If you’ve worked with WordPress for a while, you’re familiar with the theme preview option that allows you to view a theme with your site’s content without actually activating it on your site.
On your WordPress.com site, you can preview another theme by going to the Dashboard and selecting Appearance > Themes. The Theme Selector page displays with thumbnails of all the available themes. Select the theme thumbnail you want to preview, then select Preview.
The theme preview is a great way to check out a new layout, features, and functionality of a theme.
This afternoon when I was searching for a new theme for our our Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup website, I discovered WordPress.com goes a step further with responsive theme previews.
When you preview a responsive theme on WordPress.com, you have the additional options of viewing how the theme displays on the desktop, tablet, or smartphone by selecting one of three icons on the theme preview page.
You take the same steps to preview the responsive theme, but when the theme preview displays, three icons are shown at the bottom of page. Choosing one of the icons will display the theme for that device.
Here’s how the Twenty Eleven theme looks on desktop:
And here’s how Twenty Eleven looks on a tablet and smartphone. You’ll notice that the chosen device icon is highlighted for each display.
I loved that I could easily see how the responsive theme looked in different devices. I tested the responsive theme preview on self-hosted WordPress.org sites, but the different device viewing options aren’t available.
Have you seen this option for responsive themes on WordPress.com? What do you think?
Update March 11, 2014: The preview with the three device icons is only available when you’re logged into your WordPress.com account. It’s not available when you preview themes in the WordPress.com Theme Showcase.