Top 12 Reasons Your Website Needs to be Responsive to grow Your Business

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Have you been outside lately? You know how you are seeing more people using tablets and smartphones? Well, it’s not a trend as much as the norm any more. Walking around, we are plugged in to our mobile device. At some restaurants, the waiter or waitress takes our order. Mobile is ubiquitous. So why, why, why are there still so many businesses that have not yet adapted? I don’t know, and the good news is that you have a way to take advantage of the new reality.

As smartphones and tablets are ever more capable of performing tasks that used to be only capable on desktop, one thing is crystal clear: Internet surfing, connecting on social media, checking emails and online shopping is being taken over by mobile.

Naturally, because mobile Internet usage is steadily increasing, you can see that it’s extremely important that your website is mobile friendly. In the past, you had a website designed for desktop users and another site specifically developed for mobile users. But, now we need a website optimized for desktop, tablet and, mobile. Are you really gonna build multiple unique sites to accommodate the various screen sizes?

There actually is a method to satisfy many types of users. It’s called responsive web design. According to a report by Morgan Stanley, Mobile Devices will overtake Desktop usage this year. 2013 may have been hailed as “The Year of Responsive Design”, but RWD is far from last year’s news. Put simply, having responsive design means a website adjusts depending on which device they are being displayed on, ensuring that whether the content is viewed on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer, the website will remain user-friendly, which is ultimately the most important feature of any website or blog. So as though you really needed them, here are the Top 12 Reasons to convert to Responsive Web Design.

responsive-design-infographic

1. Recommended By Google

Since Google is the primary search engine to impress with your website, it is smart to follow what Google loves. Google not only recommends Responsive Web Design (RWD) as the best way to target mobile and tablet users, and also favors mobile-optimized sites when presenting results for searches made on a mobile device. This is especially true when mobile users search for local services. It’s important to note more searches are originated on mobile devices.

Of course there is still debate whether a separate mobile website or a single, responsive site is the best route to take. From an SEO perspective, a single site is the better option (More on this later). Separate mobile websites have their own URL and different code, whereas responsive sites use one URL and one set of pages and files, making it simpler for Google more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content and avoids issues of duplicate content.

With 67 percent search market share, when Google speaks, search marketing professionals listen. Google now states that responsive web design is theindustry best practice.

When you think about it, it’s also easier and less confusing for users to share, interact with, and link to than content on a stripped down mobile site.

For instance, a mobile user who shares content from a mobile site with a friend on the Facebook app who then accesses that content using a desktop, which results in that user viewing a stripped down mobile site on their desktop. This creates a less than optimal user-experience, and because of the large emphasis Google is now placing on user-experience as a ranking factor, this is essential to take into account with regards to SEO.

search-on-mobile-devices

2. One Website, Multiple Devices

Providing a great user-experience across multiple devices and screen sizes is the most appealing and most critical aspects of responsive web design for today’s uber mobile world. Take the following example. I search for a birthday gift on my smartphone during a break at work. I then continue researching this product on the same site on my MAC when I get home.

Because the site is responsive, won’t be frustrated with the extra steps to locate the desktop version of the site, and find the product all over again.

3. Easier to Manage

Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires having separate Google Adwords campaigns, SEO campaigns and separate Google Analytics reports. Managing one site is of course, far easier than managing two sites.

There can be an argument made for multiple sites though, such as having a mobile-specific Adwards and SEO strategy, such as optimizing for keywords that are more likely to be searched when someone is on their smartphone.

4. Positive User Experience Is Key

If a user lands on your mobile website and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, according to Google’s Think Insights on Mobile, there’s a 61% chance they will leave and go to a different website. Data shows a positive experience with your responsive website a user is 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service.

5. Blogging and Social Activities Bring Mobile Visitors

If you’re like most smart Inbound Marketers and incorporate blogging and social media in your strategy, you have most likely been seeing increased mobile traffic. A recent study by ComScore cites that 55% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device. SHOCKER!

6. Responsive Design is Preferred for SEO

Typically, Responsive Websites perform better and are easier to maintain. One thing not mentioned above is that a challenge of having a separate mobile site is that you will need to build the authority of this site from scratch, and who wants to go to that extra trouble?

7. Responsive Helps Combat a High Bounce Rate

Even if your regular website is sitting pretty in search results, if it looks and performs like crap on my tablet or smartphone, bounce rate will be a big problem. Non responsive websites will suffer from a high bounce rate if the content is too stripped down, or just plain clunky and too challenging to work with compared to the content offered on the main/desktop site. Google will naturally interpret this high bounce rate as a sign that a website irrelevant, which will lead to your drop in rankings, which is why we don’t see mobile versions of sites ranked high.

RWD means that there is no more compromising on the content you choose to display!

8. A Speedy Responsive Website is Key

The content per page on a mobile or tablet device should load in under 1 – 2 seconds according to the Google PageSpeed Developers standards. I’m not sure how possible that is when loading a desktop website on a mobile device. I haven’t timed it, and I can tell you that I don’t wait long before I close the window.

9. Responsive Adapts to Future Devices

As alluded to earlier, the benefit of responsive design is that the size of the template is designed based on screen size not device. Obviously, regardless of what size screen someone is viewing your website it will display properly for that screen size.  Unless, there will be a worldwide movement to standardize on one screen size, responsive design is here to stay. Having a mobile website is no longer just a nice feature or after thought. Fully functional websites for all screen sizes are mission critical for the growth of your business. What’s the ROI? check out is this “Full Value of Mobile” calculator by Google. Input your different business and marketing variables to learn how your metrics can be increased with proper responsive mobile design.

10. Responsive Design allows you to keep track of who visits your site

The great thing about online assets is that you can see who visits them, which allows you to increasingly improve your targeting. It should go without saying that with multiple versions of your site, it is more challenging to track analytics. This is the same logic against multiple business listings on various directories like Yelp, Manta, Merchant Circle, Kudzu, etc. because traffic is diluted between the various versions of your site. As a user, it can be extremely frustrating when searching for a site and then needing to find the most current and accurate site listed on the SERPs. Just sayin.

11. Responsive Design saves you money.

Have you ever heard the saying: You get what you pay for? There is a reason that saying still lives today and applies to Responsive design. Sure, a complicated, well crafted, responsive design could be expensive to develop or implement (Unless you select one of the 1000 options available for WordPress websites), but once published, you can maintain it quite easily. This is much more economical to maintain one site rather than multiple sites, wouldn’t you agree?

12. Responsive Design has Pay-Per-Click benefits.

Google AdWords has now converted the web to “enhanced campaigns”. What this means for you is the targeting of various devices is the treated the same. The benefit for you is that a website using Responsive Design makes it a whole lot easier to manage your PPC. Businesses have much more flexibility and control in how they reach consumers which are, you guessed it, using more mobile devices. “Google’s enhanced campaigns represent the biggest single change in the past 10 years to the basic structure of AdWords campaigns,” says Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream.

There you have it: The top 12 reasons to become responsive with your customers.

Positioning in web design

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Understanding how positioning in the web works is crucial for responsive web design, as it allows us speak the same language with developers and helps make better design decisions. Compared to static design tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch) it’s more complex as well, because the position depends on everything around it; scrolling, screen size and other factors.
To complicate things even more, different types of position in the web have names that are quite confusing – Static, Absolute, Relative and Fixed – where static isn’t really static and absolute depends on the placement. Therefore here is a short, visual manual of what is what.

 

The Z-index

Z-indexBefore we jump to positioning, lets explain what the Z-index is as it affects all types of positioning in some way. So Z-index is a simple way to tell which element is in front of another one, similar to layers in the static design apps.

DO: Use for buttons, clickable stuff.
DON’T: Avoid text being on top of that clickable stuff as it becomes unclickable…

 

Static position

Static positionStatic is the default positioning type. Although the name suggests that nothing is moving it isn’t the case. Static means elements are static to the flow – if one moves, another will move as well.

DO: Your safest bet it will scale on all browsers well. Adding Min and Max limits horizontally and vertically will help to keep the design perfect.
DON’T: Watch out for text blocks with changing content as it can break the design.

Absolute position

Absolute position

Absolute positioning defines the element based on X and Y property. The tricky part is that it will be absolute to the parent element that has a position of Relative, Absolute or Fixed. If there are none, it will be absolute to the page. Absolutely positioned elements don’t care much about the flow, meaning they live in their own universe and aren’t affected by anything around them. It will appear on top of any static positioned element.

DO: A menu or logo that needs to be always on the top of the page? Go for it!
DON’T: Absolute and Responsive aren’t best friends.

Relative position

Relative position

Relatively positioned elements behave exactly like static ones, but they serve as a local frame of reference for absolutely positioned child elements.

DO: Use on a parent container for absolute positioned elements.
DON’T: If a logo or a badge has to always sit on top of the screen, don’t wrap them in a relative element.

Fixed position

Fixed position

Fixed means the position will always be locked to the size of the browser’s window (viewport).

DO: Navigation that is always visible on the top of the screen? Yes!
DON’T: If something is behind a fixed element it won’t be clickable.

Real life

In real life the type of position is often changed as we go and they are mixed together. For example if you want a banner be scrollable until it reaches the top, then at first it will be absolute, but then it will become fixed by adding some JavaScript.

These are the basics, but there is more.

What if you want to align two elements side by side? This is where float properties, inline blocks and margins come into play.

 

9 basic principles of responsive web design

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Responsive web design is a great solution to our multi-screen problem, but getting into it from the print perspective is difficult. No fixed page size, no millimetres or inches, no physical constraints to fight against. Designing in pixels for Desktop and Mobile only is also the past, as more and more gadgets can open up a website. Therefore, let’s clarify some basic principles of responsive web design here to embrace the fluid web, instead of fighting it. To keep it simple we’ll focus on layouts (yes, responsive goes way deeper than that).

Responsive vs Adaptive web design

It might seem the same but it isn’t. Both approaches complement each other, so there is no right or wrong way to do it. Let the content decide.

The flow

As screen sizes become smaller, content starts to take up more vertical space and anything below will be pushed down, it’s called the flow. That might be tricky to grasp if you are used to design with pixels and points, but makes total sense when you get used to it.
What is responsive and adaptive web design

Relative units

The canvas can be a desktop, mobile screen or anything in between. Pixel density can also vary, so we need units that are flexible and work everywhere. That’s where relative units like percents come in handy. So making something 50% wide means it will always take half of the screen (or viewport, which is the size of the opened browser window).
Relative units in CSS

Breakpoints

Breakpoints allow the layout to change at predefined points, i.e. having 3 columns on a desktop, but only 1 column on a mobile device. Most CSS properties can be changed from one breakpoint to another. Usually where you put one depends on the content. If a sentence breaks, you might need to add a breakpoint. But use them with caution – it can get messy quickly when it’s difficult to understand what is influencing what.
Breakpoints in the responsive web design

Max and Min values

Sometimes it’s great that content takes up the whole width of a screen, like on a mobile device, but having the same content stretching to the whole width of your TV screen often makes less sense. This is why Min/Max values help. For example having width of 100% and Max width of 1000px would mean that content will fill the screen, but don’t go over 1000px.
Min and max widths in CSS

Nested objects

Remember the relative position? Having a lot of elements depending on each other would be difficult to control, therefore wrapping elements in a container keeps it way more understandable, clean and tidy. This is where static units like pixels can help. They are useful for content that you don’t want to scale, like logos and buttons.
Nested objects

Mobile or Desktop first

Technically there isn’t much of a difference if a project is started from a smaller screen to a bigger (mobile first) or vice versa (desktop first). Yet it adds extra limitations and helps you make decisions if you start with mobile first. Often people start from both ends at once, so really, go and see what works better for you.
Mobile or desktop first

Webfonts vs System fonts

Wanna have a cool looking Futura or Didot on your website? Use webfonts! Although they will look stunning, remember that each will be downloaded and the more you’ll have, the longer it will take to load the page. System fonts on the other hand are lightning fast, except when the user doesn’t have it locally, it will fall back to a default font.
Webfonts vs System fonts

Bitmap images vs Vectors

Does your icon have lot of details and some fancy effects applied? If yes, use a bitmap. If not, consider using a vector image. For bitmaps use a jpg, png or a gif, for vectors the best choice would be a SVG or an icon font. Each has some benefits and some drawbacks. However keep in mind the size — no pictures should go online without optimization. Vectors on the other hand often are tiny, but some older browsers won’t support it. Also, if it has lots of curves, it might be heavier than a bitmap, so choose wisely.
Bitmap images vs vectors

Feel that we left out something important? Let us know in the comments!

HTML Attributes

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Attributes provide additional information about HTML elements.


HTML Attributes

  • HTML elements can have attributes
  • Attributes provide additional information about an element
  • Attributes are always specified in the start tag
  • Attributes come in name/value pairs like: name=”value”

The lang Attribute

The document language can be declared in the tag.

The language is declared in the lang attribute.

Declaring a language is important for accessibility applications (screen readers) and search engines:

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=“en-US”>
<body><h1>My First Heading</h1><p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>

The first two letters specify the language (en). If there is a dialect, use two more letters (US).


The title Attribute

HTML paragraphs are defined with the

tag.

In this example, the

element has a title attribute. The value of the attribute is “About Learnforweb“:

Example

<p title=“About Learnforweb”>
Learnforweb is a web developer’s site.
It provides tutorials and useful tricks covering
many aspects of Front-end Development,
including HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript etc.
</p>
Note When you move the mouse over the element, the title will be displayed as a tooltip.

The href Attribute

HTML links are defined with the tag. The link address is specified in the href attribute:

Example

<a href=learnforweb.wordpress.com>This is a link</a>

You will learn more about links and the tag later in this tutorial.


Size Attributes

HTML images are defined with the tag.

The filename of the source (src), and the size of the image (width and height) are all provided as attributes:

Example

<img src=“code.jpg” width=“104” height=“142”>

The image size is specified in pixels: width=”104″ means 104 screen pixels wide.

You will learn more about images and the tag later in this tutorial.


The alt Attribute

The alt attribute specifies an alternative text to be used, when an HTML element cannot be displayed.

The value of the attribute can be read by “screen readers”. This way, someone “listening” to the webpage, i.e. a blind person, can “hear” the element.

Example

<img src=“Code.jpg” alt=“Coding” width=“104” height=“142”>

We Suggest: Always Use Lowercase Attributes

The HTML5 standard does not require lower case attribute names.

The title attribute can be written with upper or lower case like Title and/or TITLE.

W3C recommends lowercase in HTML4, and demands lowercase for stricter document types like XHTML.

Note Lower case is the most common. Lower case is easier to type.
At Learnforweb we always use lower case attribute names.

We Suggest: Always Quote Attribute Values

The HTML5 standard does not require quotes around attribute values.

The href attribute, demonstrated above, can be written as:

W3C recommends quotes in HTML4, and demands quotes for stricter document types like XHTML.

Sometimes it is necessary to use quotes. This will not display correctly, because it contains a space:

Example

<p title=About W3Schools>
Note Using quotes are the most common. Omitting quotes can produce errors.

Single or Double Quotes?

Double style quotes are the most common in HTML, but single style can also be used.

In some situations, when the attribute value itself contains double quotes, it is necessary to use single quotes:

Example

<p title=‘John “ShotGun” Nelson’>

Or vice versa:

Example

<p title=“John ‘ShotGun’ Nelson”>

Chapter Summary

  • All HTML elements can have attributes
  • The HTML title attribute provides additional “tool-tip” information
  • The HTML href attribute provides address information for links
  • The HTML width and height attributes provide size information for images
  • The HTML alt attribute provides text for screen readers
  • At W3Schools we always use lowercase HTML attribute names
  • At W3Schools we always quote attributes with double quotes

HTML Attributes

Below is an alphabetical list of some attributes often used in HTML:

Attribute Description
alt Specifies an alternative text for an image
disabled Specifies that an input element should be disabled
href Specifies the URL (web address) for a link
id Specifies a unique id for an element
src Specifies the URL (web address) for an image
style Specifies an inline CSS style for an element
title Specifies extra information about an element (displayed as a tool tip)
value Specifies the value (text content) for an input element.

HTML Elements

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HTML documents are made up by HTML elements.


HTML Elements

HTML elements are written with a start tag, with an end tag, with the content in between:

<tagname>content</tagname>

The HTML element is everything from the start tag to the end tag:

<p>My first HTML paragraph.</p>
Start tag Element content End tag
<h1> My First Heading </h1>
<p> My first paragraph. </p>
<br>
Note Some HTML elements do not have an end tag.

Nested HTML Elements

HTML elements can be nested (elements can contain elements).

All HTML documents consist of nested HTML elements.

This example contains 4 HTML elements:

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>

HTML Example Explained

The <html> element defines the whole document.

It has a start tag <html> and an end tag </html>.

The element content is another HTML element (the <body> element).

<html>
<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>

The <body> element defines the document body.

It has a start tag <body> and an end tag </body>.

The element content is two other HTML elements (<h1> and <p>).

<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>

The <h1> element defines a heading.

It has a start tag <h1> and an end tag </h1>.

The element content is: My First Heading.

<h1>My First Heading</h1>

The <p> element defines a paragraph.

It has a start tag <p> and an end tag </p>.

The element content is: My first paragraph.

<p>My first paragraph.</p>

Don’t Forget the End Tag

Some HTML elements will display correctly, even if you forget the end tag:

Example

<html>
<body>

<p>This is a paragraph
<p>This is a paragraph

</body>
</html>

The example above works in all browsers, because the closing tag is considered optional.

Never rely on this. It might produce unexpected results and/or errors if you forget the end tag.


Empty HTML Elements

HTML elements with no content are called empty elements.

<br> is an empty element without a closing tag (the <br> tag defines a line break).

Empty elements can be “closed” in the opening tag like this: <br />.

HTML5 does not require empty elements to be closed. But if you want stricter validation, or you need to make your document readable by XML parsers, you should close all HTML elements.


HTML Tip: Use Lowercase Tags

HTML tags are not case sensitive: <P> means the same as <p>.

The HTML5 standard does not require lowercase tags, but W3C recommends lowercase in HTML4, and demandslowercase for stricter document types like XHTML.

Note At Learnforweb we always use lowercase tags.

HTML Basic Examples

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Don’t worry if these examples use tags you have not learned.

You will learn them in the next chapters.


HTML Documents

All HTML documents must start with a type declaration:.

The HTML document itself begins with and ends with .

The visible part of the HTML document is between and .

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body><h1>My First Heading</h1><p>My first paragraph.</p></body>
</html>


HTML Headings

HTML headings are defined with the

to

tags:

Example

<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<h2>This is a heading</h2>
<h3>This is a heading</h3>

HTML Paragraphs

HTML paragraphs are defined with the

tag:

Example

<p>This is a paragraph.</p>
<p>This is another paragraph.</p>

HTML Links

HTML links are defined with the tag:

Example

<a href=http://www.learnforweb.wordpress.com>This is a link</a>

The link address is specified in the href attribute.

Attributes are used to provide additional information about HTML elements.


HTML Images

HTML images are defined with the tag.

The source file (src), alternative text (alt), and size (width and height) are provided as attributes:

Example

<img src=“code.jpg” alt=“Coding” width=“104” height=“142”>
Note You will learn more about attributes in a later chapter.

HTML Editors

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Write HTML Using Notepad or TextEdit

HTML can be edited by using a professional HTML editor like:

  • Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Microsoft Expression Web
  • CoffeeCup HTML Editor

However, for learning HTML we recommend a text editor like Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac).

We believe using a simple text editor is a good way to learn HTML.

Follow the 4 steps below to create your first web page with Notepad.


Step 1: Open Notepad

To open Notepad in Windows 7 or earlier:

Click Start (bottom left on your screen). Click All Programs. Click Accessories. Click Notepad.

To open Notepad in Windows 8 or later:

Open the Start Screen (the window symbol at the bottom left on your screen). Type Notepad.


Step 2: Write Some HTML

Write or copy some HTML into Notepad.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>

<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>

Notepad


Step 3: Save the HTML Page

Save the file on your computer.

Select File > Save as in the Notepad menu.

Name the file “index.htm” or any other name ending with htm.

UTF-8 is the preferred encoding for HTML files.

ANSI encoding covers US and Western European characters only.

View in Browser

Note You can use either .htm or .html as file extension. There is no difference, it is up to you.

Step 4: View HTML Page in Your Browser

Open the saved HTML file in your favorite browser. The result will look much like this:

View in Browser

Note To open a file in a browser, double click on the file, or right-click, and choose open with.