Responsive Web Design: The Gold Standard

tabletsConsidered to be a fad when introduced, Tablets are quickly replacing PCs and Tablet sales are likely to surpass PCs by 2015. Worldwide PC shipments are down 11 percent.  So, as Peter Cashmore predicted, 2013 is the year  responsive design has taken off and soared.

Responsive width means the layout adapts depending on the size of the device being used to view your site. When responsive width themes are viewed on mobiles sidebars appear below the posts in order to provide as much space as possible for reading.

If you have been following this blog you will be aware that I have been attempting to accommodate mobile and tablet users. To that end I have been trying out all free responsive width themes available at WordPress.com since they began to be introduced.

I’m currently using Expound and it has become my first choice with Twenty Eleven in second place. Here are some of my related posts:

Twenty Fourteen: Going Further
WordPress.com Theme Choice: Twenty Eleven
Searching for the perfect WordPress.com theme
Mobile Friendly Theme or Responsive Width Theme?
Is Your Blog Mobile Compatible?

responsive theme Expound

In this article I’m presenting memorable quotes from experts on responsive web design.

Pater Cashmore of Mashable in Why 2013 Is the Year of Responsive Web Design

Given the rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones — and the fact that users currently seem to prefer reading their news on the mobile web rather than in apps — I think it’s inevitable that 2013 will be the year that responsive design takes off.

Joshua Steimle of Forbes in Why Your Business Needs A Responsive Website Before 2014

The future is mobile, as we see people increasingly favoring their mobile devices over desktop computers. Nielsen says that over 60% of all mobile phone owners in the US use a smartphone.  A recent study by Walker Sands Digital showed mobile traffic to its client base increasing by 171 since Q3 2011. Statista says that 5 billion people will use mobile phones by 2017. Making your website responsive is a small price to pay to reach all these people.

Jonathan Hassell of CIO in Why Responsive Web Design Is Here to Stay

From smartphones to mini-tablets to regular-size tablets, a significant and growing portion of Web consumption is happening on devices on the go. You and your developers can no longer assume that your sites are being used on a full-screen desktop PC and develop mobile sites as an afterthought.

Marcelo Ballve of Business Insider in Here’s Why Responsive Design Is The Most-Recommended Mobile Web Strategy, And Why It’s Not Perfect

Responsive designs is now the gold standard: This dominance was cemented in mid-2012 when Google recommended responsive design as the best strategy for smartphone-optimized websites. But it’s not perfect: As with most technologies in a multi-device world, it has disadvantages, and it’s not right for every business, or every application.

SEO and Responsive design

Matt Cutts of Google answers the question:

Does a site leveraging responsive design “lose” any SEO benefit compared to a more traditional m. site?

“Whenever you have a site that can work well for regular browsers on the desktop as well as mobile phones, there’s a couple completely valid ways to do it. One is called responsive design, and responsive design just means that the page works totally fine whether you access that URL with a desktop browser or whether you access that URL with a mobile browser. Things will rescale, you know, the page size will be taken into account, and everything works fine. Another way to do it is, depending on the user agent that’s coming, you could do a redirect so that a mobile phone – a mobile smartphone, for example – might get redirected to a mobile dot version of your page, and that’s totally fine as well.”

Discussion

Are you a desktop or laptop computer user?

Are you a mobile or tablet computer user?

Has the tablet and mobile explosion prompted you to try using responsive width themes on your blog?

42 thoughts on “Responsive Web Design: The Gold Standard

  1. nice post timethief…I used laptop and smartphone for doing blogging activity …design are main role for attract people to your site. and your eye comfort with best design for working…

  2. I only visit WP and the reader via my iMac. I will sometimes visit sites with my iPad but I do not log into WP on my iPad. I never visit sites I follow on a smart phone.

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for weighing in here. I do apologize for the delayed response. Please feel free to let me know if the display on my blogs is not good for you in any specific device. I want to make sure my blog is accessible to everyone no matter what they are using.

      1. Problem in wordpress com is not have many blog skin premium or template premium for free,but for traffic on wordpress com is okay :) i always believe in a our personal site or blog is an Art Creation,our post or paper,some ads and widget,whole is part of our blog (should to match),for example like a Great Rock N Roll Album :) I loves some unique theme for a blog and seriously also,however i wish SEO loved my blog too :)

  3. I’m someone who uses a desktop, smartphone and tablet. I’m all for responsive design but I think many people miss the point of it.

    A desktop layout is not an optimized layout for visitors on mobile devices. Responsive design is a way to provide a more optimized user experience for mobile users – they don’t have to pinch, zoom and scroll as much.

    However, most responsive sites are just as heavy as non-responsive sites. This means the mobile user still needs to download all the images, code for sliders, ads, etc on their slow and expensive data connection to view the site. They may not have to pinch and zoom as much but the site may be slow to load and cause browser instability because of Javascript and other code meant for desktops. Still not a very optimized experience.

    If your site contains lots of heavy content I personally think that using the Mobile Theme is a better alternative to provide an optimized mobile experience. Matt Cutts whom you quoted above says it works just as well for SEO too.

    1. Yes we can choose to either use a responsive width theme and disable the mobile theme here > Appearance > Mobile
      Or we can use any other theme and enable the mobile theme.

  4. [ Smiles ] As a matter of fact, I use all four mediums; however, I enjoy the experience more on the laptop and the desktop.

  5. I live and blog on continent, Africa, where proportionately more of its people access the internet on mobile device than those in other parts of the world. I’ve been paying attention to the responsive design issues. I currently use Yoko but I think it’s large font is a problem. I like how Expound looks on tablets and smartphones. Might switch later in the month. Thanks for all you do in pushing us to consider responsive designs.

  6. I actually don’t like tablets ..I’m just more efficient churning out my thoughts with a real keyboard instead of pecking at a tablet keyboard. I have no interest dragging around a keyboard to accommodate mobile use of a computer.

    I guess I just haven’t gotten into it yet. I have a work laptop perpetually in my docking station at work but have never taken it home. I see very little point of dragging extra weight just for me to do a draft work Word document at home. I might as well email to work.

    1. Hi Jean,
      I hear you. Emailing is far easier than packing around anything at all. And sitting in front of a desktop monitor with a full-sized keyboard encourages me to write in a way that smaller screens and keyboards don’t.

  7. I use a laptop but miss the larger screen and ergonomics of a desktop. I’m wishing and hoping to upgrade to an iMac desktop with a large screen soon. I also have tried Nook, Kindle Fire, and iPad mini. The Nook is OK for reading books. I had technical problems with the Kindle Fire, but suspect the Kindle Paperwhite is great for reading books. The iPad mini is pretty good all around, but I don’t want to use something that small for any serious blogging or photo editing. I thought I’d convert quickly to eBooks and eReaders, but find I really prefer reading books and newspapers.

    I’ve tried quite a few WordPress themes. Currently using the responsive Twenty-Thirteen for my main blog and like it a lot. It has all the up-to-date features and a simple look.

    Regarding responsive theme or not, I guess it’s impossible to know what the Web and blogosphere will look like a year hence. However, my own feeling is that I will prefer a full-featured Mac desktop for most everything I do. I’m mostly a writer, and I believe in Stephen King’s advice to have a set place for writing, in a room with a door that closes, and preferably in a corner of that room. I’m inclined to think that few people will be reading longform or looking at good art on a cellphone screen. I’m thinking that people like me, who like to do serious reading and writing and photography, will stick with a full-size desktop or large laptop. And probably e-readers for books. So maybe “responsive” is not as important as we thought.

    Again, as a WordAds user, I’m unclear what the implications of responsive are for advertising.

    1. Hi there,
      Wow! You have an amazing range of experience with many devices. I do agree that those who are into reading longform essays will probably continue to prefer desk tops for reading them on. The smaller devices are more suited to the blog on the go style of posting – post an image, post a video, post a quote – micro-blogging and that’s where the growth is. Hence the responsive design and post formats for for themes is where the focus is.

  8. I use a laptop and still chafe at the smaller screen (compared to my desktop). I’ve no need for a tablet, and my smartphone is reserved almost exclusively for emergencies. I’m aware of the trend to responsive designs, but I’ve seen some ghastly ones. I won’t be going that route unless I find a responsive theme that I like better than my current one.

  9. Laptop and mobile user (using old smartphone and not about to upgrade anytime soon) doing best to function on the principle there is a time and a place for everything which for me involves turning everything off and settling down with a good book, newspaper, you name it!

    1. Hi there,
      Like you I seek to live a balanced life and that includes reading hard copy. I have a Kindle but still read books, magazines and newspapers too..

  10. I am both a desktop user and a tablet user. Though I started using responsive themes before I owned a tablet, I am glad that I did so. I started with fixed themes– Misty Look, Chateau, and then the default Twenty Ten. After that, I started looking into the Responsive themes. I tried Twenty Eleven and Twenty Twelve, and while I used Twenty Eleven for a decent amount of time, I was never really happy with it. It was a step forward, but didn’t have all of the functions I wanted. After trying Twenty Twelve for a short while, I went back to the tried-and-true Twenty Ten.

    When Twenty Thirteen came out, finally, there was a theme that had everything I wanted–simplicity, ease of reading, features I wanted, and responsive layout. I switched to Twenty Thirteen as soon as I found it and have never looked back. It looks and works great on both my desktop and tablet–giving my readers good options for viewing on whatever devices they choose to use.

    1. Hi Ken
      Welcome and thanks for your comment. You went through all the themes I went through too. Twenty Thirteen has a variety of nice features and it’s responsive design so that’s a plus. Best wishes with your blog.

  11. I have yet to find a compelling reason to sign up to a monthly fee for a smart phone. It’s bad enough switching to the MacBook when I travel. Giving up the 27″ iMac screen and keyboard seems like way too much sacrifice for instant gratification. Having said that, it’s nice to know that folks can access my images on whatever device they choose to use. :D

    1. Hi there,
      I’m on the same page. There is no compelling reason for me to create a service charge for running a smartphone either. On the opposite end of the scale, a 27″ monitor sounds HUGE to me. The bottom line is what you point to ie. making our content accessible to all visitors no matter what device they choose to display it on.

      1. :D And to think I made the switch to the 27″ screen just recently from a 13″ laptop! It was a bit of an adjustment, but I love it. I actually hesitated over going to such a huge screen, but couldn’t get the graphics upgrades without it. Then again it allowed me to dump the flatscreen TV and cable and now do my TV watching (extremely limited) on the iMac by streaming online. A pretty nice switch in my opinion. It’s kind of cool how we have more choices to tailor to our needs or preferences these days.

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