If you’re building a website in WordPress, then you probably already know that you need a responsive layout: one that responds to a user’s behavior based on screen size, platform, and orientation.
Why, exactly? Well, over the last few years your audience has shifted, and they will continue to change in the years to come. No matter what specific industry you’re in, you will eventually be faced with an influx of digital users between the ages of 18 and 34, also known as Millennials.
In fact, they account for more than 80 million Internet users in the United States alone, with around 60 million of those users accessing the web from their mobile phones.
Basically, your new audience is not only technologically savvier than their predecessors, but more demanding when it comes to online experience. They want fast loading sites accessible 24-7 on any device. And your website needs to keep pace.
Responsive Isn’t Just About Mobile
The beauty of responsive design lies in its inherent flexibility – it’s designed on a grid system that can reshape to any screen size, making it perfect for mobile viewing. But designing a site simply to look good on mobile doesn’t mean you’re creating a “responsive” design.
Responsive design isn’t only about adjusting screen sizes, however. After all, there have been more than 400 different mobile devices sold since 2005, and many of them have varying screen sizes, which is why it’s less important to have a broader view of responsive design.
What you really need is to think of your site in terms of pure flexibility. A few years ago, “flexible layouts” only incorporated structural elements like columns and text. Images and other elements could easily break layouts, so mobile sites would often be pared down to the bare bones of text-only design. They would lose visual appeal in order to remain “readable.” In essence, flexible didn’t really mean flexible.
Nowadays, however, images can be automatically adjusted and grid-layouts that are considered truly flexible for mobile viewing enable users to not only switch from portrait to landscape, but resize at will for use on a computer screen, tablet, or smartphone.
So what’s the easiest way to ensure your site is truly flexible? If you’re using WordPress, you’re in luck, because they already have responsive themes.
(Truly) Responsive WordPress Themes
Keep in mind that not every WordPress theme is truly responsive, even if it claims to be. Remember that a responsive design is not one that’s simply viewable on mobile devices, but one that can really reshape to any screen size, large or small, without losing visual appeal. A truly responsive site will look just as good on a tiny iPhone screen as it does being viewed on a large HD screen.
Here are a few of the top truly responsive themes (both free and premium) that you should consider when designing your WordPress site.
SociallyViral is one of the fastest WordPress themes on the market, which is extremely important when it comes to targeting a younger audience. It was built with navigation in mind to help increase traffic and reduce loading times. If your site is content heavy but you don’t want to sacrifice speed or SEO ranking, then this theme will help on both accounts without losing any visual appeal.
Shapely is a FREE theme, and it’s fairly popular for a reason. Despite being a one-page design – which makes it ideal for any professional, portfolio, or business website – it is surprisingly flexible and is compatible with most WordPress plugins, making it a great choice for a starter site.
ColorLib’s Sparkling theme incorporates a modern design based on the latest Bootstrap technology. It not only looks amazing on any mobile devices due to its sharp design and fluid layout, but also comes with a variety of other premium features such as a full-screen slider to enhance photos and other graphics.
Unite is an incredibly minimalistic (and incredibly free) and powerful responsive layout perfect for any industry. It makes full use of Bootstrap 3 technology and allows you to customize nearly any aspect of the design with ease, meaning greater flexibility to build the site you’ve always wanted.
SEOWP’s design fits any type of business, so if you need to include certain design elements outside of the norm, this is a great theme to try out. It offers a full-width animated slider, unlimited header styles, an SEO ready interface and is optimized for speed.
Enigma is not only mobile ready but also has great flexibility when it comes to browsers, which is not true of every WordPress theme. Content and images can be viewed on high-resolution retina displays, and while the layout isn’t quite as design-friendly as other themes, it does come with widgets and footer options to help customize its look and feel.
Zerif Lite is a clean and modern one-page theme that works well for web agencies, corporate sites, and sites running an e-commerce or subscription platform. It’s optimized to support many popular WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce and WPML to create a multilingual (and highly responsive) user experience. Again, it’s totally free.
If you’re looking for another fast site with a large amount of creative control over appearance, Avada is the perfect multipurpose solution. It features a drag-and-drop Fusion builder, intuitive tools, shortcode generators, and, best of all, it’s fast and fully responsive.
This (FREE) theme has a 5 out of 5 star rating and has been downloaded over 30,000 times, making it one of the more popular and high quality themes you can find on the market today. Auberge is built almost entirely with mobile in mind, ensuring that mobile users experience the same visual appeal as users on other platforms. Plus, it’s easy on new programmers and developers.