Simply the Best: My Favorite Responsive Websites
There are so many responsive websites that I adore—too many to list here. So, to spare you the pain of a 5,000-word blog entry, I’ve narrowed my list down to just six sites. I chose each because, well, I visit them frequently and I find them all to be very helpful or useful in some way. Plus, it’s just really nice when a site offers you a smooth experience no matter what device you’re on.
This site is on my list largely due to my love of all things cooking… Er, well, I actually mean food. I love food. But, because I’m a vegan, to get the food I want, I have to cook it. And this is where Yummly comes into the picture. I’ve been using Yummly for a little while now. I was initially attracted to the design and photography of the site but had a hard time using it in the kitchen, since I mostly follow recipes off of my iPhone. It’s one of those sites that wasn’t responsive, but one day, BOOM!, there it was (or, for all you Tag Team fans, “Whoomp! There it is!”). And what a relief! Finding recipes online can be more frustrating than helpful for me sometimes, especially when I hit that place between hungry and angry, affectionately known as “hangry.” The functionality of the search is wonderful, and they’ve managed to hold on to the style and photography that initially attracted me to them.
Next on my list is Treehouse. I love the design and appreciate how the site breaks down and stacks on smaller screens. It’s very fluid and smooth—a hallmark of quality responsive design. The content is also very organized and flows down the page really well, making it easy to follow as you transition from one device to another.
CSS-TRICKS is a site I refer to on a regular basis. It’s full of articles and reference materials related to coding and design. I like the way the content is structured on the homepage. Everything is stacked in columns, and content pieces are color-coded according to their corresponding category (orange for blog posts, red for hot links, green for videos, etc.). This all transfers over as you move down to mobile. As a site user, I also appreciate the fact that the articles are clear and very easy for me to read on my iPhone. The eye-catching menu functionality is a design plus, and the way it collapses with the search on mobile is ridiculously clever.
Delicious is a site that lets you catalog your favorite links from around the web for easy reference. The design is clean and minimalist, and the site is easy to navigate through. Scrolling through my collection of saved links is easy on any device, and the loading animation at the bottom of my links list is a nice touch. In the mobile view, the header fits nice and snug, but it isn’t too cramped for my fingers.
I’ve always found Mailchimp to be a useful tool. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the design of the site, but then they had a major redesign a few years back that knocked my socks off. It was crazy that they were able to put so much useful and helpful information into the site AND make it look appealing at the same time. I felt spoiled by how my design tastes were catered to when sending out an email. It was a thing of beauty. Then, as I was sending out some client emails this past year, I discovered that the site had gone responsive, and it quickly went to top of my list of favorites. I can easily check to see how many opens I have for an email campaign or quickly add an email address on the road. Keep it up, guys and gals.
The Chalmers Center
A recent favorite of mine, and one that I had the pleasure of working on, is The Chalmers Center. It’s a pretty simple site with a clear message, but I just love the way their brand translated to the web, not to mention how smoothly the content and design break down from desktop to tablet to mobile. The site is full of videos and images, and all of this visual content translates seamlessly to smaller screen sizes without losing functionality or compromising load speed.
With more and more companies becoming aware of the necessity of responsive design, new responsive sites are launching every week. These sites are just a few of my favorites today, but I could easily add more to this list by tomorrow, and that’s awesome. As more sites go responsive, designers and developers are continuing to push the envelope and find new ways to innovate, and that’s one of my favorite things about my job. I’m constantly challenging myself to find creative ways to make our clients’ sites look sharp, even on the smallest of screens.