Design, Web Development Blog, WordPress

5 things to check when purchasing a responsive WordPress theme

A while ago, I was asked to review a few responsive WordPress themes available on the market. There are a lot of responsive WordPress themes available and prices start from $20 to $200. But as I was reviewing them, I realised that there are a few features that you need to look for when deciding on which theme to purchase for your business.

1) Is the theme really responsive?
This may come as a surprise, but I have seen a few themes which claim to be responsive but they are actually not. A responsive theme mean the theme will work on any screen resolution and any device, not just on desktop and iPhone. A quick check can be done by resizing the browser window and seeing how it looks as you resize it on the fly.

2) Does the theme work without Javascript?
A lot of themes relies on Javascript but Javascript should not be compulsory for the theme to work. Although almost everyone is using smartphones and Javascript-enabled browsers, it should not be taken for granted. Always try viewing the theme with Javascript disabled and see how it looks like. If a few unimportant things are missing, it is ok but you should be able to view images, go to different pages and perform search (if there is any search engine) without Javascript.

3) How are images being handled?
This may sound a bit technical but it is important to check whether icons and images have a retina versions and whether they work on older browsers without canvas support. By older browsers, I don’t mean IE 6 but older versions of Firefox and IE 9 do not have full canvas support so it is worth viewing the theme on those browsers to make sure images are not broken. For the retina check, you can just view the theme on a smartphone/tablet with a retina display and see if the images are sharp enough.

4) How’s the functionality?
A good responsive theme does not only look good on multiple screens and devices, it also functions well. A few important things to check in terms of functionalities are if the touch areas are big enough, whether sliders and carousels be swiped, how does light box/ popups work on small devices, can you pinch and zoom, can you resize text sizes etc.

5) Styles for common HTML elements
This rule applies to all themes not just responsive themes. A theme may look nice on a demo but always make sure it has styles for common elements like ordered lists, unordered lists, visited links, blockquote, left aligned items, right aligned items, headings, input boxes, textareas and so on. Some of the better themes will even include extra CSS styles for things like columns, dialogs, rounded corners boxes which can be used as required on your site.

Some responsive themes that we like;
divi
Divi by Elegant Themes – most suited for Web Portals or Corporate Websites

valenti
Valenti from ThemeForest – most suited for Magazines or Blogs

mercury
Mercury from ThemeForest – most suited for App, Photography or Portfolio websites