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Common Problems With Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design is a relatively new technology and has only been around for the last couple of years or so. However, it has certainly created a revolution in the world of web design. The entire concept behind responsive web design is to create a fluid layout for a website so that it can be viewed with the same quality and experience on a variety of devices including tablet, smartphones, etc. This is other than the usual computers and laptops that are commonly used for browsing.

However, studies and research have revealed that all web designers working with responsive web design go through certain problems. Here are a common few:

The technology is relatively new

The first problems that web designers face while working with responsive web design is that it is still difficult to explain it to clients. The earlier concept of a linear static web design was easy to explain. It started with a brief, and then there was the wireframe planning stage. This would be followed by sets of visuals.

Nowadays, designers find it difficult to explain to clients that there isn’€™t a visual stage anymore. This kind of web design comprises more liquid stages of wireframes, sketches and prototypes.

As a solution, you can actually show the client what responsive web design, by mimicking a website that usual mimic different breakpoints.

Navigation problems

This is obviously a problem given that page layouts need to be modified across different devices. Earlier, this was a pretty simple deal. The navigation would usually be located on the left of a page or horizontally along the top. Now, this requires more planning.

Since this is a complex problem, you will need to carry out trial and error. Evaluate what the site is doing, its purpose and how it functions. Once you have decided upon a particular system, try it out on as many different devices as possible to see how it works. Sometimes, one navigation system might work out well for smartphones but be completely unusable on a tablet.

Image problems

Since this is a new technology, standard solutions to common problems have yet to be figured out. And one of these include the problems with images on responsive platforms. No particular specification has been backed so most web designers are left largely to their own devices.

Plus given that upcoming devices are coming up with high density displays, these also have to be considered by web designers. The problem is to make sure that the image quality is retained across multiple platforms. It can’€™t be stunning on a laptop and look blurry on a smartphone.

There are a few solutions to this problem and it includes using SVG and icon fonts.

Data table problems

Many designers have included problems with data tables because they have complex data or too many rows and columns. The problems arise when all that data has to be compressed on a small screen device and still be rendered usable.

Some designers in the community have come up with some options of using responsive tables to solve this problem. One of the solutions included hiding the data which is less important for the user.

Converting old websites

Another common problem is having to transform old fixed websites into responsive layouts to meet with the current device demands. Since both the design processes are different, it can be quite complex. Often the question is whether the current templates and stylesheets should be reverse engineered or should one go in for a Greenfield rebuild.

Written By

Amar Kukreja is a web designer with his own design agency. He has been working on responsive web design ever since it came into use for the past three to four years. Amar loves to play soccer in his free time.

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