Responsive Design with Personality: Breaking Away from Templates

If you’re looking to make a statement with your website and put across your company’s personality, the good news is that there have never been better tools with which to do it. The bad news is that there have never been so many challenges. Site design is currently going through a phase of rapid development as it adjusts to take account of the demands of multiple viewing platforms, and we’re only just reaching a point where there are renewed opportunities for visual creativity. To build a site that looks good and offers universal access, you’re going to need to use tools that are right at the cutting edge.

Why responsive design matters

These days more than two-thirds of web users are gaining access through mobile devices, which means it’s absolutely essential to have a site that looks good – and delivers important information – at different sizes. It simply isn’t possible to remain commercially competitive otherwise. Fortunately, we’re starting to see a process of standardization across smartphones, which is reducing the number of parameters web code has to cope with, but there’s still a long way to go. Meanwhile, new devices continue to emerge, and coders are looking for ways to anticipate the issues they will raise.

The hazards of frameworks

The simplest way for the average business owner to work around this is to build a site using frameworks pre-designed to work across the full range of devices they are likely to encounter. Templates designed to go with these allow some creative flexibility but can still be extremely limiting. Because the average user is still excited simply to have a website, and not particularly imaginative about how it might be presented, there hasn’t yet been enough pressure to improve most of these tools.

GoDaddy: bucking the trend

One exception to this is GoDaddy, which has used a variable cost package model to finance the development of a much larger number of templates than average, allowing its users more flexibility. Its Executive Chairman Bob Parsons has always approached his own business with creative flair, so the extra effort made here makes sense. Users can also control a number of factors within the templates they are offered in order to create sites that look truly unique.

Making a difference

If you want to make sure your website looks different despite the limitations imposed by templates, there are several things you can do. The first is to get savvy about colors, which are not affected at all by responsive design, so you can create a distinctive mood that ties in to what your business does. The second is to use prominent scalable images. The third is to use scalable patterns, though these should be kept to the margins so they don’t interfere with readability.

Check out: MTV.com redesign & Upworthy redesign

Responsive design may restrain you, but it’s often said that art flourishes best in that situation. If you’re really ready to make a statement, there’s no reason to let it stop you.

Featured image credit: ShutterStock