Responsive themes are considered to be excellent for use in mobile because they can be viewed at different resolutions over a number of devices, however they are not created solely for this purpose. Perhaps not as elaborate as responsive themes, mobile themes tend to be simple and rely heavily on navigation menus.
Mobile themes usually cost significantly less because the coding is based upon a user interface system for mobile that is built on top of another framework. In other words, its like creating a child theme from a parent theme. While it is a bit more complex than that, this analogy should provide you with a general idea of the difference between the two.
You may be wondering why anyone would consider using a mobile theme when it is just as easy to use a responsive theme?
This is a good question and while it may seem like responsive themes might be the best choice, there are many reasons why individuals and companies want and need to use a mobile theme including the fact that they are usually easier to set up, cost effective and built for this specific purpose. Some practical applications might include a company who wishes to create a separate mobile site for its contests or promotions or a small personal business owner who does most of his or her selling via craft shows or flea markets. These types of situations may not call for the use of a huge website, but rather a simple method for accessing payments, email and product displays.
Remember, these themes can be set up as an addition to your website in a subfolder called /mobile or something similar and shown only to mobile users or as a complete separate installation all on its own. Each has its own benefit and is based solely on the need of the individual or company.
There is no doubt that mobile is the future and there will always be a need for all WordPress themes that are created for specific purposes, niches and markets. Mobile happens to be one of them and these are some of the best ones.
Mobile is an incredibly fast-growing market and will continue to be. ~ Susan Wojcicki
1. Metro Mobile
One of the top selling mobile WordPress themes on ThemeForest, metro mobile has one of the overall best looking flat designs. It includes the camera slider, perfect Webbu mobile options panel and mobile shortcode editor, tons of icons and unlimited menu (navigation) tiles for creating great designs that are not only visually stunning, but user friendly as well.
Tested on all major platforms, Metro packs a punch with a variety of different features including thirteen different tile variations, twenty four custom colors with the possibility of using unlimited color options, support for multiple image galleries, the contact form plugin, Nextgen gallery plugin and the ability to upload custom backgrounds and splash screens.
The theme has a light and dark version, as well as, custom layout choices such as interchangeable backgrounds, header or no header options, slider or no slider options making for a pretty flexible all around theme.
Created to be fully customizable, Bean Mobile WordPess Theme comes with numerous post format types, two different navigation menus, unlimited categories, menu items and supports portfolio, gallery, video and sound cloud.
The sliding navigation menu can be placed either on the right or left side and adds a special touch to the design. Either is effective, however I personally prefer the right side because a great percentage of the population is right handed and most users have a one hand method for mobile phone usage.
Like most themes, Bean comes with a host of features including language support, contact form widget, shortcodes, easy to use admin panel and seven ready made layouts.
Exclusively from ThemeForest, Wow is its top selling WordPress mobile theme, running in close competition to Metro.
Wow’s one click install and easy to use fun system is what makes this theme so popular. When you think about it, Mobile is supposed to be fun, personal and easy to use.
WoW delivers with nine customisable preset colour schemes, powerful theme configuration options and multiple page templates. Play with your design by adding your own high resolution logo, custom fonts, shortcodes and page layouts.
Wow is a great option for a personal mobile site because it can be created by just about anyone with limited WordPress experience and technical know-how.
Yes, its that simple!
Provocateur WordPress is a simple mobile template that was built in jQuery Mobile, HTML5 and CSS3.
It was developed for use on all mobile devices, however it is highly optimized for use in Apple products.
In fact, it looks and feels like an Apple product and has a really nice custom slider that appears three dimensional.
Its main features include Facebook commenting integration, gallery and portfolio capabilities, a classic style blog with QR Code sharing and a fully customizable main page.
It is not hard to see by the rich images and glass like icons that it is retina ready and has a classic style navigation menu that suits its purpose well.
Complete with a two level accordion style menu, Point WordPress mobile theme was designed with a modular structure.
Point’s overall look is similar to a polished magazine style and is perfect for a variety of business websites.
Enable or disable the custom post types and shortcodes from the plugin menu, choose the colors, fonts and layouts from the admin panel or use your own page builder to customize the theme.
Its main features include language support, contact form validation, vimeo and youtube video capabilities, and it has a really nice top slide menu.
Technology has changed the landscape of web design on several occasions, we have gone from small low resolution screens with limited images, to heavy flash designs, to extremely large viewing areas and now we are headed back in the direction to the smallest device possible.
Oddly, one thing that has not changed is the size of the reading and viewing areas. That was until Grunt came along and changed all that.
Grunt WordPress mobile theme’s content is huge!
It does one thing and one thing only, its puts each page or post front page and center without a great deal of unnecessary distraction. In the world of mobile, quick and easy is the best way to go and when you want to send the message loud and clear, you can always Grunt!
Perfect for a straightforward blog or promotional type site, Grunt is big, bold and beautiful.
From the same creators of the Metro, Bean, and Point theme, Mobit is yet another fantastic mobile design from Webbu’s repertoire, clearly establishing them as one of the top mobile authors on ThemeForest.
Mobit is one of the cleanest and elegant looking professional designs on this list, in fact, it is so clean, it almost screams corporate.
Each content area is boxed in a small frame that clearly defines it, and in a mobile theme, this technique works quite nicely. Boxed areas do not always translate well on regular websites, but the compartmentalization of areas on a mobile theme works like a charm. This particular theme was optimized for phones and it makes a great deal of sense seeing that most businesses rely heavily on direct communications.
It comes fully packed with all the features one would expect to see in a quality theme like this one.
Simply, this theme is well done!
Using their own words, the creators of Brave WordPress theme describe it best, “Beautifully dark, minimal and 100% responsive, we wanted to keep it simple.”
BonfireThemes admits that this concept is something that they apply to all of the themes that they create for mobile and tablets.
It is not hard to see by the numerous themes they have, that they have definitely achieved this goal.
Brave is dark, clean, simple and responsive.
One of its main features includes a customized version of PhotoSwipe, the popular touch-enabled gallery system. PhotoSwipe integrates with WordPress allowing your visitors to swipe, pinch and zoom their way through your images creating a highly interactive user experience.
From the creators of the Brave theme above, Hero WordPress mobile theme also comes with the customized PhotoSwipe Gallery feature.
In fact, these two themes are so very close in overall design and functionality that they simply had to be listed close together in this list as well.
Hero. like Brave, was designed to be super simple to use even though it provides huge amounts of functionality and comes with a wide variety of options such as multiple color schemes, unique menus, comments and contact form areas, customizable shortcodes and so much more.
The perfect theme for a small mobile site or as an addition to your current site, Hero is no sidekick, it stands alone.
The Hunter WordPress Theme was also created by Bonfire but is slightly different than its predecessors Hero and Brave because it is a bit more flat, clean and classy. It is every bit as powerful and productive.
Hunter proudly boasts that it is one of the flattest themes on all of ThemeForest and I would tend to agree with them, Hunter is definitely flat.
In keeping with the goals of the creators, Hunter is simple, easy to use and as you might have guessed, it also has the famous custom PhotoSwipe gallery integrated in the theme.
I suppose if you truly think about, if its not broken, why fix it?
The galleries and portfolios are super amazing and fun to play with using this feature and this is what makes a mobile theme worth its weight in gold.
Delta is hands down, the most minimalistic and flat WordPress mobile theme in this entire list.
It uses minimum jQuery plugins for smooth running and has amazing compatibility with older mobile devices, but make no mistake, it is a modern, fully responsive and retina ready theme.
While it might be minimalistic, it certainly is not lacking in any options and features.
Delta comes fully loaded with the popular Flex Slider, one to four column support, SEO, social media and a host of ready made pages including an author page, tag page, category page, archive page and a whole lot more.
Simple does not mean that it is lacking, it only means that it does what it needs to do and nothing more ~ simple as that!
And then there was Spartan!
Spartan is one of the most comprehensive and flexible mobile themes. Its design is somewhat dark but elegant enough to be suitable for a variety of different purposes.
For starters, Spartan has a unique ‘layered’ design, a customisable two-level pull-down accordion menu, touch and swipe gallery, 10 post formats, and a ton of shortcodes.
If that wasn’t already enough, its design is simply superb with beautiful background images, subtle navigation menus and crystal clear graphics that will grab your viewer’s attention and never let go.
Breathe is a very simple and minimalistic theme that is best suited for mobile blogging or personal mobile sites.
Breathe’s main features include six themes layouts which are easy to customize through the theme options panel, six different transition animations, over fifteen different shortcodes and a footer widget area for adding all those things that make your site unique.
The portfolio in this theme creates a nice ribbon effect across the image that makes it stand at attention.
When you can get a user to focus on something, you have done your job as a designer. The image caption is a nice touch and a great way to get your users to focus on the message that you want to send to them.
Sometimes, simple is just better!
Chablis is a clean and highly customizable WordPress mobile theme that has over twenty five options in its admin panel alone. Add this to a liquid like scrolling quality and you have yourself one incredible mobile theme.
You can upload your very own custom splash screen, CSS rules, logo, favicon or home screen icons to make your site more personal.
Finally, add a splash of color to your top and side menus to liven things up a little.
If you are looking for a really flexible and customizable theme, Chablis has everything you could ever need in a mobile theme and more.
15 . Mobili
Sometimes you just have to save the best for last and that is exactly what I have done with the Mobili WordPress theme from none other than Webbu.
The very fact that five of the best themes on this list were created by Webbu, might be a testament to how awesome Mobili is.
One of the few themes to include WooCommerce for mobile, Mobili is a complete product store in the palm of your hands. Sell products online “in the in moment” to your customers and never lose a sale again is the strategy behind this theme, and an incredibly smart one at that.
Fully customizable and packed with a number of truly amazing features, Mobili is one of the most up to date and modern mobile themes today.
It is interesting to note that some (if not all) of these themes can be used as both mobile and web based sites if you’re looking for a simple and minimalistic style site. I would not recommend this because there are so many other beautiful and more practical themes on the market, there is bound to be something for everyone.
For individuals who cannot afford to invest a great deal in a fully loaded premium theme, these themes are a cost effective alternative.
Its not hard to notice that many of these themes were created by Webbu and Bonfire themes, solidifying them both as the premiere mobile theme creators.
Mobile design is limited in some small way by the technology that is used to create it and there are only so many designs, plugins and features that you can use to build them, however that does not stop any of these designers from creating amazing themes. As I recall this list in my mind, I realize that I have no real preference in any of these themes.
In fact, I think they are equally stunning and adequate for the purpose that they were created.
Certainly well priced, any of the fifteen amazing themes on this list can help take your mobile site to new levels and offer your users a great viewing experience. The choice really lies in what your preferences are to menu types, positions, font sizes and the overall look and feel of each theme.