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Responsive Design in Webflow

11
Jul
2023
Responsive Design in Webflow

Webflow is one of the most popular website builders on the market. One of the reasons why it's so popular is that it makes it easy to build stunning and responsive websites. As soon as you start with Webflow, it considers responsiveness behind the scenes. However, you can't expect it to do 100% of the job for you, let alone if you want a website that stands out. The good news is you can quickly edit a few things to make your site fully responsive and make a difference. In this post, we'll give you some valuable tips for responsive design on Webflow. So, with no further ado, let's dive right into it!

What is Responsive Design?

Responsive web design involves optimizing designs, text, and images to ensure they display smoothly on different devices and platforms, resulting in a pleasant experience for users. Responsive design is, therefore, strongly related to User Experience, User Interfaces, technical SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and, of course, conversions. After all, over 94% of users judge websites based on how responsive they are.

Like WordPress, Webflow lets you easily change the screen size to optimize your designs and content for multiple devices. Webflow covers desktop, tablet, mobile portrait, and even mobile landscape. Once you start with Webflow, you begin designing your website for desktop devices by default. Then you can edit the site for a different device by selecting it on the top menu bar. The best part is that if you don't remove or add more content, your changes won't affect responsiveness on the other devices.

What are the Elements of Responsive Design?

As you may well know, CSS adds style to web content. In other words, responsive design has everything to do with CSS. Thanks to Webflow, you don't need to worry so much about all those concepts, yet it's advisable to understand responsive design basics. To simplify your life, we've assembled (yes, like the Avengers) the core responsive design CSS (Cascade Style Sheets) concepts you need to know to optimize your Webflow site for various devices.

1. Mobile-First

In a previous article about the benefits of responsive design, we mentioned how important it's to prioritize mobile devices when designing a website. In terms of sales, more than 50% of users search for products and complete sales on mobile devices! We can’t stress enough how important it's to prioritize getting a mobile-friendly website to get the most out of it. This way, you must spend most of your resources, time, and money making sure the mobile version of your site looks great.

2. CSS Classes

Classes are one of the most basic CSS concepts you should get acquainted with to make your site fully responsive. They help you easily add basic styles to multiple web (HTML) elements. Webflow templates will automatically create classes for your site's elements, allowing you to rename, duplicate, and delete them with just a click. Once you click on an element, you can see the classes that affect it under the style selector section on the right-hand Webflow dashboard.

Responsive Design in Webflow

3. Margin and Padding

Some of you may argue that these concepts are far too basic, but it can be challenging to understand the difference between them for those new to web design. You can think of your website as a canvas with a wide range of elements to better understand how they work. Every element has a margin and padding that work as invisible frames.

The margin represents the space between an element and its neighboring elements, creating a gap between them. On the other hand, the padding represents the space that separates the element (text, content, images) and the element's frame, known as border. In other words, the margin is the space around an element, and the padding is the space within it. You must understand these concepts since many issues in responsive design have to do with margin and padding.

A classic example is text far too close to the screen's border or elements too close to each other because of too little margin or padding. Every time you select an element on Webflow, you'll see a "Spacing" section on the right-hand dashboard showing the margin and padding of the element. Whether you need to add or remove space, Webflow will let you do it easily without having to write a single code line.

4. Relative Sizing

Relative sizing is probably the most crucial concept in responsive design. Unlike fixed sizing that uses pixels, relative units allow elements to adjust their size proportionally based on users' devices and other components. This way, you won't have to make as many edits for different devices. Elements will adjust accordingly. CSS's most common relative units include percentages, viewport units, rem, and em.

A. Percentages. With percentages, you can give images, grids, and even margin and padding relative sizes based on their parent elements. This way, if you create a container such as a div that holds images or grids, they'll resize depending on the size of their parent element (the div). You can set an image to 100% to ensure it always takes up all the space of its container.

B. Viewport Units. Instead of focusing on their parent element, viewport units depend on the user's viewport of the browser window. You can use "vw" for viewport width and vh for viewport height. Every value represents a percentage unit of the viewport, so 10vw equals 10% of the viewport width.

C. rem and em. Last but not least, "rem" and "em" values will help you optimize responsiveness for text elements. Whether for headings or paragraphs, setting their values with rem or em is a good practice. Now you might be wondering, what do these values mean? Why are they so good for text elements? Every browser has a default font size for text, which usually is 16px. Rem stands for "root em," meaning that one rem equals 16 pixels (unless you change the root font value).

This way, you can ensure a consistent and proportional difference between headings and paragraphs using, for instance, one rem (16 pixels) for paragraphs and 1.5 rem (24 pixels) for headings. There's no worse buzzkill than a site that displays headings smaller than the paragraphs below them, so bear that in mind. Whenever you select an element on Webflow, it'll show you the following boxes on the right-hand dashboard to set the values for elements and typography. Webflow allows you to select your preferred relative value per element easily.

Responsive Design in Webflow

7 Tips for Responsive Design in Webflow

1. Plan and meditate on how your website will look on all devices, prioritizing mobile.

2. If you're new to Webflow, teach yourself how to use it by playing around with the values on the dashboard. Watching the video tutorials on Webflow University as you do it is highly advisable!

3. Remember that changes in terms of styling will only affect smaller devices or screens. In other words, whatever changes you make to the tablet's breakpoint will impact mobile but won't affect desktop versions. As a result, whatever you do on the mobile breakpoint won't affect (or ruin) your previous work on tablet or desktop devices either.

4. Focus on relative values to get flexible grids, images, containers, and other elements. Consider using rem or em for typography.

5. Constantly test your designs by manually resizing your work on every breakpoint to make sure it scales up and down smoothly and with fluidity. It's worth noting that the default value for mobile devices has a width of 320px, yet most modern phones are wider. Thus, you'll want to test your work by expanding that a bit.

6. To prevent overflow issues, as much as possible, avoid fixed sizing for large elements.

7. Prioritize readability and make sure ALL elements are clickable, especially on mobile devices. And don't forget that if the elements are too close to each other or they're too small, it can be troublesome for users to select them.

Conclusion

Webflow is an excellent tool for building stunning and almost fully responsive websites. Even though Webflow considers responsive design for multiple devices, you still need to edit a few things as soon as you start working on your site. You'll just need a basic understanding of the CSS concepts we mentioned in this post and experiment with them until you get the desired result.

Don't get me wrong. Depending on your website's complexity, it may take some time to make it 100% responsive. Yet, Webflow makes the design process immensely easier by doing all the heavy lifting so you can create a stunning, professional, fully responsive website without writing any code. That’s one of the reasons why we think it can provide seamless experiences.