Responsive web design - what's all the fuss?
Buttons and Navigation
Desktop only sites are navigated by mouse and tend to rely heavily on drop-down menus. That’s fine when you have the finesse touch of a mouse in your hand but not so simple when you’re trying to reach a second layer menu with your index finger while being bounced around in a train carriage.
Responsive design calls for simpler navigation and that has implications, not only for the use of buttons and alternative menus but for the architecture of the site itself. Information that’s buried deep within the site simply won’t be found by a mobile user. Mobile users tend to skim sites even more than desktop users so it’s important to bring key information to the front and centre of your design and (as far as possible) to build a flat, lean site. Which brings us to…
It hardly seems fair but users do expect the same response and speed from a mobile site over a 3G connection as they do a desktop site accessed from the corporate LAN. This means keeping a very close eye on page load times for mobile devices, stripping graphics to the bare minimum once you go below a certain threshold and testing any plugins or widgets thoroughly. Which brings us to…
Forms and widgets
Most sites have third party tools of some sort, it might be a feed from your blog to the homepage, it might be a video or a form. It’s critical that all of these are responsive too and thoroughly tested for their performance across various devices and screen sizes. It does reduce the pool of third party plugins that you can choose from but most developers are very wise to the responsive trend now so that’s beginning to change.