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10 Must have plug-ins for a mobile friendly website

10 Must have plug-ins for a mobile friendly website

The winds of time are bringing about a lot of changes, especially those related to change in technology. A mobile friendly or responsive website which used to be optional a few years back is now a quintessential aspect. Ignoring this can cause a lot of trouble for a site owner. Considering the large numbers of smart phone users a responsive website is the segregating factor from the rest of the flock of websites.

A Plug-in or add-in is a readymade software programme which adds a specific feature to an existing application or a website. Plug-ins make the life and work of a web designer simpler and easier while adding quality features at the same time. Plug-ins are mostly coded in JavaScript and jQuery and can be used with both HTML and WordPress.

Let us look at the 10 most important plug-ins required for creating a responsive web design.

1. Jetpack

Jetpack is a feature rich plug-in which is loaded with 33 powerful features. These features not only ensure a mobile friendly website but much more than that. Jetpack has mobile friendly themes for creating mobile friendly site which can be further customized if have the knowledge of coding in PHP and CSS. Another important feature of Jetpack is that it allows easy integration between your site and the Google+ page. Verification tools provided by Photon are also helpful in decreasing the site loading time.

2. MobilePress

MobilePress is a plug-in which provides responsive themes for websites. It becomes very easy with this plug-in to install mobile friendly themes and mobile friendly settings. The USP of MobilePress is simplicity. The key idea behind the development of this plug-in is that a simpler theme can be downloaded on any mobile with ease. It is only the complicated themes which cause all the problems of creating hindrances to a responsive site. Its simplicity will ensure that its themes will be easily adaptable for future smart phone models as well.

3. WPtouch plug-in

This is one plug-in for creating a responsive website which has very limited usability as it offers mobile-only themes. Yes sure, a mobile-only theme website will open on a desktop, but remember that a desktop version website has much more features. Another thing to keep in mind is that with the enlargement of the screen size your website might give a pixelated look on your desktop.  But WPtouch plug-in is useful for creating websites which are simple and do not require complex features or elements. A simple theme should be sufficient for such websites.

4. Any Mobile theme switcher

It is surely a funny name for a plug-in, but when we talk about a serious issue of responsive web designing, funny names should not matter. The plug-in directory of this theme switcher needs to be looked at to imagine its versatility. What this plug-in does is that as soon as a user reaches your website, it detects the smart phone browser and switches the theme of your website with a theme which is more compatible with the browser of the user’s phone. In this way different home pages are displayed in different devices like Apple, Android or Windows. This plug-in works with W3 total cache, keeps mobile bookmarking with QR codes.

5. WP mobile detector plug-in

This is another plug-in which picks and chooses a theme when a user accesses a website. This seems to be a common way of responding or dealing with different kind of devices. To be truthful this plug-in really good at choosing the appropriate theme, and hence finds its mention in this write-up. Another segregating factor of this plug-in is that it does not recognize the device with the browser alone but is able to identify and differentiate between 5000 mobile devices. Smart plug-in if you ask me, but configuring your site according to so many devices might not be a smart idea. But still finding errors will still be easy. To give an example in this regard, if a particular device is restricting your website, then this plug-in could be a handy tool to find the appropriate theme for that particular device. It is even possible to add new features like widgets, dynamic loading pages, collapsible menus and cross platform compatibility with this plug-in.

6. WordPress Mobile Pack0+

The WordPress Mobile pack is a different kind of plug-in in every sense of the word because it offers a completely different solution for creating a responsive website. It provides tools by which you can adapt or convert your existing un-responsive website into a responsive one. All that is required is to add a new theme to the existing site and using tolls to modify the site as per device compatibility. This plug-in is capable of supporting a number of browsers and give quite a bit of viewing control of your website.

7. Mobile Smart

This plug-in does not change the theme of the website until a user visits your site using his/her mobile. It also allows the freedom to a user to switch manually between the mobile version and the desktop version of the site whenever he wishes to do so, either through a widget, template tag or the footer option. The elements of the website including images are automatically re-scaled by the plug-in to fit the device screen. The best part is that so much functionality is provided with a very simplistic design.

8. WP Mobile edition

Much like the WPtouch this plug-in is also for making mobile-only websites and thus offers the same kind of restrictions and problems when the site is viewed on a much larger desktop screen. This plug-in just like WPTouch also offers limited usability and is suitable only for a simple website which requires limited functionality and only requires cross-platform support but otherwise it is not at all suitable for a complicated websites which use heavy graphics and high pixel images. The IT industry is all about passing correct information to user as incomplete or incorrect information is not good for either the user or the industry. This is where this plug-in scores poorly. If you come across its plug-in directory page, you will notice that it is written that the load of a responsive site is transferred to the mobile device and if the same theme is used for the mobile and desktop version then lesser data is received by the mobile device. Now this does not seem true, as it would happen only in case either the plug-in or the web designer is bad. So due to this reason this plug-in fair poorly in popularity.

9. Elegant themes handheld Mobile plug-in

This is a kind of plug-in which holds back the themes until needed. To make your desktop theme compatible with a mobile you will have to integrate this plug-in with your non-responsive website and choose a new mobile friendly theme. After tweaking and customization you can finally apply the theme. This plug-in can be used in such a way that any content updates on your website can be automatically updated on your mobile website without altering the layout or the theme of the mobile version of the website. There are abundant themes to choose from and if you want you can choose different themes for the mobile website and the desktop website to enhance user experience. To attain however, the themes should be similar in nature with not changing much with regards to elements to avoid user confusion. The plug-in provides a choice of 87 themes to choose from and also detects as to which device to apply the theme to.

10. iThemes Mobile

iThemes mobile is not a plug-in but a website which offers plug-ins. The plug-in enables users to create and customize their own themes for a mobile template. When a user will visit the site, he can see the mobile theme created by you. This allows maximum control on navigation and menus, also supports a large variety of platforms. When you can create your own themes then your site is bound to be discreet.

In this article I have been able to discuss only about 10 plug-ins for responsive websites but the list is long and time is short to discuss all of them. The library of Plug-ins for CMS tools like WordPress and Joomla is ever expanding as today’s technology cannot be limited in boundaries. A few new plug-ins which are in their beta stage or have been lately introduced are also worth a mention here like WP Resolutions, which is a plug-in which resets the image resolution as per the screen size of the device. GPP Shortcodes is an excellent plug-in which provides assistance in making an existing non-responsive website into a responsive website without touching its source code. FitVids is a WordPress plug-in specially designed for making the videos of your website responsive. It allows you to alter the settings and turn jQuery on and off.

The options of plug-ins are plenty but a web designer in his desperation to make a responsive cannot afford to use all of them, as it would not be possible or feasible. So it is better to select the right one’s as per the website demand and only then use.

Author Bio:

Kristy Bernales has a great experience in the business of website development. She is employed with a reputed professional web designing company Web Design Xperts in Melbourne where she provides corporate website design consultancy services. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to know more.

Stanislaus Okwor is a Web Designer / Developer based in Lagos - Nigeria. He is the Director at Stanrich Online Technologies. He is knowledgeable in Content management System - Wordpress, Joomla and PHP/MySQL etc

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