With the proliferation of mobile devices and more and more people accessing the internet on those devices, your website has to be ready for the different formats.
No doubt, you have heard about “responsive website themes” and may have wondered just what it means.
In a nutshell, it means that the design or theme adapts to different browser sizes (iPad, smart phone, etc) — so that instead of having to create a separate mobile site or mobile plugin, the content is automatically resized and rearranged to fit the smaller screens.
Now, if only it were that simple, right? Well, it is, depending on what you want your theme to accomplish when it is displayed on the smaller devices. If you are simply looking to mimic your site as it appears on a PC or Laptop, then most responsive themes will work for you.
However, if you are looking to give your readers a better experience which can lead to better conversions and other engagement, you might want to continue reading!
Let’s use this site as an example. I am rocking an earlier version of the Magazine Pro theme
If you reviewed this site on an iPad or smartphone, the content automatically resizes to fit onto the screen. However, the way the content appears is intentionally different from the way it appears on a desktop or laptop computer. (This theme drops in a link to switch to the “website” snapshot view if you prefer)
As a part of the maintenance of client sites, I make sure that all theme and plugin updates are installed in a timely manner. in recent months, I started noticing some changes in how some sites appeared on mobile devices after an upgrade. When I first saw this happening on several sites that I have created, I was perplexed and in a bit of a panic, as were many of my clients. However, what we soon realised is that a “truly responsive” theme, is not intended to mimic the way we view the site on a PC or laptop. Instead, it is intended to make viewing content on such small devices easier!
Think about it: usually, when someone is reading your content on a mobile device, it is because they have clicked on a link that takes them to specific content and, given the limited viewing space, being able to view the content without the need to enlarge or reformat etc. increases the likelihood that they will actually read it.
So, in my “expert” opinion, a good responsive theme is one that reformats your content to make reading it on the device more intuitive and not just a replication of your entire site.
Below are five sites that I created. The first three of them are using what I call “intuitive responsive” themes and the last two are using what I call “mimicking responsive” themes that limit the changes to simply providing somewhat of a snapshot view of the website.
Take a look to see the theory of creating a more mobile friendly experience in action and then check out your own site, to see if it is performing for maximum benefit. Remember to view each site on both your PC/Laptop then on your mobile device to see just how the responsive settings work for each.
- Danies Granny uses the Beautiful Pro Theme
- Little TeaBox uses the Enterprise Pro Theme
- Gina Storr uses the Executive Pro Theme
Here are two examples of themes that has responsive coding built in but, is limited to the idea of mimicking the site as it appears on a PC or Laptop, only resized to fit the mobile device in use.
After viewing all five of these sites on both your PC/Laptop and mobile device(s), you should have a clear picture of why a more “intuitive responsive” theme will serve you better.
NOTE: Like this site, all of the themes listed in this article are built on the Genesis Framework.
If you are using a responsive theme, either one that is intuitive or just mimics, please share it below so that we can have a look.
Thanks for reading. See you in the blogosphere!