If you are run an eCommerce business or depend on mobile traffic for your business, you’ve probably been hammered the benefits of responsive design into your head one too many times. If you tried to convert your site into a responsive one or have at least experimented with it, then you know that it’s easier said than done. The concept of a responsive website makes sense, but using a responsive website will not guarantee you an increase in sales or traffic if it’s not implemented correctly.

The reason why is because responsive requires great UI design to work well. Without great UI, your new responsive site may perform even worse than its previous incarnation. That means that investing in responsive design requires that you also invest in great design. It’s not a simple matter of using an online tool or software that instantly converts your website into a responsive format. You need to work with a designer that understands UI design in a responsive format.

With that said, what are some of the elements that you need to focus on? The first is a clean layout that’s easy to use and understand. You want the users to be able to scan your website to quickly consume your content and find what they are looking for. Many well designed responsive sites use a grid system to set up columns to organize their content and organize their layout in a user-friendly manner.

The second UI element that needs attention is the navigation menu. Commercial websites often have challenges with this part of the UI design. That’s because they have a large amount of category and individual product pages. Trying to integrate the navigation in the same manner that it’s done for a desktop is a recipe for disaster. There needs to be a lot of work done to make sure that the navigation doesn’t detract from the user experience, is organized and intuitive, and keeps the user aware in control of where they are and where they want to go.

The third UI element to work on is the actual text and graphics. It’s not a good idea to assume that your typography will scale with the responsive format. In many cases they will, but you’ll find that there are always instances where the text gets skewed due to the changed scale. You have also have to test for readability because certain fonts and sizes may display swimmingly in the desktop format, but may prove to be a challenging read for the users.

The fourth UI element is one that isn’t so apparent. This element is not for your users but for yourself in that the UI will affect your web conversions. A good example is if you have a clickable horizontal multi-image slideshow in the top fold of your website for your desktop version of your site, that slideshow will have to be converted to a vertical format for mobile phones (due to the limited screen real estate). But this translation can negatively impact your sale conversions as it pushes the rest of your content towards the bottom. You’ll come across many of these design “fork in the roads” and make adjustments according to your goals.

As you can see, responsive design while rewarding, requires an extensive amount of effort to optimize the UI. Many website owners never factor these elements into the equation when making the jump and end up hurting the performance of their websites. So make sure that you’re aware of all the adjustments you need to make to ensure your responsive site performs the way it’s supposed to. It’s a wise decision to hire the services of an professional and experienced UI/UX firm that has worked with a wide variety of responsive sites.