4 Challenges of Responsive Web Design and How to Overcome Them
Is Responsive Web Design the savior of worried designers? It sure seems so. The chaotic world fraught with diverse screen sizes and dissimilar screen resolutions seems impossible to deal with without this approach.
But you need to look a little closely. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a dynamic approach that offers a solution for web designers. But it also comes with its own share of problems. Don’t agree? Well, let’s find out why RWD may not be as great as it seems at first sight, and also, how some of these negatives can be outdone.
The question of site loading times
The loading time is crucial for any site, as the average user has an attention span of only a few seconds. And it becomes especially so for people who use mobile devices to view the site. But responsive web design isn’t appropriate for faster loading times.
Why the delay? The reason is simple; a responsive layout requires the loading of all scripts and images on the site before a viewer can access it. And this may include elements that needn’t be displayed on mobile devices. This results in delayed loading, which is sure to hamper your site’s success. But surprisingly a considerable number of website designers still make this mistake that can cripple the possibilities of your website from making it big. Probably for this reason, you need to read check out this infographic before hiring a web designer.
The good news is that with a few tweaks, you can fix this. Use Lazy Loading, a technique that lets the text load before the images. Adaptive Images can be used to scale images to suit screen size. You can also decide to load, or not to do so, specific content, or create a separate stylesheet to avoid the loading of specific elements.
The question of ease of navigation
If yours is a feature-driven site, navigation can become a trouble with responsive design. Piling the core features into a tedious list isn’t an option. And you cannot hide or remove features either. You never know which viewer wants to navigate to which feature.
A cramped layout may do more harm than good for your site. Again, if a viewer cannot easily find their way, they won’t bother to stay on your site. In such a situation, it is understandable that the responsive web design is better suited to sites that focus on content, not on features. And mobile-optimization may be ideal for feature-driven sites.
Do you really need to trade usability? With a little use of techniques, it may not be necessary. For starters, you can use the drop-down or accordion layout to categories and sub-categories, or even the entire navigation menu. You can also leave more space around the call to action button and condense the navigation menu into a single button.
The question of advertisement placement
A designer often has the liberty to arrange and disarrange the elements on the site. But the ads cannot be considered under their complete control. You can ask the advertiser to fit their ad into the designated space on the responsive layout, but they may not accede. However, do not overdo it otherwise it may kill your website.
The trouble is that while the ads may be at the top on computer screen size, they may have to move to another, and insignificant, position on a different screen size. This devaluates the ad placement on a site with responsive web design. Advertisement networks such as Google AdSense don’t offer responsive ads either.
Thankfully, advertisers are yet to understand the problems with responsive layout. But they are catching up. To solve the problem, you need to be responsive with the advertisement model too. Offer a package of ad types that work exclusively with different screen sizes and resolutions. And switch between Google ads to do the same.
The question of expertise
When a trend hits the web design world, everybody seems to wear by it. The same happened with responsive web design. But it isn’t as simple as designers often think it to be. There are a million small things you need to understand before you start to implement it for a site.
Responsive web design is a dynamic approach, and you need to have experience and expertise in web tools and technologies to implement it. Moreover, its nature makes it especially susceptible to bugs. With every little change in the layout, you may encounter unanticipated bugs. And you have to work out how to overcome these obstacles.
A web designer needs to test out the responsive layout on as many screens sizes and resolutions as possible. And it isn’t as tough as it seems. Numerous tools, techniques and tutorials make it simple. You can use Twitter’s Bootstrap to avoid browser bugs while you integrate responsive layout. You can also conduct online testing services.