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How to add Polka Dot Cottage to your phone

The Polka Dot Cottage Android app stopped working last month, and I didn’t think anything of it. As of February 2015, the website looks nice and works well on mobile devices, and I assumed most people were just coming here directly in their browsers and weren’t bothering with the app. The website works a lot better than that app did.

Well, I found out this week that there are still app users out there (thanks, Melissa, for letting me know) and since I don’t want to continue maintaining the app, I thought it might be helpful to give you another option that you can use with any device, mobile or otherwise.

There are two options, actually, and you can use whichever works better for your reading habits and your devices:

  1. Add a PDC shortcut to your home screen so you can easily visit PDC whenever you want to. It will look like an app icon, even though it opens a web page in your device’s browser.
  2. Subscribe to push notifications so that you are instantly notified when a new post appears.

Add a PDC shortcut to your home screen

You can do this in any browser, as far as I know, whether you are on an Android phone, a Windows PC, an iPad, or a million other devices.

The screenshots and instructions are for an Android phone running the Chrome browser. Different browsers and devices may use other terminology, but the functionality should be there.

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Visit https://lisaclarke.net in your device’s browser. Tap on the 3-dot menu in the upper right corner.

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Tap “Add to Home screen.”

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Change the name, if you like (I removed all of the extra stuff after Polka Dot Cottage on mine), and tap “ADD.”

And that is it! You should see the little flower icon on your home screen. Tap it like you would any app, the browser will open, and go straight to Polka Dot Cottage.

This process, by the way, works on any website you’d like to put on your home screen.

Subscribe to push notifications

First, make sure you are reading this directly on my website (not in a reader, or in email).

If you use Chrome (Desktop & Android), Safari (Mac OS X), or Firefox (Desktop), you might have noticed that new little red bell icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. The bell icon allows you to subscribe to notifications.

Don’t see the bell in the corner? Click the icon below:

Tap the bell icon (or click/tap above) on whatever device you are using, and you will be asked if you want to subscribe to notifications. If you accept, you’ll get a push notification (if you’re on a phone/tablet) or a desktop notification (if you’re on a computer) next time a new blog post is published.

Here’s how the subscription process looks on an Android phone using Chrome (it’s similar on other browsers and devices).

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Tap the bell icon.

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You will be shown a sample notification. Tap “CONTINUE” to subscribe. (I am considering changing the wording on this button, so it may actually say “YES PLEASE” when you see it).

If you change your mind, tap “NO THANKS” instead.

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Now your browser wants to make sure you meant to do that, so tap “ALLOW” if you’re sure.

Note that the website serving the notifications is “polkadotcottage.onesignal.com” and not “www.lisaclarke.net.” This is intentional. OneSignal is the service I am using to create these notifications. There are technical reasons why it is set up this way, but I don’t want to bore you to tears. Just know that it’s all legit and that every notification points back here to lisaclarke.net.

And that’s it!

Now you have all of the functionality of the Polka Dot Cottage app (and then some), without having to actually install a new app.

Unsubscribing

If later you decide you don’t want the shortcut on your home screen, just drag and drop it into the trash.

If you decide to unsubscribe from notifications, that’s a bit trickier, but still do-able:

  • Each notification has a small gear icon on it. Tap (or click) the gear.
  • This part is handled differently depending on your browser and your device. You will see a link that begins “https://polkadotcottage…”  Tap “CLEAR & RESET” in Chrome on Android, or click the “X” next to “Allow” in Chrome for Windows. Firefox and Safari might have different terminology, but it should be something along these lines.
  • Confused? Try a Google search (i.e. “Disabling Push Notifications in Safari” or whatever your browser/device combination may be.)

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