jQuery Mobile or responsive design?
Design is cool
Yes, jQuery Mobile has a “theme framework” that lets you adjust the appearance of your site. However, this is still quite limited when compared to the freedom of designing a site from scratch. A jQuery Mobile site will always be made up of the same basic elements and toolbars. If you are not a designer and you just want a basic site up and running and working on mobile devices, then maybe it’s a good choice. But to me, the sacrifice in design freedom feels like giving up.
Too much mobile
By default, a jQuery Mobile site looks a lot like an iOS app. If you’re a fan of Apple’s products, you’ll feel right at home. You can adjust the theme a bit, and it will look good on any mobile or tablet. However, it still looks like a mobile app on a desktop or laptop computer. To me it seems a bit too mobile, and a bit too iOS. If you’ve got a separate site for big computers, maybe this wouldn’t bother you. If you are relying on it entirely, it might look a bit out of place on a desktop computer.
I am not trying to say that jQuery Mobile is a bad thing. It is a good system for generating reliable mobile-optimized sites with a minimum of effort and in a relatively small package. If you don’t mind handing over control of design and you are looking exclusively at touch-based devices, it is probably a good tool for the job.
However, for me at least, removing the freedom of design and layout removes a key aspect that makes each website unique. We are just getting started with responsive design and media queries and these let you design whatever you want.