1. Miroslav Glavic

    Can’t you just use WPTouch, the JetPack mobile theme componet or other plugins?


    • Derek

      I only use mobile responsive themes and if I find an issue with it I report it to the creator. Although I have never used any themes on wordpress.org so I am unfamiliar with all this talk going on right now.

      For the newbie bloggers or bloggers who just want a theme to do there thing, they just pick the theme that they personally like and chances are have no clue what the term mobile responsive means.

      If WordPress can do the dirty work and require all theme’s submitted to pass a mobile responsive test, that would be awesome. Perhaps some developers need more learning to do on creating a mobile responsive theme.

      Is there any documentation on WordPress.org how to create a basic mobile responsive theme or convert a theme to mobile responsive using the correct coding?

      You have to think about the bloggers who have no clue and just want a theme to begin there blogging journey. ”

      I am a big fan of never ever using any plugin to make a theme mobile responsive. Less plugins the better on a blog.


  2. Andre

    Actually….responsive design should be a standard for any WordPress theme, even if it’s not a theme on the .org site. So I definitely agree with Matt on this one.


  3. Marcus Tibesar

    It’s about time. Way overdue.


  4. Justin Tadlock

    It’s my understanding that themes that haven’t been updated in two years don’t appear in search results. Many of these old themes won’t have the tag anyway. Additionally, there are themes without the tag that are responsive.

    As for requiring all themes to be responsive, I could see that happening in the future as our automated tools get better.


  5. Morten Rand-Hendriksen

    Matt missed a great opportunity to include accessibility in the requirements list in this interview. Brian gave him every opportunity. Lots of raised eyebrows and shaking heads in the audience. While a requirement t for responsive is a good idea, there are fringe cases where responsive is not the right solution. Accessibility on the other hand, should always be required, no exceptions.


    • Ron

      Couldn’t disagree more. Accessibility should be up to the individual site owner. Period.


      • Morten Rand-Hendriksen

        If you offer a theme in the Theme Directory that is not accessible, that choice is taken away from the site owner. Your stance assumes every site owner knows how to vet a theme for accessibility. Our job as theme developers is to build solutions that “just work”. Putting the onus on WordPress users to be accessibility experts goes against the very premise of what WordPress is supposed to be: An application that democratizes publishing on the web. A site powered by an inaccessible theme is a site that restricts access to only certain users.


    • Miroslav Glavic

      Not that I disagree with you but Accessibility laws differ in each country.

      Which “accessibility standards” do we use?


    • Justin Tadlock

      Multiple TRT admins are against the idea of requiring all themes to meet the TRT accessibility guidelines. And, honestly, I’m not totally in favor of requiring all themes to be responsive (even though I could see that being a requirement at some point because of demand).

      I think the better approach in both cases is more education and incentive for theme authors to make changes. We’ve seen a natural trend of themes becoming responsive simply because of user demand. If theme authors want to have actual users, they’ll build responsive themes. If they want good reviews, they’ll build responsive themes. If they want to upsell their “pro” version, they’ll build responsive themes.

      Users aren’t demanding accessibility-ready themes at high numbers. They’re not down-rating themes that aren’t accessibility-ready. What’s the incentive for theme authors here? A guideline that unnecessarily makes the barrier to entry even higher is not a good enough incentive.

      You know I’m in favor having more themes meet accessibility standards. Making it a requirement is not the right approach.

      One of the ideas we sometimes pitch around is finding ways to promote the good themes. We need ways of featuring the best themes that are doing things like handling RTL languages, meeting accessibility guidelines, and adapting to any device. If I were doing this myself, I’d put a new theme every month at the top of the featured list that met all of the standards we think make it one of the best themes available. Accessibility-ready could absolutely be one of those standards.

      Promote the good stuff. Provide incentives for others to do better.


      • Morten Rand-Hendriksen

        People aren’t demanding accessibility-ready themes because they are not aware of the importance of accessibility. The onus is on us – the people who build the web – to educate the people who use it on the need for accessibility, and to provide fully accessible solutions.

        As for making accessibility a requirement being the wrong approach, you should have a chat with the EU. Or the US government. Or the Canadian government. Or any of the other governments around the world who are now legislating accessibility as a core requirement for websites. That’s the incentive: Without accessibility in themes, WordPress will rapidly become problematic for the end-user.


        • Justin Tadlock

          If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years when making requirements for the theme directory, it’s knowing how well a new guideline will go over with theme authors. I can flat out tell you that requiring all themes to meet the accessibility guidelines at this time will be detrimental to the entire process. We’re simply not there yet. I wish we were, but we aren’t.

          You and others passionate about accessibility could meet the TRT halfway. Many of us are not open to making the guidelines a full-on requirement at the moment, but I’m sure we’d be open to promoting these types of themes in some way. We’d probably be open to requiring certain aspects of the guidelines (e.g., theme must style the .screen-reader-text class). How about some accessibility classes via #themereview on Slack (I’d love to attend)? How about a weekly accessibility tutorial on the Make Themes blog?


        • Laura

          While I agree that theme developers need to make sure their themes are accessible; accessibility is not just about a theme!

          For example – a user with no website development experience could go the extra mile and choose an accessible theme, thinking their job is done after that point. But then… they’re not filling in alt text or providing transcripts of audio files. I’ve seen it happen.

          Even I still forget to fill out the alt text field sometimes, and I’m more aware than the average user about it. I’ve gone back and edited old images on my sites that don’t have alt text, and I kick myself for forgetting it.

          If anything, a guide within wordpress itself (they provide the alt text field in the media library, but not a reason to use it) would be a nice way to address the issue of awareness. This could be as simple as a dashboard widget with a link to a user-friendly guide on how to make your wordpress site accessible (the W3 guide is useful to developers, but the verbage gets lost on average users.. we could make accessibility more accessible).

          Or how about a check and user prompt to fill in the alt text or provide a transcript within the media library if none exists on post/page insertion? A gentle reminder (or brief education) might be all that WP users need to start generating accessible content.

          It starts with the theme developers, but I agree that wordpress admins also are responsible: they are generating content.


  6. Oleg

    She was Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google… and she was completely right!

    I hope that responsive will be soon required for approval of the themes in the WordPress.org directory.

    Responsive design is not a feature but a requirement.


    • mark k.

      It is a requirement for consultants that charge 200$ an hour, It is a requirement for companies that sell mobile equipment as a replacement to a real PC, but for normal humans it is just what it is, an empty buzzword.

      Responsiveness has zero value, either the site is mobile friendly or not. Responsiveness by itself is at best a partial answer for that. It does not matter how many media queries the themes has, if the content contains table like users like to have then the site is not going to be responsive, and actually it would be much more useful without all media queries.

      With accessibility support in themes you are at least not likely to end in a worse position then when you do not have any at all, no matter what stupid things the user will do.


  7. Eugene Kopich

    totally agree with propulsion to responsiveness and that’s not so hard to do nowadays


  8. Jakob Boman

    A non responsive wp theme is like a hotel room without wifi…


  9. Bhuwan Roka

    Yes, agreed with this article. Thanks for sharing.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: