Wordpress is heavily customisable too, allowing you to radically alter the look and feel of your blog, and add personal touches, simply by installing different themes. The fact that you are on this website probably means you already know all this.
But what things should you consider when picking a WordPress theme? There are plenty of free themes available, but most of them are not very visually appealing, or are already used on a huge number websites. Spending money on a theme will help you to get an appearance that is a bit more unique and higher quality.
Many websites, and website designs, are produced primarily with desktop browsers in mind. This makes sense as most people surfing the internet will be doing so from a desktop or laptop computer.
But this trend is rapidly changing. More and more people are using tablets and smartphones to do their web browsing and it won’t be too long before they will become the primary source of traffic for many websites as we enter the “Post-PC Era”.
In the past the biggest concern for web designer when considering smartphone visitors was site speed. Older data connections were very slow, with many websites opting to have an additional mobile site with reduced content and compressed images.
With the arrival of 3G, and now 4G, this is no longer as much of a concern. Many people visiting websites from smartphones now prefer to view a full desktop website than a streamlined mobile version as their smartphone data connections are better suited to handling the data transfer.
Even though more smartphone users choose to view desktop websites in their full glory, the 3 to 5 inch screens found on most smartphones still provide difficulty in viewing content. Most touchscreen devices make it easy to zoom in with a few simple finger gestures, but choosing a WordPress theme with large buttons and menus will make it a whole lot easier and more pleasant for smartphone users to browse your blog.
A finger is a lot less precise than a mouse cursor. It may be easy, while using a mouse, to select a small piece of text or click on a tiny button, but doing so with a touchscreen device can be frustrating to say the least. Choosing a WordPress blog that comes with small navigational buttons may make it a nightmare to use for anyone visiting your website from a smartphone, even a large screened device such as the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Tablets, such as the iPad and Galaxy Tab, may not present as much of a problem here. Their larger screens are suitably close enough to desktop computers to provide a similar experience in terms of ease of navigation, but you should bear in mind that all touchscreen devices, including tablets, are interacted with differently than a mouse and keyboard based computer.
Users on a desktop or laptop computer will primarily navigate around a website using a mouse, but a touchscreen device has no way to determine where a user is looking until they touch the screen. Because of this, many visual tricks that have been employed on websites, such as mouseover effects, will not work correctly on a touchscreen device.
Sometimes mouseover effects are used to change images or for opening navigational menus, but themes that employ these effects will not work properly for touchscreen users. Users may still be able to browse around your website but they will not be able to get the full experience of your blog, and if such mouseover effects are integrated into some core functionality of your blog your smartphone and tablet visitors may be missing out
Many websites, particularly blogs, have traditionally been heavy on text. As noted before, smartphones come with small screens and so it can be difficult to read text without zooming in. Although users will of course zoom in to read things, it should be remembered that text may not grab their attention in the same way that it would for a desktop user.
Titles and subtitles on your theme should be clear and easy to read, and using a theme that better implements photos can make it easier for mobile users to hone in on interesting content. A WordPress theme is only half the battle though – once a good visual theme has been chosen you will still need to add high quality images to your posts.
Of course, none of this is essential, but with more and more people surfing the net from their phones and tablets it makes sense to bear these visitors in mind when choosing a design for your website. Large, clear and spacious themes are not only more enjoyable to touchscreen users, but can make your blog much more visually appealing to all visitors to your website.