08 September 2011
Although I use Blogger myself for managing this blog, I typically recommend Wordpress as being more fully featured. I use it for some other blogs I write, and it’s a bit more flexible and more powerful than Blogger, especially for newcomers. I wrote a section outlining the basics of getting started with Wordpress in my book Web Design in Easy Steps.
When I was looking around one of my Wordpress-hosted blogs recently, I discovered a new section in the Appearance section of the settings. If you log into your Wordpress dashboard, and scroll down, you should see ‘iPad’ in the Appearance section, on the left. These settings give you the option to upload an image that will be shown when someone launches your blog from an icon on the iPad’s home screen, and to upload a cover logo. These help to give a visit to your blog a more native app-like feel on the iPad. By default, the option to display a special theme for iPad users is ticked, and you can confidently leave it ticked.
Although I’ve been using the iPad a lot, especially while writing my book iPad for the Older and Wiser, I hadn’t visited any Wordpress blogs with it, so I was intrigued to see what this was all about. Basically, with the theme selected, Wordpress presents your blog in a format that is optimised for the touch screen and that will be familiar to iPad users when they view it. On the iPad, you see boxes containing headlines and a short summary of your story. When you tap one, a window opens to show the story in full which can be dragged up and down. To move between the pages of summaries, you swipe sideways to turn the pages. The whole experience is similar to the superb Flipboard app, which turns updates from social networks and your favourite websites into a magazine-like experience.
This is a great innovation from Wordpress: it feels like a native app on the iPad, and doesn’t require any additional work from the content creator, nor does it interfere with the experience for those using desktop computers. If you want to see an example of it, try visiting Finepixtrix, a photography blog I picked from Wordpress’s homepage, with your iPad. It features some great photography by Grahame Hall, who lives in South Africa. On a desktop computer, his blog looks much like this blog: the blog posts are stacked on top of each other and you scroll down the screen to read them. On the iPad, it’s more like a magazine, with headlines and images laid out neatly on the screen, so you can quickly find what you want to read. This screenshot shows the blog’s iPad theme:
If you have a Wordpress blog and want to offer iPad visitors a similar experience, the good news is that Wordpress is already doing it for you. However, you can make the experience even slicker by uploading a splash image and logo in your Wordpress settings. If you customise your blog for the iPad, leave me a comment and I'll check it out.
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