Warning: Before using YouResponsive.com please read Crystal’s comment. YouResponsive.com might not be as above board as I thought they were.
Thanks to YouResponsive.com I’ve made my blog responsive. According to Webster’s Dictionary, responsive means “reacting in a desired or positive way, or quick to react or respond.” Back in the day, prior to the increase in computer and internet use, responsive was attributed to living things like people, animals and even plants. Now, responsive is a computer characteristic. Don’t you just hate it when you go to save a document and you get the little warning “XYZ program is not responding.”
Internet Before Responsiveness
When I first started playing around with developing websites and later blogs, I didn’t worry too much about how my sites rendered on the various screens. Back then the only devices I had to concern myself with were desktop computers. The big challenge was how the site looked in Internet Explorer vs Netscape (man, what a blast from the past…Netscape).
Over time as technology developed, there came larger computer screens, small and portable laptops, smaller notebooks, even smaller tablets and smaller yet, mobile phones. Heck, now there are even mobile watches (my aging eyes will have to leave the watches to younger folks) .With all the various and assorted screen sizes, it’s impossible to re-code each blog to display properly on both a large desktop screen and the small mobile watch screen.
Fortunately, we bloggers don’t have to re-code a thing. The brilliant, geeky computer programmers who develop blog infrastructures and blog themes have made it easy for us blogger types. All we need to do is use a blog theme that is “responsive.” Responsive themes automatically re-size for proper viewing no matter the screen size.
Responsive Theme isn’t the End All
Once you’ve selected a responsive theme, you’re not done. Responsive themes set up the basics, but there are still tweaks you’ll have to perform along the way. Let’s take No Job for Mom for example. I’m using Solostream’s responsive theme WP-Clear (affiliate link). To that theme I’ve added images, AdSense code, plugins and the like. I thought my site was responsive until YouResponsive.com told me otherwise.
YouResponsive.com is free and it checks websites/blogs for mobile compatibility. All you have to do is visit the site and insert the web address of the site for which you’d like to check. YouResponsive.com will display samples of how site would appear on an iPhone, small Android, Nexus and iPad. It also gives feedback as to the site’s shortcomings from a responsive point of view.
The problem I had with NJFM and my other blogs was the horizontal scroll. There were items in my site that did not re-size in accordance with the screen thus causing the reader to scroll right or left. Scrolling vertically is expected, but horizontal scrolling is a no-no. There were two items that caused the horizontal scroll. One was inappropriately sized Google AdSense ad and the other was the page numbering plugin I used (pagenavi).
Resolving My “Bad Scroll” Problem
- I removed the offending AdSense ads. I wasn’t making much from them anyway, so might as well get rid of them.
- I modified the number of pages pagenavi displayed. People are smart enough to know how to navigate to successive pages.
By making those simple changes, I eliminated the need to scroll horizontally on mobile devices. Although, there appears to be a glitch with the YouResponsive.com site when rendering NJFM that triggers a Bad Horizontal Scroll notification (see if you can find it).
How Important is it to be Mobile Friendly?
My sites don’t get very much traffic, but the majority of the traffic they do get comes from mobile devices. That didn’t mean too much to me until recently when I attempted to visit the non-mobile friendly site of a new restaurant in my area. The site was so unfriendly that I had to go to my PC in order to access the dinner menu. If I were out and about without the luxury of having my PC handy, I would have chosen a different restaurant with a mobile friendly site.
The restaurant turned to be a wonderful find. It was worth the annoyance of accessing it via my PC. However, I felt obligated to inform the owner about his website’s incompatibility with modern technology. Hopefully he’ll make some changes in the near future.