Only had a scan through this thread but anybody suggesting that responsive design on the web could “just be a phase” .... please read a book
(Wouldn’t let me edit my post above)
Responsive design on the web is a natural movement – not a phase. As web designers/developers our job is to adapt to, and design for, the way in which people consume their content.
With the obvious mass consumption of content on mobile and tablet devices it’s our job to cater to that, and respond to that.
I think there are way too many authors in this community who create a false distinction between how you should approach client work and themes/templates for sale here. You should be approaching your theme design exactly as you would approach a client project – only with more empathy for how the masses consume their content as opposed to a client’s tailored user base.
I don’t disagree with there being a movement in that direction, however like many early versions of new web functionality/technology, I do not believe what we have seen in the last 6 months will be representative of a responsive designs in 5 years. As I said in my first comment, I understand the need for smaller versions for phones certain sites, but with that exception the creation of 5 different sizes of a design is not going to become a pseudo standard by any means. You can quote me on this one, responsive design as we know them today are a trend and will shake out to something completely different in the end. I know this for two reasons.
First, mobile devices are extremely good at rendering full size sites and use very powerful zooming features making it easy to scale to fit the screen. With the improvement of this technology and standardization of code (HTML5, etc.) it’s going to be increasingly less necessary for the design to adapt to your device. What I think we’ll see instead is the device adapting to the CONTENT … I’ll explain this more in a minute.
Second, when you change a site design to fit smaller screens the first thing that happens is you lose content. Sidebars and side navigation menus are dropped off and become “invisible” content, eventually most of the images disappear or become very small. Nobody wants this, not the site owner or the viewer. To account for this we will be forced to develop increasingly complex methods of displaying advertising and moving or re-positioning content in other areas as the site shrinks making it very difficult to design a good responsive site (by today’s description) and I don’t consider this to be sustainable. People want to see the site the way they are used to seeing it on their computer. This is a big factor.
Now, getting back to the device adapting to your content. With the introduction of HTML5 a developer has the ability to designate the importance and often of function of content in the current context. You can describe how content relates to other content by choosing the containers properly and this is a big deal. A smart device or browser is going to have the ability to interpret this and give the user interface controls for changing the display of the content directly on the device. If you want to shrink the design to a minified version to fit your screen you can activate the option to hide relevant content, or extra navigation elements, etc. I think the future is the device giving the viewer control rather then the design dictating presentation based on screen size. That will still exist but for very specific purposes where it is important to have full control over the presentation of the content for a specific reason.
In my mind with responsive websites if the work in not done properly you end up with a website that is not good for the desktop and not good for the mobile. I viewed a lot of responsive themes and they, for me, do not represent a proper mobile website. It will evolve at that point in the future, for now, i have to say that i like a mobile website to be diffrent from the main one for more reasons: loading big images for mobile still take a long time so with responsive you will load the same data, with responsive you limit your design, with responsive you do not get a proper mobile website, with responsive your content is not arranged properly with the mobile version, with responsive in some states of zoom the websites will look just misaligned. Maybe to give a response to this responsive craze we will make a mobile wordpress theme that we will attach to our future themes, because at the moment, from what i know, you will never ever get a proper website to look good with both screens. Sorry if i was not coherent but i am tired
Interesting discussion here 6 months ago. But today it is almost impossible to find new template that is not responsive.
So I was wondering what is your opinion today about responsive design, is it just a this year trend or it becomes standard that will stay for long time?