What is Responsive Web Design? Why Do I Care?
What is Responsive Web Design and Why Should I Care?
As a certified webmaster and SEO consultant, I'm often approached about requests for a responsive web design. Believe it or not, about 50% of these peeps have no idea what this is, so I thought I would provide an explanation and clarification on the term "Responsive".
What Is Responsive Web Design
re·spon·sive rəˈspänsiv/ adjective
"a flexible service that is responsive to changing social and economic patterns"
"several consumers said the company hadn't been responsive totheir needs"
According to Wikipedia:
"Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones)"
Basically, this is an "adaptive" web design that allows your website to look pretty on all hardware platforms: Desktop, SmartPhone, Tablets and so on:
A little history.....
I began building websites back when we had to handcode EVERYTHING!
Slowly, website builders like Hotdog and MS FrontPage became available and made things sooooo much easier. Wow, an Interface for creating a website. No more handcoding every little thing.
But, still there were no such things as smartphones or tablets yet. So, all websites and themes were developed as "Fixed Width" or a few standard width options for multiple type desktop monitors.
Many websites are still built fixed-width - as are many themes.
Why do I Want a Responsive Website or Theme?
By the year 2008 there were about 400 Million portable device (phones) users accessing the Internet. In the next few years this grew to beyone 1400 Million and by the year 2015, mobile (phone and tablet) users accessing the Internet jumped above and EXCEEDED desktop users by 200 Million and it's still climbing.
Thereby, if you're not using a Responsive theme or website design, you're giving up a bunch of traffic. The presentation of a fixed-width website on a mobile phone is horrible!
Now, don't let this freak you out. :-)
It's just something to seriously consider when building your websites and choosing a new theme down the road. I have switched themes a lot and am always looking for two main aspects of a theme, responsive and page load speed. (Also, consider built in social icons so that you don't need to load an extra plugin - this reduces server requests and can make a huge difference on speed).
Update: How to Find and Select a Responsive Theme in WordPress
When you go to your WordPress dashboard and go to search new themes add a filter for "Responsive".
It's one of the check box options:
I have noticed though that some themes are starting to say "mobile friendly" and not "responsive". You can't filter these ones unfortunately. You'll have to check the descriptions.
I hope this wee blog was helpful!