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.
My View: Full version (For viewing by typical computer) – Responsive (for viewing by smart devices that are not typical computers) – Separate Mobile site ( for viewing by legacy devices without much if any smarts )
I wouldn’t like responsive layouts either if significant functionality was removed. Simply don’t do this! It’s actually not as hard as you might think. Stop using Flash, Sliverlight, Quicktime, etc. This makes it a ton easier. This is exactly why I have disliked mobile versions (not responsive) of the past decade. I always opt out of poorly made / lacking sites if given a choice. Now that many mobile browsers provide this choice even if the site doesn’t, it’s less of an annoyance.
Whether responsive / not responsive, the “mobile website” can end up a trimmed down version in either case. This is the fault of the designer / developer. The desire of the visitor to want to use the “full version” is significantly lessened when you don’t gimp your mobile site regardless of a your approach.
Why? If the visitor discovers that there is no significant functionality loss and the device specific UX is better then they’ll likely actually prefer the responsive version. Sadly, there’s too many so called designers / developers making sites that give “responsive design” a bad name.
A well designed / developed responsive site takes often takes care of two groups: 1) Smartphone, Tablet and Console and other smart mobile device users and 2) Computer users. If you also would like to still cater to the “dumb” / “feature” phone users out there then you can do an old school “mobile” website.
So IMO , if you do this right then then you still end up with a maximum of 2 sites that covers almost everyone. If you don’t want to specifically cater to the dumb / feature phones then you only have to deal with the ONE responsive site.
Responsive is nothing but “cool”, but that’s it. I believe this is just a trend that won’t last long, I hope so.
You’re certainly welcome to your opinion. However, I consider this both wishful thinking and somewhat of a denial of reality. I use it because it solves my issues. When used wrong, it creates more problems than it solves. The many people that hope responsive design is just “fad” because if it isn’t, they’ll actually have to learn how to do it. LOL . Neither school of thought has been proven “more right” than the other yet so let’s just make great sites using whatever methodologies we want! :—)
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
A very nice reply man
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 agree with this statement completely, as both a buyer and a freelance developer. If you’re not going to put the time and care into responsive development, you should absolutely leave it off the table. If you do things well, and think of it from a usability standpoint, you shouldn’t need an opt-out version. If you have built your mobile layouts without thinking about more than making sure it looks cool when the buyer changes viewport dimensions, then you’re going to run into some trouble.
If the end user is unable to interact with EVERY element of your theme in every layout, then yes, you need an opt-out link. If you’ve made sure that there’s a useful, device-relevant version of every desktop interaction, then the end user won’t feel they need a link to the desktop version.
Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful post (and comments). I’ve enjoyed reading this thread