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Blog Theme with view to release (54 posts)

  1. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I hope a few people can take a critical look at the design I'm working on.

    Its a 3 column WordPress theme, a cut and paste special, one that has the two sidebars on all pages and a few divs there for people to put stuff in.

    I've also moved the navigation links, and the HI a link header and the description.

    My aim was to build a blog that worked ok on a 800 resolution screen and fitted ok on the usual 1024, a bit like the BBC website. I'm also looking for it to validate with xhtml and css, so far, tough wood, all is well there.

    This version might be a little image heavy but what I release will not be.

    I've also used slices of images for the banners, which allows for all manner of artistic shennanigans.

    The URL is below

    http://www.kirkbytimes.co.uk/wordpress7

    I'll be working on it and would really appreciate some pointers to what might make it look better.

  2. Samuel B
    moderator
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Viewing in FF - what I see.
    Left sidebar:
    Under "Parent Guidance Rating" it's unredable. It looks like lines of text on top of one another.
    Under "Pages" the about box is sitting on top of the text about Kirby?Times.
    To be honest, I don't think the header (though I like it) goes with the colors of the site. I think it's a bit heavy on the red so maybe you could incorporate some of the colors from the header image into the rest of it?

  3. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I clicked away instantly.

    Honestly, that theme is unusable the way it currently is. Far too crowded. Far too red. The links are just weird...just not a good design, to be frank

  4. monkeypup
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    AAAAAHHHH!

  5. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I've just installed firefox and see the issues there, but should not be a problem to solve.

    The colours don't matter much as I can alter them. Too much red? Perhaps, but the main text area, is plain black on white.

    In what way do the links look 'wierd'? Do you think plain links would be best? With no bullet and hover bullet?

    I suppose its a bit crowded, but with 3 columns in 800px its hard to look spacious.

    The site will have at least 35 banners, and I'll style each theme to refelct that, hence the red theme you see right.

    Monkeypup, I'm not sure how to take the 'AHHHH!'. Can you be a little but more, constructive?

    What I release will have no images, just a fill in banner and Css divs once I'v cleared up the Firefox fixes.

  6. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    maybe we're not seeing the same thing, but it looks aweful on this end:

    http://www.5images.com/uploads/770f5e8e9e.gif

    and yes, colors can be changed, but they aren't. We're critiquing the way it looks now

  7. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Firefox issues sorted apart from a small issue with page posts needing to have more of a margin, or something. I'll sort that tommorow.

    I see the point about colour, but you'll see a few themes appear in the website/blog as I tweak it, and I'll repost here when I do so.

    I'm taking onboard all the suggestions and will redesign to make it at least easy to navigate.

  8. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    no, what you need to do is scrap that theme and start over. I seriously cannot imagine someone seeing that and wanting their blog to look that way and downloading it...

  9. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Resiny, the theme is just a basic three column that fits into a 800 resolution monitor without scrolling. It looks ok on big 19" lcd also. The 3 columns appear on all pages.

    It validates with css and xhtml.

    It is a foundation worth keeping, and there are plenty of WP themes which go for 3 columns, but not many can be read on a 800 or even 1024 monitor without the dreaded sidescroll.

    It also offers a nice sliced header, or just a single image if you want.

    I think the basic foundation of the design is good, and will continue to ammend it till I think it is good enough to offer.

  10. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I've just looked at 6 3 column themes offered for download, 2 or 3 sidescroll, but all invalidate in the xhtml if you test them out.

    That was the first 6 downloads of three column themes, although many errors will likely be widget errors, most of the theme examples seem to be crammed full of Google ads, which makes me wonder at the purpose of offering themes.

    I think theme downloads, or the example page, ought to validate. I want to see a verifed theme before I install it.

    All these WP themes are on the WP codex website.

  11. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Not trying to get in a flame war, just bringing you a users perspective:

    Joe WP user could care less what validation is. He doesn't even know. He just want's the slickest looking three column theme out there.

    Take another look at your theme. I don't doubt the codebase is good, but when I said I clicked away instantly, I wasn't kidding. You need to do a complete overhaul of the visuals. If nothing else, scrap the color red from your brain, and replace it with #fff

  12. Chris_K
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Hrmmm, this is a tough one. Technically, the theme is great. And I'm sure it is pure and validates well. For that, kudos! I could forsee using this and building on it in the future. Solid multi-column layouts are gold.

    "Artistically", it looks like a blood bath.

    Fortunately, I can look past some of the graphics and the color and see that the layout is damned sweet. But yeah... it is a bit hard on the eyes. ;-)

    (and I WILL be watching for the release)

  13. pizdin_dim
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Since you asked for pointers to what might make it look better:

    1. It's far too busy. Everyithing is fighting with everything else for the readers attention.
    2. The sidebars are distracting. I think it's the red.
    3. Too many shades of red. You probably doon't need them.
    4. Get rid of that checkered effect in the sidebars.

    In a nutshell: I know you want red, red, red, but it's just too full of distractions and leaves too much for the main content to have to fight with in order to get noticed.

    BTW: I hope you're going to obliterate that log fire and candle animation. It's awful.

  14. spencerp
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Hahaha, I'm laughing about the last three replies, because they nailed it to a "t" on the way I feel about it. =) And also to add, I think it's great you're making a three column theme that fits nicely in the screen for us using 800x600 res. =)

    Keep up the good work, however though, just maybe minus all that red and whacky imagery. Eww..that can for surely go down the toilet lmao!! ;) =p

    spencerp

    Just was kidding about that last ending few words lol..

  15. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Resin, I'm new here and the last thing I want to do is have a flame war. I appreciate the advice you give, but I think you might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater in this instance. Saying that, you gave an opinion on a blog design which has altered maybe 20 times since.

    Classic quote = "'Artistically', it looks like a blood bath." Lol, tell it like it is. I see the point though and you've all persuaded me there.

    I guess my mistake is that I've basically put up my own design meant for a specific location, i.e. Liverpool, when I ought to just be doing a blank theme release without the liverbird logos and so on and so forth.

    I suppose not many people would want a blog with Liverpool splashed all over it, plus the red of Liverpool and some more red and so on. I suppose also that the Christian symbol and the star is not everyone’s cup of tea. Bear in mind the banners are not going to be included, they are my own and I use them in css theme switchers elsewhere, and now the excellent WordPress theme switcher.

    What I'll do is concentrate on a plain version of the design, keep the structural side of it but not force my own aesthetic choices of red, red and more red.

    I'd never actually wear red nor would I want wallpaper that was red. I take the point.

    I'm glad the basic idea of a three column WordPress 2.02 blog that looks ok on an 800 resolution screen is at least a good foundation to start on.

    In defence of the errors in the three column themes on offer - I'd say most would be the excessive use of widgets and simple mistakes like not including alt text with images.

    I realise that 99.99% of people looking to use WordPress do not care about errors in the xhtml or the css, but it is the 0.1% who do care who are right.

    I would not rest with one error and I avoid some widgets like the plague because they invalidate and spoil what was pretty much a perfect example of xhtml and css design.

    The animated fire looks good I thought, but needs tweaking. The candle is as good as animated candles come, nice small file size and the flame looks pretty good.

    I'll post back when I lose the images and the red in the 3 column theme.

    Thanks for the input, it helps a lot.

  16. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    alright, it's looking better now. The sidebars are still way to patterned. I'd seriously consider just making them white, or maybe grey. What would look best would be getting a background images repeating down the page, and then you could have the sidebars stretching to the bottom.

    also, the links with the box around them don't look too hot....

    but yeah, it's starting to look better

  17. Jonathan Landrum
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    LiverpoolLad, I want to commend you for the way you've responded, especially in your last post. The average person would have taken this whole thread personally and gotten their feelings hurt. But you've shown professionalism, and that's a critical character trait. And to keep my comment on the subject, I am pleased to see you strive for validation with your theme. Keep up the good work!

  18. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Cheers Resiny, you won't see the blood red nightmare any more. The sidebar pattern is just a small image repeated in the ul css but yes, it would better just plain white or grey.

    I was looking to stretch the sidebars to the bottom of the page but am unclear as to how to do so. Thats a major issue come to think of it. I'll try the image repeat in the sidebars, only other way would to have some background image in the content or body match the two sidebars if you know what I mean.

  19. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    alright, to get the sidebars repeating down, you'd get an image 760 pixels wide, with a white background and with a grey patch on each side the width of the sidebars, then you set the the rap background like so:

    background: url(images/imagelocation.gif) repeat-y;

    and it will go all the way down the page, and it'll look dandy.

    Random example would be DarrenBarefoot.com. You can see his background image here

  20. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Resiny, I've done that and it works like a charm after twiddling a bit getting the image right in photoshop, its tiny in file size also as you only need to make it a few pixels high.

    I've dropped all the red and gone for good old black and white and dropped the banner also. I could leave instructions for people to do a banner, even a sliced one, which I suppose only a few would actually do.

    I like this one better

    Link is http://www.kirkbytimes.co.uk/wordpress7/

    (Link given to save people scrolling up again)

    Thanks Jonlandrum, I'm just trying to keep the forums good natured and hoping to learn a few things. Theme is still xhtml and css verified, though I'll need to check all the various pages to make sure that all the Css is valid across the blog or website.

    One bit of red remains there, somehow the drop down theme gets a 2px red border in Firefox, and I've got red buttons on the calendar, but they are photoshop specials, and I'll put the original buttons back.

  21. 7milesdown
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    looks extremely cluttered.

  22. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Cluttered?

    Its gone from over 100 images (with the slices) to just one image, and is almost a minimal sort of theme now.

    Bear in mind that a website theme with three columns and fitting onto a 800 resolution screen will look a little cluttered but the question is simply whether the user can quickly work out what buttons to press to read whatever they like the look of, I think it is on the way there.

    I'm thinking of ditching the calendar because it is a killer for trying to attain the a standard or aaa standard for disability complience, something which I'm interested in. WordPress, out of the box, untouched, might well hit standard or level a - the only question is whether wordpress can be read without a css file - I've played around and it seems you can read a wordpress blog with no css. If WordPress can get level a then it ought to have a little link and WordPress could make a play of having that feather in the cap.

  23. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Holy crap. It's almost to the point now where I think it looks really good. I'd make that huge bar between each post a lot thinner. Like about 3 pixels instead of 20. I'd also left align the sidebars instead of center, and make all the sidebar links the same. Other than that, I can honestly say it's looking pretty good. Well done

  24. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I might as well give both sidebars the same width also, or maybe give the main middle section 30 pixels extra.

    I'd like to incorporate the top navigation menu into icons with rollover effects using css.

    You can have one rollover image to cover all the seperate icons or images - or do 9 different divs for 9 different images. I want to add the meta links up top alongside the normal WP standard links so that you have those links neatly lined up in a row at the top of the page above your blog name and the description. It makes more sense as you generally have to scroll down to hit your user name and password, or test the coding out.

    By the way, Origami will become the new standard to aspire to, that fluid width works great with WordPress and it covers 780 to 1200px. I admit the top menu I plan is inspired by that layout and the phpbb forums. I'd love to get a peek at that Origami theme as it uses some great techniques which I'm keen on learning.

  25. Jonathan Landrum
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    It looks like you can beta the theme. I'm highly interested in this. I hadn't heard of it before; good find LiverpoolLad.
    http://www.leevigraham.com/2006/05/04/now-running-the-beta-wordpress-20-theme-release-of-origami/

  26. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Someone else found that theme and I just found the link to the authors website.

    I wish I could do as well as Origami but I'm at the basics of php.

    Anyhow, I've restyled the theme I'm doing to the point were you can barely see the original.

    The only images now are the little wordpress logo divider and the background repeat y image for the main content. Thats a loss of 50 to 80 images, as I had slices.

    There are still a good few things I need to test out, but not one bit of red remains. What I'll do is fill up the blog with some text and a few images to test it out and do a few lists and blockquotes and use up any html mark up that any user can get to. You never know with Css whether some 2px border will crash the entire site until you view each scenario that could be called up. In WordPress you have a few html elements which are called up in the php and so you need to plod on with that.

    I'll also test out a few common widgets (no adverts) and will include a list of those that are verified working in WordPress 2.02.

  27. DomFontana
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Liverpool,

    I'm coming in late on this and I just checked it and I think it's great. I'm using IE and it looks and works fine. The one I'm looking at is black and white, so I imagine it used to be red and then you changed it.

    It's very logically and functionally laid out. That's the way I like it.

    I figured it had to be good coming from someone from the Beatles' town.

    Good luck and keep up the good work.

  28. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Thanks DomFontana, the theme has altered a lot from its original.

    The one up now is just plain black and white, with a little discreet wordpress logo in between posts.

    I'm hoping to release a simple 3 column blog/website that could easily be customised for little community groups and so on. I'm also trying to comply with disability issues by at least having all the text easy to read and have organised the css to group each main divs elements with comments for anything that might help, and some sort of instructions text file. And also a sample image, which some themes have left out.

    As a nice add on offer, I've located a free ico file format maker, and offer a small psd file so you can maybe add one or two initials on a colour background and have your own favicon and smart desktop shortcut to your blog or website.

    I'll tidy it up for IE and FF and opera, but I have no Mac (a shame I know) so will have to await mac users view of the situation.

  29. resiny
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Looks pretty good. I'd still probably change some stuff if I were to use it as a three column theme, but it's good enough to release. Just one thing, take the background colors off of the top navigation.

    Nice work, and like somebody else said, I respect the fact that you took all the critique so well

  30. LiverpoolLad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Criticism is the mother of invention in many ways.

    I'm still working away on this theme, but my servers on 1&1 have been moody today, never had issues there really. It is bit pricey, but usually stable.

    If you can get through, I'm working through the html mark ups, and trying to tidy up a few things. It will take a few weeks I guess to have it fair and square but I'll beta it myself.

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