The world is going mobile. With millions of web surfers now browsing the Internet via iPhone, Android, and Palm, developers are scrambling for a way to optimize their sites to adapt to the smaller screen sizes of the mobile devices. One company, Brave New Code, is doing just that. Specifically, they are making WordPress sites easily adaptable to mobile devices.
WordPress has had an iPhone app available for a while. That’s not the news. The news is that many WordPress site developers were frustrated with the finicky formatting and slow load rates of their WordPress sites on mobile devices. Brave New Code specializes in WordPress site development: “We design & develop WordPress themes, plugins, & custom installations, helping our clients get the most out of WordPress as a content management & publishing tool. Extensible, powerful & easy-to-use, WordPress is our first recommendation.”
Thus, it was no surprise when they came out with WPTouch, a plugin that optimizes WordPress sites for flawless display on mobile devices (especially the iPhone, iPod and Android). The whole plugin is a speed-saver. Heavyweight Java scripting? No problem. The WPTouch rips it aside pretty quickly. However, if the user checking out the WordPress site on the trimmed-down mobile version doesn’t like it, he or she can easily toggle back to the original WordPress theme, using built-in toggle option at the bottom of the site.
To test the site, I used my iPod touch to visit a WordPress site that had been optimized with WPTouch. Within six wireless seconds, the entire site was up for display. When I turned off the mobile option, the site took more than twice as long to load—and with far less visual appeal. The first thing I noticed about the mobile viewing experience was the site title. It was cut off. Obviously, since I knew the name of the site, this wasn’t a big problem, but it did look slightly tacky. The best feature was that all of the recent site articles that I was most interested in were easily navigable—right in plain sight. By tapping on the entry, I gained instant access to the blog entry (with split-second load time). My favorite part was the complete absence of ads and the annoying popup that the site always gives me. I liked not having to double-tap (or two-finger zoom) to focus in on one portion of the screen. Everything that I needed to see was optimized to my iPod screen size.
The fatal flaw of the plugin, at least to my limited survey, was the inability to turn the WPTouch option back on. Now I’m not sure if I’m permanently barred from every viewing sites through WPTouch or not.
WTouch is perfect for any WordPress theme owners who need the visibility of mobile visitors. The device is packed with user-friendly options for WordPress owners, enabling them to customize the plugin as they see fit. Brave New Code touts it as “an entire theme package for your WordPress website…showing your content beautifully, all while not interfering with your regular theme.” They’re right, for the most part. Now, if I can just figure out how to turn it back on…
About the Author: