Responsive themes – great user experience

You probably wonder what a responsive theme is. You see this word used for many template releases, and many developers are trying to keep up with the latest approaches in web development.  A website is described as “responsive” if it can smoothly function with many display sizes, platforms and screen resolutions, no matter whether the device is a tablet, a computer or a smartphone. In a responsive theme, load time, readability and navigation are highly optimized for each platform  you may use.  Since WordPress is one of the most used platforms, it has many great responsive themes.

Why going responsive?

While you navigate through a responsive design, you will notice that the page layout shifts easily, depending on the screen size, and different layouts are provided for each type of content. Many templates allow users to view the same look regardless of the device they are using to view the website. The best solution to achieve responsive design is to use CSS media queries, which will access various CSS files depending on the available resolution.

responsive schema

Right now, if you stumble onto a WordPress.Org website while looking for responsive themes, you will find only 74 results. If you came across the ThemeForest website, though, you would find almost 300 responsive WordPress themes. Be careful when deciding which template to use because there are some factors you will need to consider before going “responsive“:

  • Does the website really needs a responsive layout?

In 99% of the cases, the answer will be “yes.”  Still, even if smartphones are widely increasing in the number of users, not all websites should follow the trend. If you use complex tables, calendars, high quality images or if the navigation is complicated, the benefit of the responsive design could be canceled.

  • What you should not display on a mobile page

First of all, multiple columns bring with them a lot of information, but using a mobile design will make this feature difficult to manage. If the secondary columns have unnecessary content, where should you hide it? If it is important, how should it be resized? Think about this before choosing your theme.

  • How are the formatting and the layout affected?

Choosing which elements the users should see first will affect how the layout matches the screen size. For example, heading fonts on a widescreen template can be at least 3 times larger than the body text. Imagine, though, how these large headings would be displayed on a tiny screen. They would not be really effective.
You must go beyond the theme because going “responsive” does not mean that the mobile user’s experience will be improved. When you develop websites for mobile devices, you are not only cutting content for the best fit. You also need to plan each detail with maximum attention. A responsive theme means more than making a site look nice on various screens; it also needs to make the website faster, easier to use, and focused on the most important information.
So what is your choice? Will you go “responsive“?