Responsive Web Design: 7 Possible Challenges Troubling Web Designers

The numbers and types of mobile devices, platforms and browsers are growing day by day. It’s therefore the need of the hour for websites to work on all devices and browsers that their target audience may use. But is it possible to have a site that is equally favorable to both desktop and mobile users? The answer is yes. A responsive web design can handle both types of users. What is a responsive web design (RWD)? A responsive design simply means a website that has been constructed so that all of its content, images and structure remain the same regardless of the size of the screen it is viewed on. In short, RWD makes for an optimal experience for those browsing your website, doesn’t matter if they are seeing it on their oversized desktop monitor or on a 4-inch smartphone screen. There are, however, some challenges that web designers must overcome to build successful responsive websites. Here are seven of them. 1. Some Older Browsers May Not Support Media Queries Responsive websites work with CSS3 media queries to determine the screen size of the device used and then resize and rearrange the web pages to display the correct layout to the visitors. But in 2012, media queries became a W3C recommended standard, thus making them incompatible with some older browsers. Currently around 10% of Web users worldwide use old browsers like IE8, which do not support CSS3 media queries. This is a substantial portion of your audience, which cannot be ignored. There are several ways to display your website on these older browsers, such as by using a completely separate stylesheet for IE, or using a simpler mobile layout to support IE6, IE7, IE8 and any other older browser that does not support media queries. 2. RWD Is Time Consuming The most obvious drawback of building a responsive website is that it takes longer to design, develop and test. When designing a website for desktop viewing, a designer needs to consider how the website will look on one device, but when designing a responsive website, the designer needs to take into consideration how it will look on each and every device.  Advance features or rich designs can take a lot of development time when aiming at multiple devices. Also, multi-device testing is time consuming. It usually takes longer to convert an existing website into a responsive one than to build a responsive website from scratch. 3. RWD Is Difficult for Complex Websites Responsive web design works well for uncomplicated websites. But it is tedious to design and develop websites with complex UI elements using responsive design – online retail websites for instance. If a site is too big and complex, it is difficult for the web designer to decide what to keep and what to remove from it. Designers, therefore, are adopting mobile first philosophy, where they focus on the mobile version before developing the website for desktop viewing. This helps them figure out the most important aspects that should be included in the mobile version of the website. As the screen gets bigger, designers can enhance those aspects. 4. RWD Decreases Website Loading Speed A lot of smartphone and tablet users expect websites on their devices to load even faster than they would on a desktop. But the common draw-back o

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