Preparing WordPress For Tablets: Tools And Strategies
Smartphones have been hailed as the next best thing after desktop, grabbing the attention of website designers and marketers who wasted no time to cash in on the opportunity. But recent stats are painting an altogether different picture of the scenario. While the stats don’t snub the impact smartphones have had on the masses or the designer and marketing fraternities; it rather sheds light on another device that has been rapidly increasing its footprint in the mobile usage pattern around the world.
The device in question is none other than tablets. Tablet users vary from smartphones’ wherein the users expect rich content including entertainment, and a web platform that supports these aspects is the key to garnering user traffic. Out of various options, WordPress seems to fit the bill.
A survey depicts the usage pattern of tablets among the users across various factors such as demography, time of usage, usage category, engagement criteria, etc.
Demography – Tablets tend to be favorites with users who are above 35 years of age, with men more inclined towards it. This should mean that tablets are in serious and well-to-do hands.
Time of usage - Tablet usage spikes during the “prime time” of the day that’s between 7pm and 9pm. That’s the time when users are normally expected to be found in front of their entertainment centers.
Usage duration- Major portion of tablet usage is skewed heavily towards gaming (67%). Past time activities namely social networking (10%) and entertainment (9%) including utilities (4%) are other notable user engaging activities on tablets. Surely a wakeup call for entertainment heavyweights.\
App engagement- On an average, tablet users use apps for nearly double the time duration compared to smartphones. This clearly is a reason why app developers need to focus on quality more than quantity when it comes to tablets.
On the commercial front, like on the personal front, tablets is making heads turn by breaking the monopoly of desktops on e-commerce and overtaking the role of smartphones in e-commerce. Various studies reveal that e-commerce is 20% more on tablets than desktops and the average spending value is to the tune of $120 by tablet users. Of all the traffic to e-commerce sites, tablets constituted 6.52% compared to smartphones’ 5.35% of the traffic. And a whopping 3.23% of the traffic, in contrast to smartphones’ 1.39%, were converted into sales through tablets. All the while desktops were a tad above tablets – conversion of 3.51% of the traffic into sales.
The bottomline of all these number crunching is that tablets have made its way to users’ entertainment centers by virtue of its mobility trait. Smartphones are used primarily when users are on the go whereas, tablets are used mainly when users are in a relaxed mood, finding time for themselves. It has slowly started replacing newspapers which are generally read in the morning and book that are read at bedtime.
E-commerce aside, tablets are about media, information, entertainment, and to deliver these to the users require websites that presents it the way they are viewed/heard on desktops or other large screens. Nothing does the job better than WordPress as it’s synonymous with blogs and general infotainment.
Enabling WordPress Accommodate Tablets
Although WordPress have branched out to take the roles of a CMS or a framework, it still largely remains as the best blogging platform. Blogs are meant to be read, and rendering a blog readable on handheld devices requires a different strategy. It’s about making your site responsive to the tablet environment at the same time maintaining visual appeal. This can be achieved through plugins.
Previously known as Padpressed, Onswipe detects the screen size and view direction and adjusts the site content layout automatically. It allows for sharing of content on the social networks apart from enabling the blog to be downloaded on the tablets.
After downloading the compressed file, you’ll need to login as admin and go to “plugins”. Choose the “upload” option after clicking on “add new”. Upload the compressed file and activate the plugin. All these can be accomplished in under 5 minutes.
Post installation, you can give your blog a magazine touch by varying the resolution followed by setting the font and color. You may also select from a list of skin colors to suit your taste. You can use Onswipe with WP Super Cache with some minor adjustments in the settings. Onswipe comes with customizable content and article layouts which gives it a native app feel enabling browse-through capability. Touch gesture aids in effortless readability of articles.
Developed by Bravenewcode, Wptouch resizes and rearranges contents and images according to the device. It has gone a long way by incorporating useful feature like touch gestures. Primarily intended for Apple users, WPtouch now extends to current and emerging platforms.
WPtouch’s strong points are the the custom themes and stylesheets which it employs while identifying the device type. It replaces the device’s current WordPress theme with any mobile theme which acts as a template, that can be customized to include anything. With this template feature you could literally have a mobile website out of a plugin with all the standard features of one and options for further customization. If you wish to do away with certain shortcodes in the mobile view, you can do so with ease.
WordPress Mobile Edition:
WordPress Mobile Edition plugin allows users to view the websites specific to the device platform they use. This means that the site utilizing this plugin would have a unique look and feel with each platform. This has advantages wherein platforms that support or don’t support certain features could actually have a varied experience while viewing websites integrated with this plugin.
This capability is made possible with readymade themes which are pre-assigned to specific platforms for example Android or iOS that would give the site a native look. In addition theme customization is possible by effecting changes in the templates.
Strategies for website for tablets
Along with the use of above plugins, a pinch of tablet centric strategy can get your WordPress site miles ahead of your competitors.
- Have your WordPress site make use of portrait and landscape views. Tablets are not square in shape but rectangular. This has huge implications on how users read your content or browse through your website. The portrait view is most used in reading or viewing content, while for browsing through pages as well as viewing videos, the landscape view is preferred. Hence tailoring your website according to these aspects can add to the usability factor.
- Make content downloadable for your users so that they can read it as and when they require without the need to be connected all the time.
- Navigation can be made more user-friendly by providing larger buttons specifically for moving “backward”, “forward”, “up” or “down”. Avoid links within the text which can be annoying to the user.
- Use HTML5 more in your website than flash.
- You should note that the “hover” effect won’t work well with the users on tablets since every function is through physical touch.
Strategies for tablets are comparatively less evolved than smartphones due to the former being relatively out of focus of marketers and designers. This is soon going to change since the tablet is experiencing a never before demand and the metrics speaks of a distinctive user approach towards tablets than smartphones. WordPress being the most popular and tablets climbing the popularity ladder, opportunities are galore for all the players.
Check out our previous articles:
- 30 Professional WordPress Plugins for Your Website
- 45 Creative Premium WordPress Themes
- How To Add Google Analytics to WordPress Multisite
- Free WordPress Themes Released in Summer 2012
- Custom Post Types for WordPress
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- Preparing WordPress For Tablets: Tools And Strategies - November 28, 2012