Tag Archive for: responsive design

With the constant stream of news coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important information. Below, we will go through all of the news from the week that we missed at the time.

Bing Tries To Predict The Winners of Your Favorite Reality Shows

Bing Predictions

Bing is using search and social signals in their attempt to predict outcomes of public events, and they are showcasing the results of their test by estimating who will be moving onto further rounds in reality shows like The Voice, American Idol, and Dancing With the Stars. Bing isn’t using magic to see the future, but they are using measures of popularity to predict the results of some of the most popular shows in the country. While this could be a fun feature for fans of reality TV, there is also potential for Bing to expand their predictions to events and elections that have a more direct on the country in the future.

Google Lets You Subscribe to Trending Search Topics

Google Subscribe

Google Trends has been a useful tool for discovering what people are searching for around the world. But, the service has always been somewhat isolated. You can consult the section to see what new artists, films, or memes are trending, but users have been left to keep up with the topics that interested them on their own. Now, Google Trends has added a new feature that lets you “Subscribe” to any search topic, Hot Searches for any country, or any U.S. monthly Top Chart. Google explains how subscribing functions in their announcement.

New Features are Headed to AdWords

AdWords Update

Last week, Search Engine Land teased that huge news was coming for AdWords by vaguely discussing what types of features you might be seeing in the future. All the features were announced on Tuesday and Larry Kim took the time to break down what each new feature does and how it can affect online advertisers. Find out what the new AdWords will be like in Kim’s article for Search Engine Journal.

More Than Half of Responsive Mobile Sites Have “Unacceptable” Load Times

Responsive design has been widely loved for its ability to unify user experience across multiple platforms and devices, and some web designers claim it even speeds up their work process by preventing them from having to design two separate sites. However, a new study suggests responsive design may have a significant weakness. Responsive design may provide a better and more cohesive user experience across platforms, but a new study says the majority of responsive sites load too slowly for mobile users who are likely to leave a page that doesn’t load within 5 seconds. Mobile web developer Trilibis evaluated 155 prominent responsive design websites, and their findings aren’t pretty.

Yahoo Tests A Google Knowledge Graph Doppelganger in Search Results

There are rumors swirling that Yahoo is considering rejuvenating their search engine to re-challenge Bing for the second most-popular search engine available. Their share of the search market suggests Yahoo will have to make some drastic changes to have any chance at their comeback in the search game, but the company has been testing some recent changes to their search engine that lend truth to the rumors. However, one of their tests also drew attention for looking questionably similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph. All Google Testing discovered the test and documented how to see the test for yourself, or you can just watch their video below.



Responsive design is the popular title for a website designed to respond or adapt to users across multiple platforms. The idea is to make a responsively designed website equally as functional on your smartphone as it is on your desktop.

Of course, one way to make a website function properly on smartphones and desktops is to create a unique version of your site for each platform. What makes responsive design so special is its ability to take one site and make it work across devices, without the alternate versions.

With current estimates suggesting traffic from mobile devices may tie the numbers for desktop traffic, it is no mystery why it would be important for your brand to ensure your website is accessible and functional for everyone attempting to view it. Responsive design seems like the natural fit to solve this problem, and in many cases it is. But there are some drawbacks and problems you may need to be aware of before you start thinking responsive design is any kind of magic solution.

Tech Magnate created an infographic to explore the advantages and disadvantages of responsive design, as well as a guide for the common best practices used in the industry. If your business is online, but doesn’t have a site designed for a mobile experience, the infographic you see below can help you decipher whether responsive design is right for you.


All of the big design trends of the year have settled in to the point where they no longer seem new. Responsive design, flat design, responsive typography, and even longshadow design have all reached wide awareness in design. So, obviously that means it is time to find the next big thing. Last week, Paula Borowska asserted that is going to be responsive icons.

What is It?

Responsive icons aren’t what you probably imagine. These days, responsive usually indicates a design element that responds to screen size, but responsive icons are only based on the size they are presented in. Because they can be shown in different sizes multiple times on the same page, screensize is irrelevant to determining the appearance of the icons. It is all about the actual size of the icon itself.

Source: Designmodo

Source: Designmodo

The difference between icons is the level of detail. When you’re gifted with a huge icon (500px by 500px), you’re able to squeeze in a lot of detail. But, as you shrink it, you will want to take away a bit of that detail at a time without losing the intended message. At 250px by 250px, you want to keep the general form, but cut some decoration, while a 25px by 25px icon needs to be as simple as possible to keep the message clear.

Why Does This Matter?

With the rise of incredibly high detail screens on all of our devices, it is necessary to make sure every aspect of our pages maintain uniformity while also working in every size. While a responsive icon doesn’t always respond to screen size, a responsive site with responsive icons may resize the icons as it needs while keeping everything looking great.

Font icons, responsive websites, and minimalistic designs have not only raised the popularity of using icons in design, but it has changed how we use them entirely. This gives us the opportunity to take our icons a step further and improve the entire experience of your site.

Borowska offers some deeper analysis on the icons as well as discussing groups attempting to make responsive icons easier to create; right now they are pretty tricky. It may seem like a small unnoticeable flourish, but in web design the details matter most. I’d keep your eyes on these icons going into the next year.

Creating a website that works well on the huge range of devices is no easy task. In fact, creating a website with a solid user experience on every device being used to access your site may actually be impossible. You have to account for a variety of screen sizes, creating a site that loads quickly enough to keep a user from losing interest, and the fact that no everyone has the newest devices for browsing the web. In fact, many are using devices that are quite outdated, which can be an issue for modern designers.

Responsive design is the popular solution for these problems, but it isn’t a magic fix. Responsive design methods certainly make it easier to account for the huge range of devices connecting users to information, but without relentless testing and tweaking there will invariably be a few devices which run into problems accessing your website.

However, responsive design is still the best current solution for these issues. Your only real alternative solution is creating different websites for mobile and desktop users, but this still requires massive amounts of testing to make these sites usable for every device. It makes more sense to do all that work towards a single site, rather than two.

As Marianna Gallano explained, the most common approach to responsive design is to split pages into multiple elements, such as the header, image galleries, and product descriptions. Each element stands on its own in terms of functionality, but seamlessly transfer their look and user experience to various devices and screen sizes. This way, images are able to automatically scale and resize, while text always stays legible, even on the relatively small screen of a smartphone.

WhoIsHostingThis, a site covering news for webmasters and webhosting, created an infographic to break down what responsive design really is, why it is so important, and how each element of a site functions within the whole while responding to a variety of screen sizes.

Now that the dust has settled after some extended debate, it seems clear that responsive design is here to stay. It won’t last forever, but it certainly isn’t a flashy trend that is going to fade away soon. It makes sense responsive design would catch on like it has, as it makes designing for the multitude of devices used to access the internet much easier than ever before.

Almost as many people accessing the internet right this moment are doing so using a smartphone or tablet, but they aren’t all using the same devices. A normal website designed to look great on a desktop won’t look good on a smartphone, but similarly a site designed to work well on the new iPhone won’t have the same results on a Galaxy Note 3.

This problem has two feasible solutions for designers. Either you can design multiple versions of a website, so that there is a workable option for smartphones, tablets, and desktops, or you can create a responsive website which will look good on every device. Both options require you to test your site on numerous devices to ensure it actually works great across the board, but a responsive site means you only have to actually design one site. The rest of the work is in the tweaking to optimize the site for individual devices.

That all explains why designers love responsive design as a solution for the greatly expanding internet browsing options, but we have to please other people with our designs as well. Thankfully, responsive design has benefits for everyone involved. The design solution is even great for search engine optimization, which is normally not the case with design and optimization working together. Saurabh Tyagi explains how responsive design benefits SEO as much as it does consumers.

Google Favors Responsive Sites

SEO professionals spend a lot of their time and efforts simply trying to appease the Google Gods, or trying to follow the current best practices while also managing to outplay their competition. Google has officially included responsive design into its best practice guidelines, as well as issuing public statements calling for websites to adopt the design strategy, so naturally SEOs have come to love it.

One of the biggest reasons Google loves responsive sites is that it allows websites to use the same URL for a mobile site as they do for a desktop site, instead of redirecting users. A site with separate URLs will have a harder time gaining in the rankings than one with a single functional URL.

Improves the Bounce Rate

Getting users to stay on your page is actually easier than you might think. If you represent yourself honestly to search engines, and offer a functional, readable, and generally enjoyable website, users that click on your page are likely to stay there. By ensuring your website is functional and enjoyable on nearly every device, you ensure users are less likely to hit the back button.

Save on SEO

Having a separate mobile site from your desktop site means double the SEO work. Optimization is neither cheap, fast, or easy, so it doesn’t make sense to waste all that extra time and work on basically duplicate efforts. Instead of having to optimize two sites, responsive websites allow SEOs to put all their efforts into one site, saving you money and providing a more focused optimization effort.

Avoids Duplicate Content

When you’re having to manage running two sites for the same business, it is highly likely you will eventually end up accidentally placing duplicate content on one of the sites. If this becomes a regular problem, you can expect punishments from search engines which could be easily avoidable by simply having one site. Responsive design also makes it easier to direct users to the right content. One of Google’s biggest mobile pet peeves of the moment is the practice of consistently redirecting mobile users to the front page of the mobile site, rather than to the mobile version of the content they asked for. Responsive design avoids these types of issues altogether.

Every brand with a reasonable web presence should be aware of the importance of making your content accessible to the legions of smartphone wielding consumers out there. Nearly everyone has a smartphone now, and mobile web use shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

But, “going mobile” isn’t exactly an exact science. There are many options for a mobile strategy with pros and cons for each. Of course, at this point the most popular options are building responsively, building a mobile only site, or building a mobile app.

Responsive design takes a bit of a one-size-fits-all approach and relies on the assumption that everyone wants to interact with your content in the same manner, but mobile sites split traffic and create numerous logistical issues. Building a mobile app on the other hand can be an incredible part in establishing yourself on the mobile web, but it simply can’t replace having an actual website.

So how do you decide what approach to take? For most brands, I personally would suggest an approach combining responsive websites and a mobile app, but many companies don’t have the resources to do both as well as they need to be done. That’s when it becomes decision time. To help make the decision, the folks at Web Designer Depot put together an infographic (seen below) to show the facts about mobile design, and going into more detail about the benefits and drawbacks.

To App or Not to App Infographic

iPad 2

Source: Matthew Downey

There is a big push recently to ensure that websites are optimized for mobile devices, especially after Google has openly stated they plan to begin punishing sites that don’t properly accommodate mobile traffic.

There are really two solutions for making a site work great on smartphones. Designers can either create an entirely separate and unique version of their site specifically for mobile phone users to access, or they can choose the more popular responsive design solution which promises to “work on every device.” Both have their perks and drawbacks, but can lead to great smartphone internet experiences when done properly.

The devices everyone forgets to discuss are tablets. While we’re ensuring sites work wonderfully on smartphones and desktop devices, the normal solution is to simply direct tablets to the desktop version of the site and be done with it. While that may sound fine initially, it actually leads to sub-par experiences for a quickly growing market.

According to Mobify’s ebook Tablet Design Best Practices, over half a billion tablets are estimated to be shipped in 2013 and 2014 combined, and that number could end up being higher as prices drop and new options become available. Not only that, tablet users continuously show remarkably high quality of traffic and are more earnest to make bigger purchases than smartphone or desktop users.

If you aren’t optimizing sites for tablet users, you are leaving quality traffic and willing consumers to mediocre experiences that can lead them to take their business elsewhere.

Designing sites that work well on tablets doesn’t require much more time than ensuring you are also delivering a quality smartphone internet experience, and often builds on the same responsive or adaptive framework. Most desktop sites do in fact work on tablets, so long as they aren’t overloaded with Flash, but they become frustrating to use. Buttons are too small or scrunched together, text becomes tiny, and images can become pixelated messes when viewed on the high pixel density screens that are becoming standard.

If you want to create a site that will actually excite and draw in tablet users, you can choose to minorly alter your desktop site with small adaptive enhancements and basic media queries, or you can strip your site down to its basics and rebuild a tablet option that creates a uniquely usable site.

For companies without a lot of resources to spend on creating multiple versions of their sites, improving your desktop site to make it enjoyable for tablet users is often the best option. It can be as simple as making buttons a bit bigger and incorporating the zooming and pinching that tablet users are constantly doing. Text also has to be bigger, but that can be easily solved by increasing font sized to 16 pt minimum. But, there are even smaller changes you can make that can make the site easier to use.

Typing on tablets can be incredibly difficult without any tactile response and overzealous autocorrect, but it isn’t difficult to make your site light on text input or create shortcuts that will save the fingers some effort. It is also a snap to enable contextual keyboards with some simple code adjustments.

But, webmasters who want to really engage tablet users and have the resources to do so can find huge benefits from going above and beyond, taking the basic structure and layout of their site and remixing it with adaptive frameworks to really make the site tablet friendly. It is entirely possible to create an adaptive tablet site without even changing the desktop site, and you rarely have to create entirely new elements for the site. It is more about using the elements you have on your site in new ways.

For example, sites with tons of images can make it so that these high quality images can be pinched and zoomed endlessly, while the rest of the page maintains its original size and clarity. You can also re-imagine your navigation for your site to fit how visitors will be using your site. Similarly, you can attempt to replicate the app style on your website with smooth transitions and panel menus hidden away, but always available at the tap of a button or swipe of a finger.

It is hard to suggest specific techniques for creating great adaptive tablet websites that go beyond simply editing your original desktop page, but that only goes to show how slowly the internet is adapting to one of its most fruitful markets. There are massive opportunities for us to completely redesign the tablet experience for the people actually using them, but designers can be stunted by the need to work for multiple clients, limited resources, and general willingness to rest on “acceptable” sites rather than truly exciting experiences.

Hopefully, as businesses recognize the potential of the market, designers can begin to truly explore the potential for design on these great devices.

Minimalism has been all the rage in web design lately. Flat design is currently one of the most popular design trends around, and it relies strongly on minimalist design principles. If done correctly, minimalism can achieve an experience that will stick in the minds of visitors for some time while doing away with all the sound and fury normally associated with the web.

Obviously, minimalist design techniques require sites that can be parsed down to just a few pages of information, but that has the added benefits of making your site automatically more friendly for mobile loading speeds and making your site easier to read. It can also cut your maintenance time down to a fraction of what is necessary for other larger sites. But, if you have a site that aims to comprehensively cover a topic or multiple topics, minimalism might not be right for your site.

One of the best aspects of great minimalist websites, and one of the biggest reasons flat design is taking off, is that every good minimalist site is built on a unique wireframe and a quality gridding system. When done right, that means your site will be easily made responsive, making the move to a mobile friendly site even easier than ever before.

Flat design is already beginning to branch out and apply more depth to sites that retain their minimalist principles, so it makes sense to get to know the ideas behind the broader style of design being co-opted for the new mobile-friendly internet. Mohammed Shakeri took the task of exploring how minimalism functions, some of its history (including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s famous “less is more”), and he even helps explain how to begin the transition to a minimalist website.

If you’ve been considering hopping on the latest trend to streamline sites, but haven’t been able to figure out what all the fuss is about, it’s never to late to find out. Or, as Frank Rossitano sings, “It’s never too late for now.”

Source: WikiCommons

Source: WikiCommons

Responsive web design isn’t quite the standard yet, but it certainly shows no sign of going away. It is currently the best solution for the majority of website owners attempting to make their site work well for people accessing it, no matter where they are coming from.

A growing minority of internet users are using smartphones and tablets to browse, and especially with Google’s push to punish sites with poorly configured or non-existing mobile sites, there isn’t much time left before site owners will have to choose between going responsive or creating a separate mobile site. To help you choose, Designrfix shared the latest facts about responsive web design.

  • Display Doesn’t Affect Load Times – Responsive design largely changes the appearance of sites depending on the device being used to access them. They don’t really affect what is actually loaded when a page is brought up, and so it doesn’t really do much to load times. In other words, you can’t rely on responsive design to “dumb down” and speed up your site on slower machines or lesser resolutions.
  • Search Engines Like It – Google has actively supported responsive design as the best solution to going mobile, mostly because it makes the job easier for its crawlers. The webmaster guidelines for Google even address the issue saying, “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”
  • It Directly Affects Your SEO Campaign – Running a separate mobile site rather than simply adapting responsive design basically requires running two SEO campaigns for the same site. With the ability to design for all devices with one site, comes the ability to only have one SEO strategy for the site as a whole.
  • Most Sites Can Be Turned Responsive – This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but for the most part site owners don’t have to create an entirely new site design when they decide to create a responsive design. Instead, most sites can be converted, saving over half the total cost of a full redesign.
  • There Is a Lot of Testing – The main thing people forget to mention when they support responsive design is that designing for all devices means testing for all devices. Going responsive does save you time in the actual design process, but the best rule of thumb for responsive design is if you haven’t tested on a device, your site probably doesn’t work perfectly on it.

I fully predict responsive design to become the standard for all website design in the future because it simply makes more sense for the large number of site owners out there, especially those with limited resources who want to only manage one version of their site.