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Hiding sidebars on mobile

From: WordPress: Building Responsive Themes

Video: Hiding sidebars on mobile

One common solution to dealing with sidebars on mobile devices is to simply hide them if the screen is too small. I tend to agree with the strategy, as stacking the sidebar underneath the main content can produce an awfully long page on a mobile phone, and you have to scroll a lot to get to where you want to go. But hiding content with media queries has a couple of unintended drawbacks. First, let's take a look at how you would hide the sidebar. In the previous movie, we used media queries to move the sidebar down to the bottom of the page when the window is too small to fit it, and we also added a bunch of extra styles to make the sidebar styling fit with the rest of the page when the sidebar is at the bottom. You can see it if you resize the window here. You will see the sidebar disappeared.

Hiding sidebars on mobile

One common solution to dealing with sidebars on mobile devices is to simply hide them if the screen is too small. I tend to agree with the strategy, as stacking the sidebar underneath the main content can produce an awfully long page on a mobile phone, and you have to scroll a lot to get to where you want to go. But hiding content with media queries has a couple of unintended drawbacks. First, let's take a look at how you would hide the sidebar. In the previous movie, we used media queries to move the sidebar down to the bottom of the page when the window is too small to fit it, and we also added a bunch of extra styles to make the sidebar styling fit with the rest of the page when the sidebar is at the bottom. You can see it if you resize the window here. You will see the sidebar disappeared.

When I scroll down, the sidebar now appears at the bottom. But if you don't want to show the sidebar at all, and you want to hide it using media queries, instead of adding all the extra styling, all you have to do is find the container--in this case id sidebar--and simply say display: none. When we reload this page now, you'll see that the sidebar is gone. It's not here on the bottom, and if we resize the window, the sidebar reappears.

That also means all this extra style code that we added earlier is now just a waste of code, so you can remove it if you want to. But I said there were some unintended drawbacks of hiding the sidebar. You see, what happens when we use media query is is we're just changing the style code on the page; we're not changing the content itself. That means even if the sidebar is hidden, like what we see here, the sidebar is still there in the code; we're literally just not showing it. This may be a problem in some cases because sidebars often have large content in them.

That large content may be ads from Google or another ad source, or images or videos or other things. And even though we're hiding it using CSS, all that content is still loaded into the phone or loaded into the tablet, and the browser is working hard to render all that information only to not display it. If you ask me, hiding a sidebar on mobile devices is a preferred option to avoid too much clutter. If you want to go this route, you just have to keep in mind that you're still downloading all the content that's in that sidebar.

So don't put too much heavy material in the sidebar so that you're using up extra data to download something that you are not going to show.

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This video is part of

Image for WordPress: Building Responsive Themes
WordPress: Building Responsive Themes

39 video lessons · 17165 viewers

Morten Rand-Hendriksen
Author

 
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  1. 4m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 27s
    3. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 34s
  2. 8m 36s
    1. What is responsive design?
      4m 16s
    2. The different faces of WordPress on mobile
      1m 55s
    3. Exploring the finished Anaximander theme
      2m 25s
  3. 9m 38s
    1. Getting and installing the Anaximander theme
      1m 53s
    2. Configuring basic theme options
      7m 45s
  4. 23m 51s
    1. Deciding what screen sizes to design for
      4m 11s
    2. Thinking responsively: Designing for many different screen sizes
      6m 23s
    3. Visualizing content realignment for better markup
      4m 35s
    4. Designing menus
      4m 52s
    5. Adding responsive images and videos
      3m 50s
  5. 26m 8s
    1. What are media queries and how do they work?
      4m 18s
    2. Exploring CSS3, progressive enhancement, and graceful degradation
      3m 27s
    3. Understanding best practices for media queries
      3m 57s
    4. Creating a responsive frame
      5m 12s
    5. Customizing media queries with the Chrome Developer Tools
      5m 28s
    6. Taking device width into account
      3m 46s
  6. 11m 1s
    1. Resizing the site title and the description
      8m 22s
    2. Adding media queries to the header
      2m 39s
  7. 11m 22s
    1. Making the menu responsive
      3m 35s
    2. Creating a different menu design for small screens
      7m 47s
  8. 19m 22s
    1. Making a responsive single-post layout
      6m 11s
    2. Making images responsive
      4m 37s
    3. Making videos responsive by including FitVids
      8m 34s
  9. 7m 45s
    1. Making the sidebar responsive
      5m 10s
    2. Hiding sidebars on mobile
      2m 35s
  10. 7m 28s
    1. Dealing with footer widgets
      5m 11s
    2. Adding navigation links that return to the top of the page
      2m 17s
  11. 12m 54s
    1. Using FlexSlider to create a responsive slider
      6m 2s
    2. Creating a loop to show sticky posts in a featured slider
      6m 52s
  12. 24m 37s
    1. What is jQuery Masonry?
      3m 41s
    2. Installing jQuery Masonry
      4m 45s
    3. Configuring the index page with Masonry
      7m 0s
    4. Using CSS to finalize the Masonry layout
      6m 17s
    5. Adding media queries to the Masonry index
      2m 54s
  13. 9m 11s
    1. Exploring hidden features of the Anaximander theme
      5m 51s
    2. Where to go from here
      3m 20s

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