Tag Archives: mobile

Is your website mobile-ready?

Smart phones are already outselling desktops. Tablet sales may soon overtake laptop sales. Websites are being viewed on a wider variety of screen sizes than ever before, and that situation isn’t going away any time soon.

Is your website ready? It is if it’s responsive. That simply means that the code behind the design will recognize and adapt (or “respond”) to the device it’s being viewed on, whether a desktop mega-monitor, an iPad, or a smart phone.

What a responsive theme looks like on different devices

It’s easy to tell whether your site’s responsive, even if you don’t have a smart phone or notepad. Minimize your browser window; grab it on the right edge and drag it left, to about the width of a notepad. Drag it some more to the width of a smart phone. (Try it right now on this page; it’s responsive.)

When you try it on your site, is the navigation still visible? Do the major elements rearrange themselves to fit the resized window? If so, good news! Your website is “responsive” – i.e., mobile-friendly.

If not, you’re stuck in 2010.

And I can help with that.

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Statistics for browser, screen resolution, operating system and more

I just discovered StatCounter.com — easily the most interesting and useful stats counter/compiler/display that I’ve found. In the past, I’ve used the stats from W3 Schools, but their results are skewed heavily toward computer/developer/ programmer geeks, since those results are based on traffic to the W3 Schools site.

At StatCounter, you can filter results by time period and geographic region. You can specify what type of stat you’re looking for: browser type, operating system, screeen resolution, mobile vs. desktop, search engine and more. Here’s the complete list:

types of statistics

This data is incredibly important for web designers: knowing what size of screen your end users will be using and what browsers your site does (or doesn’t) need to work on can help you design more intelligently.

Of course, the statistics for web traffic vary with every site, and the best data, if you can get it, is the statistics for your particular website. But if that’s not available, this is the next best thing.

And if you need to share your data from StatCounter, you can export it as a jpg or a csv, like this:

graph of screen resolution

Or you can grab the embed code to display it on your web page. (Works on wordpress.org sites, but not wordpress.com sites.)

To put things in perspective, though, I’ll end with a quote attributed to Mark Twain:

There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

4 WordPress themes ready for advertising

I’ve been doing some research into WordPress themes that are built with space and/or widgets ready for advertising, so I thought I’d share some of my findings. Here are four of the top-ranking, responsive designs.

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“Bangkok Press” Theme

Bragging rights:

  • 7 video tutes on YouTube help you with set-up
  • localization ready
  • drag and drop page builder
  • 1800 downloads; 210 ratings; 5-star average

Bangkok Press, above the fold on a 1280 x 800 monitor (not shown actual size):

Bangkok Press, above the fold

Learn more: Theme info page on ThemeForest

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“Deadline” Theme

Bragging rights:

  • widgetized home page
  • localized and translatable
  • English, French and German translation files included
  • 2600 downloads; 360 reviews; 4-star average

Deadline, above the fold on a 1280 x 800 monitor (not shown actual size)

Deadline, above the fold

Learn more: Theme info page on ThemeForest

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“Gonzo” Theme

Bragging rights:

  • built to work with AdPress, and still be responsive
  • built-in review system; lets users rate products, for example.
  • can use Facebook comments on-site
  • 3700 downloads; 385 ratings; 5-star average

Gonzo, above the fold on a 1280 x 800 monitor (not shown actual size):

Gonzo, above the fold

Page showing ad sizes available.

Learn more: Theme info page on ThemeForest
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“Sahifa” Theme

Bragging rights:

  • built-in review system; lets users rate products, for example.
  • 9 advertising widgets
  • translation-ready
  • 2700 downloads; 385 ratings; 5-star average

Sahifa, above the fold on a 1280 x 800 monitor (not shown actual size):

Sahifa, above the fold

Learn more: Theme info page on ThemeForest

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All four themes, as seen on a mobile phone:

If it’s likely that users will be viewing your site on their smartphone — and that’s more and more true every day — you should check any themes you’re considering on one or two mobile devices. This will help you think through which one works best at that size for critical features like navigation. Note that in the four themes shown above, the advertising disappears on two of them.

ad-ready themes, mobile view

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Why I like ThemeForest

  • You can quickly see how many times each theme has been downloaded, and every theme is ranked by users.
  • Every theme includes a link to a fully functional, populated example.
  • “Comments” page gives you a feel for how often developers run into problems with the theme, and how responsive the author is.
  • The filtering system for searching for a theme with certain features just rocks! (WordPress could learn a thing or two from them.)
  • And yes (full disclosure), I get a commission if someone buys a theme via one of my referral links. (You could, too!) But I only recommend companies I have used and love.