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MDNW says

Hey everyone! Responsive theme-author here, and I have a question for the community.

It occurs to me that most of us don’t take the time anymore to actually ask users whether or not they want a responsive site experience... And with something like 99.999% of theme releases here advertising “responsive” as their key feature, have we reached a point where we’ve gone too far? Aside from all of the technical magic and theoretical awesomeness of a device-centric user experience, are we releasing responsive templates now just because we can?

Relevant link: http://css-tricks.com/user-opt-out-responsive-design/

Food for thought: By “users” I’m referring to actual site visitors… which I understand is a bit removed from theme authors who sell directly to designers/developers in most cases. In my opinion they are irrelevant because I strongly suspect we’ve got an “Emperor’s New Clothes” situation going on here at ThemeForest. I just posted a poll on my FaceBook feed though and universally, my non-designer friends/family all expressed extreme frustration with these new “mobile” site versions… which is how they perceive responsive sites.

What are your thoughts? Is it time to bring back some good old standard websites that don’t change every time you see them on a different screen?.. or is responsive really improving the experience of the web for ordinary viewers?

At the very least, should there be an opt-out feature for responsive themes?

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cosmincotor says

I really hate it when I visit a website and I’m taken to a mobile version. There should be a link so you can visit the regular website, if you choose to, or turn off the responsive madness.

In most cases a responsive website is actually useful, but there are cases where, personally, I’d like to see the entire site.

Just my opinion :P

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dnp_theme says

I think it’s a great idea as a NEW feature for the responsive designs. I mean some tablets or pads are even more powerful and big enough to render a 960px+ width website.

Only small devices really need a mobile ready layout with less animations or flash for instance.

I think responsive design have taken too high standards here on Themeforest.

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StevenGliebe says

I hadn’t thought of this, seeing responsive design as the way of the future and all. I suppose it would not hurt to give the site visitor an option to switch to the original view (rather than it being a site owner / theme options thing). Certain elements such as dropdown menus would still need to be touch-friendly, though.

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jonathan01 says

Great points Brandon, here’s my take on it.

We took some time on our end as a seller to introduce responsiveness in our themes and templates – the deciding factor was indeed, as you state, more of a pressure to “keep up” with the rest of the clan.

I have read so many articles for and against responsive design, in the end we just “had to go with it” – we took the final plunge after we were receiving endless comments asking “is it responsive” – “will buy if you release a responsive version” – “awesome theme but not responsive therefore no good” (yes actually had that).

So the question as a seller really has to go to the buyer – why do you want / need responsive – have you actually asked your client, what about their usage stats are mobile / tablet devices really a large proportion of current users. Obviously on top of that most people want to think that when they get a website overhaul or new site that it is “future proof” – we all know that’s impossible, but we can ensure we are planning for the immediate future as we should because we are the “experts” hired to do the job and we have to make sure we do it professionally with clients interest paramount. With this in mind there are many stats and predictions out there that say mobile / tablet usage will be huge (in some cases overtaking desktop) so shouldn’t we be making sure our end users have the tools for these devices?

It’s a hard thing to ask and get a straight answer for but a worthy topic that I will enjoy reading further responses to for sure.

Jonathan

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Bebel says

I don’t like responsive layouts personally. We added it to our newest theme because users were asking for it. In my opinion a website looks still great when it’s not responsive and if you really need/want a mobile friendly site – you should get a “real” mobile site instead a trimmed down version…

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MDNW says

Interesting… I wonder if it’s safe to say that there’s actually a lot of us authors that are releasing responsive templates simply because we feel forced into it (or risk being left behind)?

I know that I began releasing them last year because it was, frankly, just another fun challenge to work into my themes… but now that it’s been over a year since my first responsive theme, I’m beginning to question whether it’s been as valuable to buyers as I would have once thought.

What would it take to legitimately convince buyers that responsive isn’t always the best path forward?

Either way, I’m officially going to work up an update for my themes that offers a non-obtrusive opt-out feature. I think that’s probably the best way to go in terms of allowing users to decide for themselves.

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UBLThemes says

unfortunately i cant stop doing responsive.

You state your friends etc on your social site mostly like none responsive, but every client tell me its a must, they must have it… I tell them its not as good as you think, they say, not true its a must have these days.

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BryanMcAnulty says

I do not believe there should be an opt-out feature for responsive themes.

The purpose of the site being responsive is to improve the experience across devices. If the user feels frustrated or feels like something is missing and wants to switch out of the responsive version of a site, then I would argue that the designer has not done their job well.

For example: if the user feels that a feature is missing from the responsive version, the designer shouldn’t have removed it. If the user wants to pinch or zoom in on text, then the designer hasn’t sized the typography properly.

I do understand what you are saying though. My belief is that designing better responsive sites is the answer. If the user wants to opt-out then the designer has failed to create a successful responsive design.

Don’t get me wrong though. Just a couple years ago when we had separate mobile sites the experiences were for the most part horrible. I almost always wanted to switch to the full site. Responsive designs today however, I find myself appreciating for the most part.

Some designers are lazy when it comes to responsive design. They quickly adjust the desktop version of their site to fit an iPad or iPhone and think they are finished, just to add it as a “feature”. Good responsive design requires careful planning and should not be an afterthought.

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MonkeeThemes says

I believe responsive is not a issue itself but more the way it has been integrated. A good responsive approach shouldn’t be removing/hiding content that you could find on the desktop version for the sake of been mobile but should simply display the same content flawlessly for smaller screen and keeping the content easy to find.

I would happily stay on a mobile version on my phone rather that the desktop if it has been well thought.

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