Responsive Web Apps: Benefits and Best Practices
If you have an app, and are thinking of creating a web version, or if you have a web version that’s not responsive, then you should consider designing a responsive web app. This type of design will allow a web version of your application to work effectively and efficiently across all screens.
Before designing a responsive web app, it’s important to understand it’s benefits and best practices, both of which I’ll be highlighting below.
Programmed as Your Web App
If you already created a web version of your app, then there’s only a bit of work left to be done. You should test the user experience on a mobile device and alter the interface so that it’s mobile friendly. Such adjustments include updating the navigation menus, buttons, fonts sizes, and input fields so that they are designed in a way that an iOS or Android user would understand them (based on the type of device your user is using).
No Platform Dependency
Web apps don’t need Google Play or Apple App Store to operate (plus, you get to skip any approval process that comes with being in app stores). You have the freedom to design for the most popular browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome), which will work on any device that uses that browser.
Since your responsive web app has no dependency on app stores, it also means they don’t have to conform to Apple or Android rules and regulations. Play by your own rules!
Link Apps Together
Although this is a bit of a new technique, you can now link apps together that have synergistic opportunities, or are part of the same production company.
When designing a responsive web app, you should always keep in mind that the experience should be the same no matter if your user is on a laptop or their smartphone. And to do that successfully, it’s important to follow these best practices.
Layout of the Page
Use grids to define page layouts. This can be done by using rows and columns where lies all the content. For instance, a laptop screen can have three columns, a tablet usually has two, and a smartphone has one.
Image Size and Quality
A laptop has larger screens and higher resolutions than that of a smartphone. As such, if you use a smaller resolution for a larger screen, it will be distorted. It’s best to use images that are the same, or different images that are different sizes for various resolutions.
Font Size and Type
It’s important to note that the font sizes and types will show up differently on a laptop versus a smartphone (think large bold fonts on a laptop versus on a mobile phone). As such, you want to make sure the fonts are scaled based on the device your user will be using.
Laptops allow for a lot of content space, whereas a tablet or smartphone has a limited amount of space. It’s best to have a balance between the three⎼keep it short and concise for small ⏨devices, and lengthier for larger ones.
Responsive web apps are beneficial if you are working on developing an app for the app store and need an temporary app, if you have a website that’s not responsive, or if you are looking to design an app version of your website. Whatever the case may be, responsive web apps allow you to design freely without rules, regulations and limitations imposed on apps in app stores.
And in order to have a successful, fluid and efficient responsive web app, you should look into these best practices, which will help you design the layout accordingly and increase better UI and developer productivity.