When it comes to showcasing your business, no one knows what to say – or how to say it – better than you do. From the way you use content to the way your website responds to different devices, everything you do contributes to the way your business is perceived.
In this blog, we’re taking a look at responsive web design:
- How it works.
- What it really means.
- How to find some of the best responsive web design companies in the UK market.
But first, what is responsive web design, and how can you choose the right company to work with?
How to Choose a Responsive Web Design Company in the UK
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is the art of creating a website that adapts and adjusts itself according to the device that the user is visiting the website from. If a user clicks through to your website on their smartphone, your website should instantly know which device they are visiting from and adjust the experience accordingly. Crucially, this should be the case whether their journey starts from social media, a marketing email, or a quick google search.
Responsive design ensures that every user benefits from the very best user experience by adapting both big and small details. Regardless of the device they are using, a responsive design makes navigation super easy to follow and gives your website the flexibility to change elements of the design to fit the screen seamlessly.
What does a Responsive Website actually look like?
The challenge that many businesses face when it comes to building a responsive website is the amount of tailoring required to get their website in the best possible shape across all devices. That’s where a responsive web design company comes in. Channelling skills in both web design and in connecting that design with the requirements of different devices, a professional web design company takes your vision and will transform it into a website that ticks the following boxes:
- It makes the best possible use of the screen space available. For example, it will ensure that the font becomes smaller on a smartphone screen. Meanwhile, it gives the user more blank space to digest the content when using a larger screen.
- It fixes orientation across each device so that images never overlap with text and vice versa.
- It considers the movement of the screen across all devices, removing unnecessary instructions; for example, telling a smartphone user that they need to scroll. After all, they’ll be doing that anyway!
- It focuses on all the elements of user experience that are working away behind the scenes, for example, the page load time.+. These features are integral in ranking highly on Google, as per the 2020 release of Google’s Core Web Vitals.
- Navigation is never affected. If anything, it becomes even easier to follow the intended journey across each device.
So, that’s what your end goal looks like. But what should you be looking for in your ideal web design company?
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Identifying the Best Responsive Web Design Company
From increasing your website conversion to creating a seamless customer journey across your different business touchpoints, experience is key. That’s why the first and most important thing to look for in a responsive web design company is one who understands your business, your target audience, and your vision.
So much of the web design process, from creating the initial design brief through to testing and delivery, focuses on the end-user and the experience that you want them to have. Working with a company that can unpick that vision and bring it to life is crucial for success.
Other important things to look for in a responsive web design company are:
- Location – if your business is local, then a local web design company will help you to attract and speak to the right local audience. For example, if your business is based in London, then work with a responsive web design company in London. A global or fully ecommerce business will be less restricted by location.
- Ability to meet deadlines and to stick to timelines.
- The quality of delivery. See if your shortlisted companies have a portfolio page that you can look at for examples of how they embody responsive design in other projects.
Now that we know what responsive web design is and how to find the right responsive web design company to work with, it’s time to unpack some common misconceptions. Our first port of call focuses on responsive vs. adaptive web design services.
Responsive Web Design vs. Adaptive
If you sometimes (or often) find yourself getting bogged down with industry terminology and buzzwords, then you’re not alone. Identifying the difference between responsive and adaptive web design can be challenging, especially when both terms are thrown around almost constantly by marketing blogs. Not to mention, it often seems like both design styles do very much the same thing.
Well, we’re here to help.
Responsive vs. Adaptive
A responsive website retains the same design the same across all devices but has the built-in flexibility to change its layout and size according to the device being used. It is built to freely reformat itself based on the screen size and orientation, with the same basic content and design present across all versions.
An adaptive website hosts a different design for each potential device’s screen. The website reads the screen size as it loads and presents the static design which has been created for that screen size and orientation.
Adaptive web design companies tend to build the website in six different ways according to the six most common screen dimensions. However, to minimise the workload they tap into user analytics. This allows them to identify the common screens being used and design the experience according to that data.
While adaptive web design services give the designer and creator full control over how the website will be viewed in each layout and on each screen, at the end of the day, the flexibility of responsive web design brings responsive design out on top. After all, new smartphones with different sized screens are now being released almost weekly. Responsive design allows your website to keep up with every single one.
With that said, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of responsive web design.
Pros and Cons of Responsive Web Design
So, by now, you should know how a responsive website works – using the same design for all users, with adjustments made according to the size and orientation of the screen that is being used. Below are some of the benefits of responsive web design and a few challenges that you need to consider.
- A responsive website is easier to work with because it requires one design that adapts according to need.
- Responsive web design can accommodate an infinite number of screen sizes. This is ideal in the constantly changing and evolving world of modern technology.
- Google views responsive websites as user friendly, which means that they will rank more highly in search results.
- Responsive web design will deliver a consistent user experience regardless of which device is being used.
- Responsive = more flexible.
- Designers have to work closely with developers to ensure that the design is fit for purpose across all devices – which for businesses can mean outsourcing work at higher expense.
- It’s near impossible to have complete control over the layout of your website across all devices.
- The additional coding means that a responsive website takes longer to load. To combat this, place more focus on ensuring that images and any videos are selected and placed strategically to minimise unnecessary visual load time.
Creating a great website should always start and end with the user experience. Discuss the pros and cons of both responsive and adaptive web design services before proceeding with your project.
Now to the final stage of building your responsive website. And it’s the bit that almost all of our clients look forward to the most: it’s testing time.
Responsive Web Design Testing
When searching for the perfect web design company to partner with, it is essential to look beyond the build itself. This means asking and considering what else they include as part of the package.
Testing a responsive website involves visiting your website across a series of different devices, starting your customer journey from different touchpoints and following different routes around your website to see how the design adapts to your screen size. This allows you to identify any stumbling blocks or obstacles for users, such as errors and buttons which don’t work. It also pinpoints any usability issues or challenges.
The whole point of building a responsive website is to leave the navigation as open-ended as possible. After all, this allows your website to adapt to the preferences of the users themselves. But before you can launch your site, you need to test it.
What to look for during the testing process
Some of the things to look for during the testing process include:
- Font sizing and colour – is the content accessible and easy to read?
- Homepage and landing page aesthetics
- Consistency across different devices and different screens. Is the experience largely the same, and can you tell it’s the same website?
- CTA’s and navigational instructions – do they make sense?
- Buttons – do they work? How long does it take from clicking the button to the correct movement?
There is a multitude of tools out there that enable businesses to conduct additional in-house testing.
There are also plugins available to view your website from different screen sizes and dimensions. Testing is something that any responsive web design company will include as part of the package. Discuss regular testing and maintenance to ensure that any future errors are picked up quickly.
Now you’re ready to go!
Satisfied that your responsive website has passed the testing process? Then you’re ready for launch! To discuss your upcoming website project or if you have more questions about how to secure the right responsive web design company, get in touch today.
Increase brand awareness, build trust and drive conversions.
Responsive website design adapts the screen’s display and improves the user experience according to the device. Benefits include the flexibility, cost efficiency of the design process, and the higher ranking potential on search engines.
First, your web design company needs to know if you are starting from scratch or replacing/updating an existing website.
From there, your web design company will need a full brief. This should detail your business vision and your target audience, as well as the benefits of your service. It should also provide a full breakdown of the website to include content, layout, intent, and the customer journey.
Agree on a check-in schedule with your web design company. This will mean you receive updates as per your preference throughout the project.
When building a brand new website, responsive design is the easiest and most cost effective go-to. Not only that, but it also allows users to access and enjoy your website from virtually any device.
We use adaptive website design to redesign an existing website. This type of design allows you to build upon the existing structure but for a new user or screen size.