Responsive to Change – My Cat and WordPress Themes

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
– Charles Darwin –

This is Mooch. He is a very large cat (see story The Cat Compendium) that may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he certainly was extremely responsive to change. It took him about a nanosecond to accept that he no longer lived at our house and had been adopted by the people next door.

But Mooch isn’t what this story is really about. This is about my blog, and your blog, and how everyone reads our blogs. Surveys suggest that nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.

But there is more: people no longer just use their desk top or laptop computers to read our blogs. More and more people are using their phones or digital tablets to view our ever so entertaining stories. And did you know that a blog that looks just fine on a computer screen can be much more difficult to read on a tiny phone screen if the theme of the blog hasn’t been taught to be Responsive or doesn’t have the Mobile Option clicked (Go to My Site(s) → WP Admin → Appearance → Mobile in your dashboard. Click on the Yes radio button to enable a mobile-friendly theme, and click on the Update button.)

Which themes are fully Responsive? Hop over to this page: Responsive Themes to find one that appeals to you. For now, I’m using a Mobile friendly theme that isn’t responsive, but I frequently change themes. Like Mooch, I enjoy the change of moving to a new abode – with the simple click of my mouse!

31 thoughts on “Responsive to Change – My Cat and WordPress Themes

  1. Great information, Margie–I just checked my Theme and it does have the iPad and mobile options so I guess that’s good? Now, if you could just help me figure out how to get rid of ‘application/octet-stream’ attaching itself to jpegs I’m trying to upload to a site, life would be wonderful! It must have something to do with my new laptop and the Windows 7 operating system because I never had this problem with my old laptop and Vista (lots of other problems, mind you, but not this one).
    Love to read your blog–always insightful and informative, too!


    1. I believe all WordPress themes offer the mobile and iPad options, but I don’t know how many people are aware of them, or have enabled them.
      As for your attachment problem, I’ve never heard of that one and I use Windows 7 so I can’t say for sure that your new operating system is the problem. You might want to ask the WordPress Happiness engineers.


    1. Things are changing fast – I’m not sure if there is a need to stay caught up or just wait for things to change a lot and then jump back in again later!


  2. Hmm. One thing you can be sure of, while there are only 41 themes at present that are responsive, there will be more – probably all of them – eventually. likes change and it likes changing things without consulting its users.

    As a responsive theme, my lovely background will probably vanish. Oh well.

    I used to get really stressed out about all this but am not so much anymore.


    1. I agree, Val – most of the new themes that get introduced will be responsive. I don’t know if they will bother changing the older ones, though.
      I’m interested in responsive themes because I can see that more and more people use their smart phones and tablets to visit the web. I know I wouldn’t spend much time trying to read something if it didn’t adjust to the screen I was trying to read it with!


    1. I don’t really know how much difference there is between themes that are fully responsive, and those that have the ipad and Mobile features turned on. (You should check to see if they are turned on…)


  3. By the way, my theme has ipad and mobile options and has done for a long time but is not on the theme filter for responsive themes. I wonder what that means?


    1. I believe all WordPress themes have the ipad and mobile options, but I would expect that doesn’t make them as good at adapting content to smaller screens as a fully responsive theme does.


  4. I do most of my blog reading on my iPad. Still write at the laptop but for convenience and comfort, can’t beat reading on this.

    Can’t help you with the cat, though. Sorry 🙂


    1. Not only did the cat move to the neighbours (where the food and bed is better), he visits us every day and checks to see if perhaps we leave treats for him.


    1. I knew this post would appeal to cat people. In reality, Mooch thinks he is a dog, and that is another reason he begged to be adopted by the people next door. They have dogs, and for Mooch it meant a ready made family of animals he relates to.


  5. Great post, Margie. I’ve been using the Twenty-Eleven theme since I started because it was adaptable to mobile devices and easy to customize. I think the Twenty-Twelve is now their responsive theme, but it was a bit funky when I tried to move my theme over – lots of reprogramming involved, which surprised me. But, I do most of my reading and responding on my iPad and sometimes on my phone, so this is a great move by WordPress. Maybe I’ll suck up the time and effort to move to Twenty-Twelve. And Mooch is adorable – my husband is allergic, so I pet other people’s cats whenever possible 🙂


    1. Twenty Eleven and Twenty Twelve are both fully responsive, so if you like the theme there isn’t much reason to move to the newer version. It seems to me that Twenty Eleven even offers a few more features!


  6. Bouquet looks good on your blog. I do know what responsive themes are and have been test driving a few myself.
    Fixed means the width of the theme does not change according to screen resolution (or the width of browser) your visitors use.

    Fluid means the width of the theme changes according to screen resolution (or the width of browser) your visitors use.

    Responsive width means the the layout adapts depending on the size of the device being used to view your site. When responsive width themes are viewed on mobiles sidebars appear below the posts in order to provide as much space as possible for reading.

    I blogged about this increase in mobile use in Is Your Blog Mobile Compatible? and determined about 5% of my readers are using mobiles at this point in time. As more people use mobiles and tablets sharing that content will mean mobile ease of use will continue to have a major impact on theme and blogging software design.

    P.S. Right now I’m test driving Able.


    1. Thanks timethief for the clarification. I can certainly see why WordPress is putting so much effort into giving us responsive themes.


  7. Good information. I’ll go into my settings and see what you’re talking about. Also, I wanted to let you know I was picking up hoses and beginning to put away for fall today and wondered if you’d already started your outdoor shut down process. Have you had a frost yet? Have the elk come out of the hills?


    1. Hi Barb – we’ve had a few light frosts, but I haven’t really been paying much attention this year because I didn’t get my vegetable garden planted. In fact, I didn’t even put the garden hoses out, and I didn’t water a single plant. Everything in the yard had to fend for itself!
      Yes, it is fall here, and the leaves are just starting to change colour. We’re lucky that the elk won’t come this far down the foothills, but we have permanent populations of white tail deer and moose – but I haven’t really taken the time to go out and see which foliage they have been chomping on!


    1. WordPress keeps bringing out new Themes and it is fun to try them out – easier and much more satisfying that shopping around for, say, a new bathing suit.


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