Responsive Website Design: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

By Adam

Responsive Website Design: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Have you ever visited a site that looks like it was designed in the dark ages? You know, one where all the text is too small, and the images are stretched out of proportion? If your website doesn’t use responsive design, it may look downright frightening on different devices like mobiles or tablets, and this can lead to losing potential customers. However, even on a site built with responsive design Read more about the importance of responsive website design top of mind, you can still make mistakes. We specialize in building responsive website designs in the Orlando area, and we’re ready to reveal our secrets. Below are ten common errors in responsive website design and tips on how to avoid them.

Responsive website design blog post introductory gif of a man saying, "I'll never make that mistake again."

Mistake #1: Not Optimizing Images For Mobile Devices

One of the most common mistakes made in responsive website design is neglecting to optimize images for various devices. In today’s age, consumers expect websites to look top-notch and perform seamlessly, whether they’re on a desktop or mobile device. If you don’t optimize your images for the device being used, your website could end up looking unprofessional or disorganized—and that’s something you definitely want to avoid. Not only can it distort the layout of your page, but it can also take forever to load, leaving your visitors frustrated and ready to move on elsewhere. So, let’s make sure your images are optimized and your website is running like a well-oiled machine!

To ensure your images are properly optimized Learn the difference between web and print images for mobile devices, you need to make sure they are compressed and scaled correctly before uploading them onto your website. Compression reduces file size without compromising quality while scaling adjusts the dimensions of the image so that it fits perfectly on any screen size without distortion. It also helps reduce loading times, which is important if you want visitors who use mobiles or tablets stay on your site longer. Additionally, using vector graphics wherever possible can help reduce file sizes and still provide crisp visuals across multiple device types—so you can avoid any embarrassing tech malfunctions!

Mistake #2: Not Testing On Different Screen Sizes

The same webpage shown on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile screen sizes to show responsive website design in action.

Another common error made in responsive website design that comes up often for our Orlando clients is not testing your website on different screen sizes. Many folks assume that their website will look great on all devices, even though they may have only tested it on one. Without testing your website on a variety of screen sizes, you run the risk of having elements overlap, images looking stretched, and fonts becoming too large or too small. This can not only cause a poor user experience but also give visitors an impression that your website is outdated or worse, untrustworthy.

So, you know that testing your responsive website on different screen sizes is important. But how can you do it effectively? One simple trick is to use a responsive design tool to emulate various device types, such as mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. Another option is to manually test your website on actual devices, which can give you a better understanding of the user experience. Whichever method you choose, make sure to take note of any issues you encounter and test your website multiple times to ensure consistency. By doing so, you’ll be able to catch any problems early on and provide visitors with a seamless experience no matter what device they’re using.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Touchscreen Interactions

Illustration of a hand holding a mobile phone.

In today’s world, touchscreen devices are ubiquitous, yet many designers still forget to account for them when building websites. The reason for this oversight could be a lack of knowledge or experience with designing for touchscreens. Others may simply overlook touchscreen interactions, assuming that the website will function the same way on all devices. This can lead to significant problems, like buttons being too small, input fields being too close together, or links being difficult to click. All of these issues can frustrate users and lead to a poor user experience.

There are several crucial things to look out for when designing for touchscreens. First, ensure that your buttons and links are large enough to be easily clicked with a finger. Second, increase spacing between input fields to prevent accidental taps. Third, understand that scrolling is a natural interaction on mobile devices, and your site should be designed accordingly. Finally, remember to test your website on touchscreen devices to ensure that it functions as intended. By following these tips, you can provide users with a seamless responsive experience no matter what device they’re using.

Mistake #4: Failing To Use Responsive Typography

Responsive typography refers to the practice of adjusting font sizes, line heights, and other typographic elements to fit different screen sizes. Designers often overlook the importance of responsive typography, assuming that a single font size will work well across all devices. However, this can lead to text being too small or too large, making it difficult for users to read. In some cases, the layout may even break, causing overlapping text or strange line breaks.

The key is to embrace responsive typography. Start by setting font sizes in relative units like ems or rems instead of pixels. This ensures that your typography will scale appropriately based on the user’s device. Additionally, try using a modular scale to set type proportions, ensuring that your typography is visually balanced across different screen sizes. Finally, it’s important to test your website on multiple devices to ensure that your typography is legible and easy to read no matter what device it’s viewed on.

Mistake #5: Overlooking Cross-Browser Compatibility

A gravestone to commemorate Internet Explorer, now defunct web browser.
Source: Jung Ki-Young/Handout via REUTERS

When designing responsive websites for our clients in the Orlando area, we always focus on making their sites look great on multiple devices and screen sizes. However, another common mistake is overlooking cross-browser compatibility, which ensures that your website functions and appears correctly across various web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge (RIP Internet Explorer, the browser that time forgot). Failing to address cross-browser compatibility can lead to inconsistencies in design, layout, and functionality, causing a poor user experience for visitors using different browsers.

It’s a good idea to start by testing your website on various popular browsers to identify any issues or inconsistencies. Follow the principle of progressive enhancement, which involves building your website with a core set of functionality that works on all browsers. Then, gradually add advanced features that are supported by modern browsers. This way, even older browsers can still access the essential content and functionality.

Mistake #6: Not Using Media Queries

Media queries are a crucial component of responsive web design, and a huge part of our responsive website design process for our clients in Orlando. They allow designers to apply different styles and layouts based on the user’s screen size. It’s easy to overlook or ignore media queries and assume that your website will look fine on all devices. However, this can lead to issues like content appearing too small or large on mobile devices, images failing to scale correctly, and layout inconsistencies—yikes!

This is why media queries are an essential component of responsive web design. A tip is to start designing for mobile devices first and then gradually add in styles for larger screens. Use breakpoints to adjust styles at specific screen sizes and test your website on multiple devices to ensure that each breakpoint works as intended. And hey, while you’re at it, consider using relative units like ems or rems instead of pixels for scalable content.

Navigation menus are a critical component of any website, allowing visitors to easily find what they’re looking for and navigate through the site. If you fail to optimize your navigation menus, either by using unclear labels, cluttered layouts, or difficult-to-use designs, this can lead to confusion and frustration for users, causing them to leave the site and look elsewhere for the information they need.

When it comes to a navigation menu, it’s important to focus on simplicity, clarity, and ease-of-use. Start by organizing your content into logical categories that make sense to your target audience. Use clear and descriptive labels for each menu item, and consider using icons or images to provide visual cues. Keep your menu design clean and uncluttered, avoiding drop-down menus with too many options. Test your navigation menu on real users to ensure that it’s intuitive and easy to use, and make adjustments as necessary.

Mistake #8: Overlooking Mobile-Friendly Forms

A hand navigating a responsive mobile form on an iPhone.

Have you ever encountered an online form that’s a total pain to fill out on your mobile device? You’re definitely not alone. Overlooking the importance of mobile-friendly forms is an extremely common blunder in responsive website design, and can lead to frustration and potentially lost customers—which we definitely do not want.

So, how can we transform those frustrating forms into delightful mobile-friendly experiences? First things first, ensure your form fields are large enough to tap comfortably on touchscreens. Keep those labels clear and concise, steering clear of any technical jargon that might leave users scratching their heads. Got a lengthy form? No problem! Break it down into bite-sized sections, and don’t forget to use input types like date pickers or dropdown menus for a seamless user experience. Test your forms on different devices and screen sizes, ensuring they work like a charm no matter where they’re being accessed. And hey, who doesn’t appreciate a little guidance? Add real-time input validation to help users breeze through the form-filling process error-free. A well-designed form Learn more about website form design can be a beautiful thing—let’s make sure users on all devices get that same experience.

Mistake #9: Not Accounting for Different Device Orientations

Sometimes, rotating a device while browsing a website can cause the layout to go haywire. This issue arises when designers don’t account for different device orientations and focus solely on portrait or landscape mode. Such an oversight might occur if they assume users will always view their site in one specific orientation. This can lead to a subpar user experience, as elements might not adjust properly, resulting in layout issues and frustrated visitors.

To create a website that shines in both portrait and landscape modes, it’s essential to consider various device orientations during the design process. Strive for fluid layouts that adjust naturally and ensure seamless navigation for users, regardless of their screen orientation. Start by using media queries and CSS Grid Explore the wonderful world of grids or Flexbox to create responsive designs that accommodate both portrait and landscape views seamlessly. Test your website on different devices and orientations, making sure all elements adapt smoothly when switching between portrait and landscape modes. By paying attention to different device orientations and embracing adaptability, you’ll create a website that looks fantastic no matter which way the screen is turned.

Mistake #10: Ignoring Accessibility Concerns

An illustration demonstrating some of the things a developer must look out for in terms of web accessibility in responsive website design.

When it comes to responsive website design, we always tell our Orlando clients that overlooking accessibility is like forgetting the secret ingredient in a recipe—a fatal error. Responsive web design should not only adapt the layout and appearance of the website, but also ensure that individuals with disabilities can access and use the site effectively. Failing to address accessibility in responsive design can result in barriers for users with disabilities, such as visual impairments, hearing impairments, or motor disabilities. It can also be a huge detriment to sales—according to Forbes, Check out this Forbes article on the importance of web accessibility in 2021, an estimated $828 million was lost by e-commerce retailers over the holiday season due to inaccessible websites. Ouch.

Prioritizing accessibility ensures an inclusive user experience, so it is crucial to consider accessibility guidelines from the outset of the responsive design process. Implementing accessible responsive design involves providing descriptive alternative text for images, using semantic HTML tags to structure content, ensuring keyboard accessibility, and maintaining proper colour contrast ratios. By prioritizing accessibility in responsive web design, you’ll create an inclusive user experience that accommodates users of all abilities—and satisfies all users’ appetites!


As we’ve learned time and again throughout our years of building responsive websites in the Orlando area, responsive website design can be an incredibly powerful tool for your website to reach the maximum number of users, as well as engage them in a meaningful way. When users experience a well-designed responsive site, they gain trust in your brand as an authority in their industry—building loyalty, which could mean repeat visits. By sidestepping these common blunders in responsive website design, you can create a website that not only dazzles across all devices but also delivers an enjoyable user experience, keeping your visitors coming back for more, and propelling your online presence to new heights.

Need a responsive website design that sets you apart from the competition? We’ve got you covered! Don’t miss out on creating a unique and professional online presence—get in touch now.

About the author

I'm nobody's taxi service but I take pride in driving the bus! Upbeat, energetic serial entrepreneur on the quest to serve and help people. I enjoy long walks on short beaches and adventurous, adrenaline-pumping activities. I'm a normal bloke doing abnormal bloke things!
Read more posts by Adam
Phone Icon
Call Us
Contact Icon
Contact us