Pros & Cons of Responsive Templates

When using any new technology there are generally a wide range of pros and cons. Hopefully we can elaborate on this with our post on the pros and cons of responsive website templates.

You may ask yourself why should I be using this form of template, well, there are a lot of reasons, not all good, but they overweigh those bad reasons.

One of the main factors why we all should start to use responsive templates is, that good old money factor, why, well lets see:

  • When you decide to develop a website the cost factor is probably top of the list, time as we all know costs money.

  • Designing a website for multiple devices means that not one design has to be created but multiple designs have to be mocked up. With a responsive design, you mock-up once and that's it.

  • A responsive template may, when bought, be initially somewhat more expensive, but in the long run it will probably be more cost effective as one design fits all.

  • The need to code up individual designs for multiple devices is not required with a responsive template that utilises media queries.

Other advantages of responsive templates:

  • From the SEO (search engine optimisation) point of view we don't need to create a duplicate (possibly stripped down) page for mobile devices.

  • From a user point of view, a responsive template used in a Smartphone or touch pad viewport is fully usable and in most cases easier to use than a scaled down version that the device produces.

  • Even if the user opens the template in a large screen, but doesn't have the browser fully open, the template adapts itself to the browser size, a horizontal scrollbar isn't apparent and the further the browser window is decreased in size the template responds as such.

  • When we build a website using responsive technology we create a website that is using the latest technology and simultaneously we future proof the website, who knows what is to come next in the world of web design

Some Disadvantages of Responsive Templates

The majority of disadvantages or cons of responsive designs / templates are generally technology related problems.

  • The development of a responsive template requires more technical know-how, more testing, which in turn means more time is required.

  • End-user technical training is possibly required if the website, where the template resides, is solely controlled and modified by the owner and not the development team.

  • The latest technology is used to develop a responsive template which means browser compatibility problems arise, support for HTML5 and CSS3 is still limited, be it a desktop browser or a mobile device browser.

  • The majority of responsive templates that solely used media queries and one HTML source code set-up can cause loading time problems on mobile devices, more specific, smartphones, due to the amount of calls to the server

  • Although responsive templates are built to respond to the viewport of a device some elements need to be removed from the viewport.

    Solely using media queries with one set of HTML source, we actually don't remove the elements in question, we hide them, meaning, videos etc. are still downloaded by the browser

  • Images are one of the major problems in responsive templates, not because of the way they can be modified to be viewed in the viewport, its because of their file size.

    Large images are simply scaled down visually, the image file size stays the same, which means loading time is longer.

  • The general functionality of a scaled down version of the template can be different to the original, as elements may have to be modified in a way that they are still usable and or need to be removed as thy can't be used correctly in a small viewport.

Conclusion:

At the end of the day, the decision has to be made by you, the end-user. If you want to future-proof your website using the latest greatest technology, but are aware that there are currently some downfalls, then great, go for it.

If you are not prepared to invest a little more into your online presence, then stick to the old way, which is in no means wrong - we at OS Templates still use fixed width templates for clients and personally, but we create responsive templates as well.

Some people say that when developing a responsive template we should develop for a mobile device first, and then go onto the desktop version. We don't agree at all, a well thought through design is suitable for small viewport devices as well as a desktop monitor.