Configuring The Settings
The settings area is divided into two sections: general and homepage. The general settings control the visual elements of the plugin. The theme that is shown to mobile visitors can be selected, be it the main theme or child theme.
There are four images that can be defined here. 57×57 and 114×114 pixel icons for iOS can be set as can a 320×460 pixel start up image which is shown when your app on iOS loads up. A logo can also be uploaded here.
Elegant Themes have designed Handheld with the iPad in mind though have wisely given users the option of whether their website uses the mobile design instead. This is a good option to offer users as some people feel that mobile designs look too ‘stretched’ on the iPad.
The design of the home page is pre-set though you can configure what pages are shown. The default design has the site logo at the top of the page, search box and navigation menu, introductory text, recent posts and then recent project work.
Each of these sections can be disabled at the bottom of the settings area. If you don’t like this structure, you can replace all sections with a static page instead.
To change the introduction text, you simply change the ‘Home intro page’ via the homepage settings area. Here you can also set which categories are used for your recent posts and for your recent project work area (i.e. portfolio items). The number of items shown in each section can also be changed and there is an option to change the background colour of page too.
Configuring settings should only take a few minutes from start to finish as all you are doing is setting your icons and selecting which sections you want displayed on your home page.
Handheld Mobile Theme
You’ll be pleased to know that the Handheld design itself is fantastic. This is not surprising seeing as this plugin was made by Elegant Themes.
As you saw above, the plugin doesn’t give you much control over how the theme is styled other than changing the background colour and logo. This isn’t really an issue for me as those that do want more control can simply choose a different mobile theme through the plugin settings.
For me, one of the main benefits of the plugin is not having to worry about styling. I wanted a solution that took care of everything for me. Handheld does that.
The above screen shot is from a mobile though I can vouch for the design looking even better on an iPad (due to it’s responsive design). It looks great on Android mobile devices too however I’ve not yet been able to check whether the mobile design is automatically showed to Android tablet users.
Regular website designs look ok on desktop computers, laptops and tablets but they generally look too small on most smartphones today. This is why a plugin such as Handheld is so useful as it only shows the mobile friendly design to those who view your site on mobile devices.
Whilst the plugin doesn’t let you easily change the way the theme looks, you can use the plugin to show other mobile friendly WordPress themes to visitors. So if your WordPress theme comes packaged with a mobile version, you can use Handheld to ensure it is displayed to all mobile visitors.
Handheld comes packaged with the Elegant Themes developer membership, which retails for $89 a year. The membership comes with 75 quality WordPress themes and 4 WordPress plugins. Unfortunately, the plugin is only available through the membership and can’t be purchased on it’s own.