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[simplepullquote]Warning: this article makes many references to a “responsive theme.” However, the only theme I tested was Echelon. Your responsive theme will almost certainly be different. Try before you buy.[/simplepullquote]In an earlier article (Ten Best WordPress Plugins for 2013) I reviewed WPTouch, a WordPress plugin that converts your WordPress site to mobile. Handy, convenient, but now there are “responsive themes” that build mobile versions by checking a few boxes in the theme setup. In this article, WPTouch meets a responsive theme.
For years this blog has been using the Echelon theme (version 1.5) from MySiteMyWay. On a recent visit to their site I discovered that Echelon 2.3 was available. And, to their everlasting credit, MySiteMyWay offers free upgrades from previous versions. So I took the offer mainly to see what a “responsive theme” would be like. (There are a ton of other new features which I can’t begin to explore. But I recommend MySiteMyWay for high-quality, customizable WordPress themes. Priced at $35, Echelon is a steal.)
This article reviews the responsive version of Echelon and compares it with WPTouch.
3. WP-Touch (version 1.9.42) converts your WordPress site to a mobile version on the fly. It doesn’t do a perfect job — that would be impossible — but it’s pretty darn good. Seems to have problems with Android devices, so be cautious. Read the reviews, especially the one stars. I like it but YMMV. I only use the free version. The reviews say that the pro version ($50) solves some of these problems. There are small business ($129) and developer/agency ($299) versions as well. Sure, you can create mobile versions of your site. But if you’re a DIY blogger like me, WP-Touch is a real time-saver.
To see how WPtouch works, here’s what my website looks like in the desktop version:
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And here’s what WPtouch produced (screen capture from an iPhone):
The Responsive Theme
Naturally you get a bit more flexibility with the responsive theme. First, here are the responsive options (including my selections):
The first thing I noticed is that the responsive theme is slower than WPTouch. And it’s not particularly good-looking, slightly overflowing the sides of my iPhone. Here are some sample screen captures:
[portfolio_slideshow include=”850,849,847,848,846″ autoplay=true click=advance navpos=bottom pagerpos=bottom]
WPTouch is fast, efficient, and not very flexible. The responsive version of the Echelon theme is slow, has some issues fitting an iPhone screen, but has quite a bit of flexibility. In a future article I’ll explore the options available for the responsive theme and see what they do to the output.