Can You Search for Responsive Themes in the WordPress.org Repository?

first_imgI knew you could search for responsive themes on hosted WordPress.com. But I wasn’t sure if you could do the same search on WordPress.org. I visited the WordPress.org theme repository, but didn’t see the same type of filtering options to find responsive themes. Theme repository filter optionsWondering if he knew, I tweeted to Morten Rand-Hendrickson, commenting about responsive themes:@mor10 No option to select “responsive” layout in https://t.co/ALFwuNTcoy theme search.— Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew) September 7, 2016Morten replied that he thought all themes on the repository were responsive, but he wasn’t sure. After some further tweets, Sami Keijonen pointed me to a post from the WordPress Theme Review Team, announcing new theme tags in May 2016. New WordPress Theme TagsThe new theme tags offered more subject tags for better categorization of themes. Sounds like a good plan, to make it easier to find themes based on specific topics. If you want a list of all the available tags, check Theme Tags. So what tags were removed? All color tags, the “photoblogging” and “seasonal” tags. And several layout tags, including “responsive-layout.”I was a bit puzzled. Since Google’s mobile-friendly ranking announcement in early 2015, every person I’ve spoken with wants to make sure their site is responsive. Why Responsive-Layout Was RemovedFrom what I read in the post, the “responsive-layout” tag was the most searched layout tag in the repository. Which made me curious why it was removed.Justin Tadlock commented in the post:When a tag is always used by themes and by users, it becomes practically useless in distinguishing themes from one another.Brad Griffin replied in the post, with a use case I thought was likely: Users come to the repositoryFind an appropriate themeInstall the themeAfter customizing the theme and adding their content, users are disappointed when they discover the theme isn’t responsive. And they get frustrated with the theme repository search filters for not providing an option for mobile-friendly themes. Further InvestigationI was still confused. I couldn’t find anything to indicate all themes in the repository were responsive.@samikeijonen Yes, thx. I believe that’s post you sent before. Unless I missed it, nothing to indicate all themes are responsive. cc @mor10— DeborahEdwards-Onoro (@redcrew) September 8, 2016 It all started with a question during Joe O’Connor’s WordPress session at our group meeting room at last week’s Accessibility Summit online conference. Can you search for responsive themes in the WordPress.org theme repository? So I visited posts linked from the theme tags announcement, to learn the background about removing the “responsive-layout” theme tag. And I tweeted back to Sami Keijonen, saying I probably shouldn’t assume all themes were responsive. He graciously answered my follow-up question. @redcrew Correct, not all (old) themes are responsive. But old themes doesn’t show up in search.— Sami Keijonen (@samikeijonen) September 8, 2016Aha, that works. And what about new themes added to the repository, should we expect all of them to be responsive? @samikeijonen Ok. Should I assume all new themes added to the repository are responsive?— DeborahEdwards-Onoro (@redcrew) September 8, 2016I didn’t receive a reply, so I did more research. The Theme Review Team requirements page doesn’t list responsive-layout as a requirement. But the theme recommendations page does ask if the theme is responsive. For theme creators, the recommendations page offers best practices suggestions, but their recommendations are not considered essential. ConclusionTook me a while, but here’s what I discovered:There is no responsive-layout or mobile-friendly tag in the WordPress theme repositoryOld themes in the WordPress theme repository may not be responsive. But old themes won’t show up in a repository theme search.New themes may or may not have a responsive design, since having a responsive design is not a requirement for a theme to be approved for the theme repository. It is a recommended practice.According to the Theme Review Team:The recommended items are there to make sure your theme is the best it can be and good advice to include as best practice.My thoughts? If you’re looking for a responsive theme on the WordPress.org theme repository, and you’re not sure if it’s responsive, contact the developer directly to ask about the theme. Personally, given Google’s mobile-friendly ranking change, I assume anyone creating a WordPress theme would make it responsive. 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