What Are Responsive WordPress Themes and Are They Worth the Extra Effort?

WordPress themes can provide a quick shortcut to having an awesome looking website on both the front end (the side the visitor sees) and the back end (the site’s administrative interface). More recently, the field of responsive WordPress design has given WordPress users another valued shortcut, to having a site that is cross-platform compatible and able to adapt to a variety of devices and browser types.

Understanding Responsive Design in WordPress

In short, responsive design makes your website look good on every device, from smartphones to smart TVs. To give you a better understanding of what responsive WordPress themes are capable of, we’ve compiled a list of key features and advantages. A WordPress (WP) theme that has built-in responsive design can:

  • Detect what kind of web browser, device, and operating system the visitor is using, and then tailor the browsing experience to that their aspect ratio and settings.
  • Change the layout and font of pages to better fit each device. Responsive themes can essentially morph into a new situationally optimized theme that is perfectly adapted to the visitor’s browsing configuration.
  • Automatically reposition, reformat, and relocate practically all page elements, including headers, sidebars, share buttons, search bars, navigational bars.
  • Provide a better overall browsing experience and a more professional look for your site across all devices.

While the features of each responsive design theme will vary, the above points should give you a basic idea of what the term itself means and how it can benefit your site. However, keep in mind that all themes are not created equal, which is why it is imperative to only deal with a top responsive WP design company, whether you’re having your current theme converted into a responsive design theme or you’re looking for an entirely new custom solution.

Responsive Themes vs. Conventional Themes vs. Mobile-Optimized Themes

Nowadays people access the internet from a broad range of devices and browsers, with each user having a different field of view and aspect ratio. You’ve probably seen the “mobile versions” of websites that are condensed to look great while scrolling on a smartphone. Responsive themes are capable of adapting to not only mobile devices, they can also detect and cater to aspect ratio’s resolutions, and screen sizes, regardless of whether the visitor is accessing the site via a laptop, tablet, smart TV, or any other kind of device. Thus, responsive themes are by far the most flexible and robust of the three.

Is it Really Necessary Though?

The vast majority of internet users access the web via a combination of smartphones, desktops, laptops, and other devices like smart watches, smart TVs, PDAs, etc. While mobile internet use now exceeds desktop use (which makes a mobile version a bare necessity), as the “internet of everything” and “mobile first, cloud first” mentalities promoted by Microsoft, Google and other internet giants continue to progress into actual “things,” the importance of having your site look great on every device has never been more paramount.

This year there are a number of new wearables (including virtual reality devices) hitting the market, and Windows 10 is expected to incorporate responsive design features, which will make it a universal operating system that can run on everything from the newest Xbox console to a smartwatch. As consumers continue to broaden the array of devices they use to access the web, catering to that diverse usage is the only way to ensure that your site is continually bringing in optimal traffic and conversion levels.