Responsive design is all about flow. How design flows seamlessly from desktop to mobile. Making sure that the technology used works across all platforms is key.
Mobile has more restrictions than desktop. This fact alone can make cause headaches when attempting to create a responsive design.
Some mobile considerations include:
- How can a layout be adjusted for mobile screens?
- Does the navigation design work with smaller screens?
- Where does the content play in? Does it flow properly?
- Should you cut back on dynamic design?
Content is something to consider twice when designing with mobile in mind. Users spend less time viewing mobile screens. This means that content should be precise, deliver only useful details, and include a fast way to get your point across. Gone are the days of long content.
Another thing to consider is bandwidth. Mobile network bandwidth isn’t as strong as its desktop counterpart. Include what needs to be there without cluttering design with too much information or too many dynamic options.
Media Queries: What They Are and Why
Extra! Extra! No, not that kind of media query. In design terms, a media query is a CSS3 module that adjust content to fit various screen resolutions – in other words, it helps content flow from desktop to mobile (what we discussed in the introduction part of this article). Wikipedia notes that media queries are ‘…a cornerstone technology of responsive web design.’
Media queries are largely a ‘cornerstone’ because without them content would be difficult (if not impossible) to adjust for various screen sizes. Use them. Use them well. You won’t regret it.
Native V. Hybrid – The Great Debate
This topic used to be a lot more contentious. In recent years, hybrid has become the popular choice. But that doesn’t mean that native does come with a few bonuses.
Native app benefits:
- Solid user experience
- Simpler to find in specific app stores
- Direct access to device programs
Hybrid app benefits:
- Faster to build
- Cheaper to build
- Access to device plugins
- Flow (across multiple platforms)
So if hybrid apps are faster and cheaper to build and work across multiple platforms, why would anyone choose a native app? The answer is: user experience. As amazing as a hybrid app design might be, no hybrid design will look perfect across multiple platforms – therefore, some users might find a hybrid app frustrating. Considering that most mobile users won’t give an app more than two tries, hybrid might not be the best option.
The hybrid v. mobile debate comes down to whether or not you want to make a stellar app that looks great on one major platform or the other (iOS and Android), or whether you want the fastest design option that looks semi-perfect on all platforms. It’s something to consider. It’s not something to take lightly.
Flowing and Winning
There’s a lot that goes into design. Flow should be at the top of the list. Design has to be responsive and that means making and executing the right decisions. When you’re flowing, you’re winning.