After a presentation by the Google Mobile Team at a seminar a little over a week ago, I decided to set up mobile themes for some sites as a test. The one you’re reading right now has a mobile theme, as well as With A Voice Like This, 4-AM, The Caroling Connection and Jim & Tim.
Jim & Tim was a slightly different case. I had installed a mobile theme on that site before, something very basic and it was a set it and forget it type of WordPress plugin. It was an “I’ll get around to it when I have a chance…Or the motivation”. Well, now was the time. It had some design flexibility that I hadn’t taken advantage yet. I looked around and found that the only place the plugin existed anymore as far as I could tell was on the Jim & Tim website. No listing in the WordPress repository and the plugin website was no longer valid.
I went and found a plugin called WPTouch (I’m linking to the free version because I have nothing to do with it other than testing it out). Installing it is the standard WordPress plugin installation process. After that, it all come down to flexibility for me. The top one for me is that the person using the mobile device can switch between the mobile theme and the standard theme with the click of a virtual button, so it can load fast and have the user complete their business or take a look at the full desktop site, if they want. Here’s the back end flexibility I see so far(this list is by no means comprehensive):
- Choose landing page
- Choose which pages go on the menu
- Choose and add icons for the pages on the theme’s drop-down menu
- Change basic color schemes
- Select User Agents to load mobile theme
That last one might seem a bit cryptic to you, it did to me at first. User Agent in this case can be a platform (e.g. Android) or a device (e.g. iPod). This can be a double edged sword in trying to keep up with everything, but it also allows you to choose whether or not certain devices display the mobile theme at all. I can see the possibility of certain sites being straightforward and fast loading to the point of not wanting to serve up the mobile theme on a tablet. On the flip side, I know someone with an HTC Incredible who has three browsers, the one that comes standard with the smartphone itself, Opera and Dolphin. Of those three, only the standard browser on the phone showed the mobile theme.
Seems like there’s some more tweaking to be done. And that’s just what I plan to do.