What does this data mean to us? For a start, more and more people who access the Internet will do so from an iPad or another tablet. So if you have an online presence, it would be a good idea to adjust the interface of your site to be tablet friendly. Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, has realized this and have added a feature that will optimize its 18 million blogs for tablet viewing. So for those of you with a self-hosted WordPress blog, there’s an app a plugin for that.
Touch, Swipe, Rotate & More
To bring this feature to realization, Automattic worked with Onswipe – a company which specializes in tablet (and other touch-enabled device) publishing.
WordPress.com users don’t have to do anything as the feature is already added to their blogs. On the other hand, self-hosted users will need to install the Onswipe plugin before they can make their blog iPad friendly. The plugin will add the ability to:
- automatically adjust the content layout according to how the reader holds their device.
- give the reader an easy way to save the blog to their device’s home screen.
- show a customized loading screen while the blog is loading.
- create a beautiful magazine-like cover from the latest article.
- easily share the content via Facebook, Twitter and email.
If these power-ups excite you, download the plugin on the Onswipe website, then upload and install it onto your blog.
Or get it from the “Plugins – Add New” menu inside your blog.
Set Some Things Up
After installation, you may want to visit the “Onswipe” menu to adjust some elements of the plugin to your liking.
The first thing to do is look at the “Display a special theme for iPad users” box and make sure that the feature is turned on.
Move down a little bit to choose whether you want to display the “front cover” for your blog. This cover will give your blog a magazine feeling.
To further customize your blog, you could upload a 200×200 pixel PNG image as your cover logo. This logo will be displayed on the front cover.
You can easily create the cover logo using any image editor. For experimental purposes, I created a quick text-only logo and uploaded it.
You can also upload a launch screen image if you want to. The requirement is 768×1004 pixel.
Then choose the font you want to use in your iPad-ized blog. The default is ArvoRegular, but there are lots of other choices in the list.
The last step is to choose the skin color and click the “Save Settings” button.
And The Result Is…
I used my blog for the experiment, so I opened the address using iPad’s Mobile Safari. The “front page” greeted me, along with a “swipe me” tag at the right to continue to the post page.
This is how the portrait view will look. The post page is divided into several blocks. The latest article is positioned at the top, followed by smaller boxes of older articles below it. Titles of posts are displayed in white above transparent colored tape. The color of the tape is the skin color that you chose in the Onswipe settings menu.
The article blocks will rearrange themselves to fit the screen every time the device is rotated. This is how the page will look in landscape view.
For comparison, I turned off Onswipe and refreshed the page. The appearance went back to the theme I am using, similar to how it would look if viewed from a computer’s browser.
After trying out Onswipe, I felt that the result was not as good as I expected it to be – yet. The developer has promised that the full platform will come this spring. This means that we can expect more goodies in the future. We can also bet that there will be more tablet-friendly themes for us to choose from then.
What do you think about iPad-izing your web layout? Do you know of any other tablet-optimized WordPress themes? Share your thoughts and opinions using the comments below.