less flexible solution for various devices.

What are Responsive Design Best Practices?

It’s not easy to understand responsive design unless you learn about the technical aspects. While a marketing network understands and can implement responsive design for its clients, it’s important you know the basics.

1. Responsive Layouts vs Fluid Layouts

While responsive and fluid design are used interchangeably, they aren’t the same thing. Responsive design uses a flexible grid to scale content upwards or downwards.

In contrast, fluid design uses percentages to resize the content on the screen. The problem with fluid design is content can look squished or distorted on the screen. This is why responsive design is best used for different screens as it adapts better across multiple devices.  

2. Use Breakpoints

Here’s another responsive design best practice to follow. Breakpoints are points in your website’s CSS that change how your content is viewed on a particular screen. A responsive web page will have a minimum of three or four breakpoints for it to function optimally. Naturally, the breakpoints are specific for mobile devices, tablets, and desktop screens, providing you flexibility.

3. Use Minimum Width Breakpoints

For the responsive design best practice, use min-width and max-width values, the minimum and maximum width of pixels used across a screen. To use breakpoints, we recommend starting the design process from each min-width of your breakpoints. By doing this, you’ll be designing for smaller devices and then add UI elements as the screen increases in size. Upscaling is always easier than downscaling.

4. Prioritize Your Content

For the responsive design best practice, you need to focus on content. Once you’ve completed a mobile friendly test, focus on creating content for mobile devices and then work your way up. Research by the Interaction Design Foundation found that mobile users prefer short and simple interactions. From this, we can see the users are looking for specific information. Hiding long-form content and showing it when necessary can help improve the user experience.

5. Improve Buttons & CTAs

Many websites underestimate the power of button design. The right button design and placement can help guide viewers down the buyer’s journey. While a button is easily clickable on a desktop, how does it function on a smartphone or a tablet? The average finger tap is 44×44 pixels, as Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines state. Meaning you should adjust your buttons and clickable icons to meet the average.

What are Mobile Responsive Design Best Practices?

As more and more people turn to smartphones for their online experience, your website should follow the mobile responsive design best practice. Here are some to follow.

1. Eliminate UX Friction Points

It’s important your website passes the mobile friendly test. An important area to check is friction points. In other words, what areas of your website create a problem for the user?

For example, your website’s main goal is to sell a product; however, they face a multi-page checkout and lose interest when they try to check out. To eliminate any friction, create a one-page checkout.

2. Design for Thumbs and Fingers

When people are on mobile devices, what do they use to navigate? Their thumbs and fingers! This can cause different challenges than a desktop as the mobile device is hand-held. Thus the mobile design targets other user interactions. For example, web navigation on a mobile device is at the bottom of the screen with icons and elements easy to reach for both thumbs and fingers.

3. Use Mobile’s Native Hardware & Features

When learning about mobile responsive design best practice, it’s important to take advantage of mobile devices’ native hardware, like the device camera or GPS services. Responsive web design isn’t about making everything fit on the screen; it’s also about adapting to the device and knowing what it can offer the user.

For example, credit card/top-up scanning, since filling out forms can be challenging on mobile or two-factor authentication, as the user is already on their mobile device.

4. Make Layouts Fluid by Default

Not all users will have their desktop browser maximized, which means designers need to think ahead and consider what happens between the breakpoints. Responsive breakpoints should make the layout fluid, allowing the page to adapt as the browser resizes naturally.

Understanding and implementing this takes skill. Luckily a marketing network can do this for you and prevent any errors made on your responsive web design.

5. Try Landscape Orientation

Lastly, don’t forget about landscape orientation. Having a responsive web design with a fluid layout can help make the content adapt to the changing screen sizes, whether in portrait or landscape. While navigation is easy in landscape orientation, scrolling can become a challenge.

You may want to consider implementing landscape breakpoints as well to improve the user experience.

Responsive Design Best Practice: Must Know Tips

What are the Best Responsive Website Design Examples?

Here are three responsive website examples to give you a physical example of the responsive design best practice being put to use.

An Event Apart

An Event Apart has a seamless transition from their desktop website to the mobile website. Their layouts are virtually the same across all devices, and it works well because they chose a bold font against a simple background that’s easily scrollable.

Paper Tiger

This New Jersey design agency, Paper Tiger, is the perfect example of what a skilled and talented marketing network can do when considering the images and text in reference to their place on both desktop and mobile devices.

Popular Science

Regardless of the device you’re on, Popular Science will provide you with an exceptional user experience. Content is the main focus of their site, and they use responsive web design to make sure you can easily read and navigate through the content.

What is Best for Mobile Responsive Website Design?

When creating a mobile-friendly website, it means you’ll be focusing on designing the mobile aspect of it first, following the desktop version. Since there’s limited space on a mobile website, there are some important questions you and your designer should answer to get the most out of your design.

  • Is this feature/component absolutely necessary?
  • What’s the primary goal of the website, and what visual aspects can help achieve the aspired goal?
  • How is it possible to design a minimalist mobile site which can then be scaled up for desktops?
  • Are the visual aspects worth the loading time?

What Screen Resolutions are Best for Responsive Website Design?

It’s good to know what are the most common screen resolutions across all mobile devices. However, many resolutions are being used, and none of them are dominating the market right now. This means you should consider all of them for your responsive web design. Here are the screen resolutions being used:

  • 360 x 640 (small mobile): 22.64%
  • 1366 x 768 (average laptop): 11.98%
  • 1920 x 1080 (large desktop): 7.35%
  • 375 x 667 (average mobile): 5%
  • 1440 x 900 (average desktop): 3.17%
  • 720 x 1280 (large mobile): 2.74%

While these are the most commonly used resolutions, it’s important to pay attention to resolutions that are gaining popularity. That way, your website stays ahead of your competitors and continues to improve user experience.

Which Website Browsers are Most Popular?

Who thought making a responsive website would have so many aspects to pay attention to? Developing a responsive website revolves around offering the user an enhanced experience regardless of the device they’re using. But they also must be tested to ensure they’re compatible with popular website browsers. A marketing network can make sure your website is compatible with popular browsing engines.

Here are the most popular website browsers used globally:

  • Chrome: 55.04%
  • Safari:14.86%
  • Firefox: 5.72%
  • UC Browser: 8.69%
  • Opera: 4.03%
  • Internet Explorer: 3.35%

What are Responsive Design Optimization Best Practices?

For the responsive design best practice, you need to look beyond design. The best responsive websites also focus on how it acts and feels for the user.

Lazy Load Images & Videos

Images and videos add weight to a website, which slows downloading speed. Lazy loading delays the loading of non-essential images and videos to improve page performance.

Responsive Images

Different devices require different image sizes. While a desktop needs an image with a higher resolution, a mobile device needs less. For responsive images, use two different versions of the image for desktop and mobile.


Typography is at the forefront of design. People visit sites for content, so choose a typeface that works on all devices and screens.

Wrap Up

Implementing responsive design best practices isn’t easy without expertise and experience. The good news is you don’t need to do it alone. A marketing network can take on these grueling tasks and save you time and money while giving you a responsive website.