Responsive web design: how to create a responsive website?

January 20, 2023 - Anaïs Sautarel

7 minutes

Today, the Internet goes with mobile browsing. Internet users’ habits change while technologies evolve. We increasingly visit the Internet anywhere, anytime, on any device: in the street, abroad, at friends’, in waiting rooms at the doctor’s, in the restaurant, in the train…

A significant online presence is synonymous with the creation of a responsive website that adapts to all mobile devices perfectly.

How to create an effective, responsive website that offers a memorable and enjoyable user experience on tablets or smartphones? Let’s answer this current question! 🕵️‍♀️

What is responsive web design?

A responsive website means you have a website that:

👉 is correctly displayed on all connected devices, including mobile devices

👉 meets Google’s SEO requirements

👉 offers comfortable browsing for users on desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet

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In 2021, web design goes with responsive web design for two correlated reasons:

👉 Internet users visit websites, using mainly portable connected devices.

👉 Google ranks high responsive websites and ranks mobile versions first, it is mobile first.

Today, having a responsive website is no longer advantageous, but necessary, otherwise you will be penalized.

The question that arises is: how to create a decent, responsive website?

How to create a responsive website?

To create a website optimized for mobiles, smartphones, and tablets, you have different possibilities to choose according to your computer skills and needs.

How to make my website responsive if I know how to code?

If you master HTML and CSS languages, you can use a free open source, and adapted framework on Twitter Bootstrap or Foundations, for example.

A framework is a type of virtual tool box to build a website by creating your layout thanks to a table system with columns where you can add your contents. Moreover, these frameworks enable to add any type of custom elements to your website, such as menus or buttons.

And then, to make your website mobile-friendly, you adapt the layout to the different screen sizes. You should start by the desktop version, you can simplify later to fit smartphones and tablets.

Make a responsive website with a CMS

  • If you have built your website with WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal and you want it to be responsive.

  • Or if you have sound computer skills, and you want to start web design with a CMS.

These types of software leave you a great customization freedom, but be careful! These widely used global tools evolve constantly and require common updates, especially for security. These updates aren’t automatic: you must deal with updates, so be attentive.

Here is how to proceed to create a mobile-friendly website with a specific template on a Content Management System (CMS):

  • You will find a template that suits you on a marketplace such as ThemeForest, for example.

  • Check under which type of licence your template works.

  • Ensure you have chosen a responsive template which is compatible with the version of your CMS.

  • Find out about the popularity of the template. A popular template will be more sophisticated: configuration options will be more important and therefore, they will require more time to configure.

sitew template

If you have already built a website, and you want to make it responsive, it will be possible to migrate your contents to a new template.

By using a CMS, you must entirely deal with your website maintenance by seeking alone indications and answers to your questions on the different forums, or by finding out from other users.

💡 If you are a novice at computing or if you don’t have the time and the will to spend hours seeking information on the Internet, note that there is an easier solution to create a responsive website: website builders like SiteW.

Make a responsive website with a website builder

It is easier with a website builder as you have any doubts. Creating a website means choosing a predefined, responsive and mobile-friendly template before. This template adapts to mobile browsing automatically and is optimized for better Google SEO.

Some platforms like SiteW give you the possibility to:

👉 Create a mobile-friendly website automatically to deal with the most pressing issues and be the most efficient quickly.

👉 Create an individually custom mobile version, for each type of connected device, to get a perfect display.

In this case, you adapt your content element by element. You show / hide, resize, edit, or move blocks according to your needs.

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Make a responsive website with SiteW easily

Creating a responsive website is easy on SiteW. (Hooray! ✌)

Here are the steps to make perfect mobile-friendly websites.

Our tool for web design enables you to customize different views for your website: automatic optimization, manual customization or same as computer. You will have created a custom mobile version in a few simple steps:

  • Enable the Optimized website mode for the view you want to customize, so the new view overlays on your screen.

  • Then, you can move and resize your 'blocks' (your page components). Use the multi-select feature if you want to take action on several elements at the same time.

  • Tools to move and place blocks are available if necessary to make your job easier and deal with the most pressing issues.

  • You can hide elements on the mobile view if necessary by clicking on the ad hoc button.

  • On the contrary, you can also add components that are only displayed on portable devices.

  • Finally, you can customize the 'mobile bar'. This specific menu, displayed on the mobile version of your website, enables you to show a series of icons that give access to shortcuts (call, email sending, link to one of your website or others, etc.). You can edit the mobile bar as you think best by customizing the appearance, function, and position of the buttons.

mobile version

Responsive website creation: how to be really efficient?

You may think that you just need to reduce the size of the original website (the website created for desktop) to create an effective responsive website.

That’s wrong! Mobile browsing has specificities to which you must adapt to ensure the best user experience.

Let’s start with the aspects of mobile browsing.

Responsive website creation: specificities of mobile browsing

Before creating a responsive website, first, you must exactly define the specific characteristics of mobile browsing.

You must take these elements into consideration before starting. This simple analysis will help you have a more adapted display:

  • In general, we visit a website on a smartphone in vertical mode. This reduces at least 3 times the screen width in comparison with a computer.

  • Mobile browsing is touch-sensitive.

  • When we are away from home, we often go on the Internet on our smartphone.

  • It means that we may be in a hurry and uncomfortable.

  • When we browse the Internet from a mobile device, we often want to find information quickly (searching an itinerary, a name or a store address, booking an Uber trip…)

What does it involve?

  • Narrower pages, that is to say longer pages.

  • A smaller, but well spaced out (accessible for fingers), clear and easy to read content.

  • Browsing that makes access to information faster.

  • A simplified content to save time.

  • Loading performances of the optimized pages.

Build a responsive website: adapting your content to mobile browsing

Regarding texts, it is better to create a summarized and more concise version of your messages: as pointed out, in general, the mobile Internet user is badly put. They don’t stroll and need concise and quick information.

mobile responsive design

Make your website responsive: a specific menu

A drop-down menu like ‘hamburger’ (the three vertical lines) enables to save space, and it is easier to click on the small screens of mobile devices.

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Reduce load time

It is important to reduce load time on traditional and mobile websites at a minimum.

In general, smartphone users are in a hurry. They don’t have time and patience, and they won’t wait a few long seconds, a slow website to be displayed. They will leave your website, and you will be disappointed.

That’s why, ensure you have light pages and an optimized computer code.

load responsive web design

Responsive website building: what about images?

In keeping with the optimization of your website’s load time, make sure you have light images.

Create a responsive website: an adjusted layout

To make touch-sensitive browsing, make simple preparations:

  • Create large and accessible buttons and links.

  • Reduce the size of forms and questionnaires.

  • Opt for multiple choice quiz instead of free text boxes.

There you go, you know everything! (Hurrah! 🙌)

Right, maybe you don’t know everything, but you know enough information to create a perfect responsive website.

With skill, a bit of creativity and a taste of sagacity, you will sparkle and satisfy all of your visitors, whatever their browsing support is.

Anaïs Sautarel
As confident in the mountains as with foreign languages, our contents and tool travel around English-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries with me. 🌍

Last update: January 20, 2023

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