Jetpack

How to improve your User Experience using Jetpack

Jetpack has a ton of features (more than 30) that help you improve your WordPress site or blog in many ways – both for yourself as administrator as well as for your readers. Today I’m going to focus on eight Jetpack features that you can use to improve the User Experience of your site so that visitors find it easier to navigate and stick around longer.

Performance and Stability

It can seem like a no-brainer but the absolute worst user experience when visiting a site is when the site doesn’t work at all or takes a long time to load. Jetpack comes with two must-have features that stop this from happening:

  1. Photon
    Turning on Photon means that all your images get automatically served to users from the WordPress.com content delivery network (CDN) which means faster images for your readers (and less load on your host). To turn it on all you have to do is go to the Jetpack page in your blog dashboard and click the Activate button for Photon. And if you’re a developer, you can also speed up your theme with Photon.

  2. Monitor
    All sites go down once in a while. It could be your database, your host, some rogue code – whatever the reason, your visitors don’t really care, they just want to see your stuff! Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected so that you hear it from us first.

 

Mobile Devices

If you keep tabs on your traffic you’ve probably noticed you’re getting more and more visitors browsing your site from a mobile device: smart phones and tables of all shapes and sizes. Jetpack provides two features that help you make the reading experience on these devices significantly better:

  1. Mobile theme
    Jetpack comes with a responsive theme that works instantly on all mobile browsers. It also comes with various options and settings that enable you to choose exactly how you’d like your mobile browsing experience to work.

  2. Custom CSS
    Jetpack’s Custom CSS feature lets you tweak your site’s appearance to your heart’s content in a way that doesn’t break your theme when an upgrade is released. In addition, you can also create custom CSS for your mobile theme, further refining your mobile experience.

 

Interaction

Finally the last set of features deal with enabling your visitors to interact with your site, content and the community in a smoother fashion:

  1. Likes
    This feature puts a “Like” button on your posts and is a way for people to show their appreciation for your content. Enabling it is a short two-step process.

  2. Related Posts
    This feature pulls relevant content from your blog to display at the bottom of your posts. If the feature is enabled, a section of related posts appears just underneath your Likes (if you’ve turned these on). Just activate the feature from your Jetpack dashboard to turn them on but you can also customize how they display.

  3. Infinite Scroll
    Infinite scroll simply means that when a visitor scrolls to the bottom of your posts page Jetpack will automatically load the next set of posts without requiring clicking on any buttons. Activating it is similar to “Related Posts” above but not every theme supports it.

  4. Jetpack Comments
    When someone reads an article on your site and wants to comment, they can now use one of their existing social networking accounts to post a comment. No longer do they need to create yet another account and profile! You can also customize how Jetpack Comments display.

 

That’s it! Eight Jetpack features that can help your visitors have a more pleasurable experience when visiting your site. If you’ve not used Jetpack before, read our step-by-step installation guide here to try it out for yourself.

If you are a Jetpack user already please tell us what you think in the comments and, if you’d like to get involved by writing a guest post about Jetpack get in touch!

Posted in Features, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Customize the Jetpack Mobile Theme

Howdy Jetpackers,

You might already be familiar with the Mobile Theme module: it displays your content in a clean, uncluttered interface for phones, making it easy visitors to access your latest post on the go.

If you have enabled the Mobile Theme module, your mobile visitors see a fresh blue home page:

Jetpack Mobile screenshots

But did you know you could customize the look of this Mobile Theme? With a few simple changes, bring your site’s mobile experience more in line with the full-screen version. Your can customize both the kinds of content that appear on your mobile home page and the colors and header.

Customize the contents of your homepage

The Mobile Theme includes two home page options:

  1. You can choose to display excerpts or full posts on the home and archive pages.
  2. You can show a promo for WordPress mobile apps in your footer.

Access these options by clicking on Configure under the Mobile Theme module in the Jetpack menu.

Change the look of the theme

It does use a lovely shade of blue, but what if the Mobile Theme could use the same color scheme as your desktop theme? The same header and background? Luckily, you can do just that — and more!

We’ll go through three ways to customize the Mobile Theme. Depending on what you want to do and how comfortable you are with code, you can make changes through the Customizer, with CSS, or with actions and filters.

Through the Customizer

If your theme features a Custom Background or a Custom Header, the images or colors will automatically be ported over to the Mobile Theme, no additional work needed.

To get started with headers and backgrounds, go to Appearance >> Themes in your dashboard, and click “Customize”:

Customize your theme

If your desktop theme supports them, you’ll be able to specify a custom header or a custom background for your desktop and Jetpack’s Mobile theme.

Through the Custom CSS Module

Jetpack includes a module named Custom CSS that allows you to add your own CSS code without having to edit your theme stylesheet. The custom CSS editor is available under Appearance >> Edit CSS in your dashboard.

You may have used it to make changes to your desktop theme, but it also includes a Mobile-compatible option:

Custom CSS options

If you choose the mobile compatible option, all your custom CSS will also apply to the Mobile theme.

You can also use CSS to make changes that are specific to the Mobile theme. To do that, use the .mobile-theme class to target only the Mobile theme.

Custom mobile theme layouts

Through actions and filters

Jetpack’s Mobile theme, like other themes and plugins, uses actions and filters to add data and features to your site. If you want to remove or edit some of the mobile theme’s functions, you can build a small plugin.

Here is a small example: we will add post authors’ Gravatar images before each post on the mobile home page. To do this, we’ll create a new function named jetpackme_author_image, and we will hook that function into the the_content filter.

// Check if we are on mobile
function jetpackme_is_mobile() {

    // Are Jetpack Mobile functions available?
    if ( ! function_exists( 'jetpack_is_mobile' ) )
        return false;

    // Is Mobile theme showing?
    if ( isset( $_COOKIE['akm_mobile'] ) && $_COOKIE['akm_mobile'] == 'false' )
        return false;
 
    return jetpack_is_mobile();
}

// Let's add the post author's Gravatar image, but only if we're on a mobile device
function jetpackme_maybe_add_filter() {

    // On mobile, and on the home page?
    if ( jetpackme_is_mobile() && is_home() ) {
        add_filter( 'the_content', 'jetpackme_author_image' );
    }
}
add_action( 'wp_head', 'jetpackme_maybe_add_filter' );

// Build the function
function jetpackme_author_image( $content ) {

    global $post;
    $avatar = get_avatar( $post->post_author );

    return $avatar . $content;
}

You could use a similar method to add, edit, or remove features from the Mobile theme. (If you do, please let us know about the cool things you built with the Jetpack Mobile Theme!)

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Jetpack’s Mobile Theme? Is there a particular Jetpack module you’d like to learn more about? Let us know!

Posted in Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Jetpack 2.1: Tiled Galleries

Posting photo galleries on your WordPress blog is a fun way to share your experiences with the world, but do plain old thumbnail grids truly express your artistic side? No, they don’t. That’s why we’ve added tiled galleries to Jetpack.

Tiled galleries allow you to create beautiful photo mosaics for your blog posts. Just activate the Tiled Gallery module (and optionally set the tiled layout as the default) to create gorgeous galleries in seconds. Your friends will envy you, and your enemies will fear you.

You might be thinking, “Are tiled galleries the only new feature in Jetpack 2.1? If they are, that’s certainly understandable, because it’s an amazing addition to an already feature-rich plugin.” No, tiled galleries are not the only new feature; we’ve also added a slideshow mode for galleries. Just choose Slideshow from the Type dropdown when creating your gallery, and you’ll instantly have a dynamic photo display. Slideshows and tiled galleries both look amazing on mobile devices, and they both integrate seamlessly with the Carousel module.

In addition to giving you new ways to show off your photographs, we’ve spent a lot of time fixing bugs, too.  Photon, Infinite Scroll, Publicize, Sharing, and the Contact Form modules have all been given some TLC, and the Custom CSS editor has been updated. For a complete list of changes, see the changelog.

Update: Jetpack 2.1.1 has been released to fix a bug that was preventing updates from Jetpack 1.9.2 and older.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

Jetpack 2.0.3 Released

This release continues to refine Jetpack’s handling of images in Photon (our image accelerator) and enhances theme and plugin compatibility with Infinite Scroll.

Jetpack’s Custom CSS Editor also gets a major overhaul for this release. The editing experience is now more streamlined and supports Sass and LESS as alternatives to traditional CSS. Write your site’s styles in your preferred language, and Jetpack handles the rest.

Those are the highlights, but this release also fixes many other issues you reported. For a complete list of changes, see the official Jetpack Changelog.

The update will be available in your WordPress dashboard shortly. Alternatively, you can always download the latest version of Jetpack here at jetpack.me.

Remember these fixes are made possible by bug reports submitted by you (thanks!), so please contact support or post in the support forum if you need help.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Jetpack 1.7: Custom CSS

The updates just keep on rolling in—Custom CSS has just landed in Jetpack! You now have the ability to add to or replace your theme’s CSS right from your blog dashboard, no child theme required.

To use the CSS editor, first make sure the Custom CSS panel is activated on your main Jetpack page and go to Appearance → Edit CSS. You’ll find the editing interface is fueled up with features like syntax coloring, auto-indentation, and immediate feedback on the validity of the CSS you’re writing. Revisions are saved in case you make a mistake, and invalid CSS is removed on save.

In addition, we’re always working to improve the existing features in Jetpack.  Jetpack Comments got a nice UI improvement in this release: when you submit a comment, there’s no more annoying fullpage load on jetpack.wordpress.com.  Everything stays on your site :)  Also, if you’re using the pretty (a.k.a. not “official”) sharing buttons, we’ve added share counts to the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn buttons.

Last but not least, no release is complete without bug fixes.  We fixed a bunch of bugs in the Sharing, Contact Form, Subscriptions, Carousel, and other features.  For a more complete list of bug fixes, see the changelog.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments
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