Category Archives: Responsive Design

Four Common Responsive Design Mistakes



  1. Starting with the full-size website.

It is so very tempting to begin website design on the full size desktop website that has not been scaled down.  The full size desktop version is where your website will look beautiful.   However, it is much more difficult to make a streamlined and easy to use small scale version that is consistent with your desired image.  Starting big will lead to you trying to cram a full size website into a small space. Instead, thoughtfully and creatively tap into the potential of the mobile experience, it will lead to a better experience on both small screens and big.


  1. Not Thinking About Touch

Consumers interact differently with mobile screens than they do on a desktop.  That may seem obvious, and yet many responsive designs are difficult to use on small screens.  The touch targets for buttons are far too small to use comfortably forcing users to zoom in the screen to actually hit it, or maybe the navigation is text heavy and difficult to follow instead of indicated with simple visual clues that don’t hog screen space.  Remember that mobile is now the norm, according to Search Engine Watch, Google’s mobile visitors surpassed desktop visitors in 2014, so the smallest version of your website needs to be perfect and easy to use.  Speaking of Google, the search engine now uses search rankings to penalize websites that have any mobile usability issues.


  1. Hiding Content on Mobile

Sites will often choose to hide content from mobile users in order to simplify the layout.  Don’t do this.  Mobile web users want full functionality and content, limiting content confuses users and often causes them leave if searching for information, or to switch devices if shopping.  Even if the user follows through and purchases, you have created a more difficult user experience and 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied will shop somewhere else next time.  Moreover, if you are simply hiding content, mobile devices are forced to load with the slowness of a content heavy website with none of the reward, search engines can also catch the hidden content and reduce your mobile search ranking.


  1. Creating Heavy Websites

No website can afford to load slowly on any platform. A 2009 study shows that for every additional second of load time, user satisfaction declines 16% and conversions decline 7%; 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Responsive websites must be light in order to render quickly whether the consumer is using fiber optics, broadband, or a 3G mobile connection. A slow loading website is yet another factor that will hurt your all-important search engine ranking.  One essential tactic used to lighten the load is to render image resolution depending on screen size, so a huge file does not slow image loading on a mobile screen, and a small resolution image does not look terrible on a 27 in. monitor.

What exactly is Responsive Web Design?  And do you need it?

Responsive design is the new standard for modern website design.  And yes, you need it.

Okay, so there is a little bit more to it than that.  Any modern website will be accessible from cell phones, tablets, laptops, and huge desktops screens.  It is impossible to create a static, unchanging website that will look great and be easy to use on every single type of screen.  For a while, designers were often developing two separate websites, a full desktop version, and a stripped down mobile version. However, this was not a perfect solution. There are wide variety of screen sizes and dimensions, what looks good on the smallest smart phone, will not look good on a tablet, and with the vast array of devices on the market, it is impossible to create a set design for every device.

Then came the advent of responsive design.

responsive design

Responsive design is the concept of a website which responds to screen size, rendering a display to be optimized for and easily usable on any size device.  By using flexible grids to layout a website, developers create a fluid website that adapts to its environment.

Responsive design is no longer an optional upgrade for a business, it has become the standard.  Ignoring all trends, at the end of the day there are two reasons you need a responsive design website.  1) Google prioritizes mobile optimized websites on all Google searches conducted on a mobile device.  Considering that mobile Google searches outpaced desktop searches back in 2014, your search engine ranking is being negatively impacted in the majority of searches.  And 2) Users may not notice if your website is optimized, but they will notice if it isn’t.  It is frustrating to touch small buttons, zoom in and out, and scroll side to side.  It is not a positive experience.  User research indicates that 64% of Internet users will not return to a website that they found frustrating to use.

Call Collective Design Works at (423) 591-8656 or email us at for a consultation on upgrading your website to a responsive design.