Support » Your WordPress » Constructive Crit Appreciated for my WP Theme!

  • EMG


    Forum Volunteer has been my latest website project and is my latest WP theming project.

    I’m to a point in my theming process where I’m about 75% done and about 90% satisfied with my results.

    I know there is a lot more I can do and there is some more that I think I want to do, but I know that too much might become overkill, which is something I want to avoid.

    If anyone has the time and energy, I would appreciate it if you could take a look at my site and poke around it a bit (there is no content, really, yet) to look at the layout, the design, and structuring of things and then give me some constructive criticism and/or commentary.

    Here is what I had in mind when I first started building and designing the theme:

    EMG: Enigmatic-FLEX is a two-columned, flexible-width (shrinks and expands to fit different screen resolutions) theme inspired by the Uchilla theme that has been built and designed using strict XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.0 coding and has been rigorously tested to be cross-browser compatible for Firefox 2.0+, Internet Explorer 7.0+*, Safari 3+, and Opera 9.5+.

    The style of the theme is the result of a marriage between grayscale high-contrast high-tech elegance and post-apocalyptic alleyway grunge with a handful of rock ā€˜nā€™ roll and punk thrown in and about for a good measure.

    The theme is as indulgent as it is practical as it features a collection of personalized custom graphics to adorn the simplistic two-column flexible design.

    The theme is also as enigmatic as it is straightforward as there are secrets that are tucked away amongst objects visible to the naked eye while the man with the Mona Lisa smile looks on.

    Elegant grunge. Straightforward mystery. Practical Impracticality.


    – I like what I have, now, but am not entirely sure if I managed to hit the original idea of my theme on the nail head or not. If I haven’t, please give me suggestions on how to do so. I am looking more for a feel rather than blatant ‘THIS IS GRUNGE!’ so telling me to look up ‘grunge’ and ‘punk’ and such will not help.

    – My theme is indulgent (my personal website catering first and foremost to my own tastes) and in some ways, user-unfriendly because of all the graphical adornments. Accessibility is important to me, despite this, so I have been hesitant to do more graphical work on the site. Opinions on the amount of ‘prettiness’ – enough vs not enough – are much appreciated.

    – I have done my best to make my theme as cross-browser compatible as possible and where the png graphics will show up with disgusting blue backgrounds in IE 6 due to the alpha transparencies, the layout itself and the placement of everything will and should show up properly. If the layout doesn’t show up properly, please let me know and tell me how to reproduce the error?

    – The theme is flexible width, meaning that the layout will scale according to viewing window size. The font/text however, will not (yet). I only have a 1024 x 768 monitor to view the layout and can scale down to 800 x 600. Can someone with a greater resolution monitor take a look and screenshot me what my layout looks like on their screen?

    – I don’t mind the ‘blog’ish look (with all the entries down a column and looking like blog entries), but am wondering if anyone has any other ideas for content presentation or thoughts.

    – I have the number of entries to display at 10. Is that too many? The content on the site will mostly feature creative writing pieces (the majority of the content hidden under the ‘read more’ function) and some of my musings and ramblings and maybe even artwork.

    – If I feature artwork on my site, I am thinking of adding a X number of recent pieces of artwork section to my layout, maybe at the bottom of the writing content in its own container strip with thumbnails of the artwork featured in the container. Too out-of-the-way? A better way to present a navigation strip of artwork?

    Whew. What a long post. Thank you for reading and thank you in advance for taking the time.

    ~ EMG

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • whooami



    you have 2 doctype declarations.

    there’s too much white space when a search returns nothing.

    try this for inspiration on how to fill necessary space >

    it looks a mess in ie6 (though maybe you dont care. if you dont thats fine – i dont need to debate the need to accommodate ie6 users. im just letting ya know.)



    Forum Volunteer

    Thank you!

    I’ll fix the doctype declaration bit; I totally forgot that I had them as I had been switching between XHTML Transitional and Strict when I was laying out my first framework.

    Yes, it looks a mess in IE6 because I didn’t bother changing my pngs to gifs or making them png 8 rather than png 32 or adding the alpha transparency coding. However, I hadn’t realized that the sidebar had shifted after my last restructuring. Thanks for catching that!

    *goes to fix*



    Forum Volunteer

    Okay, whooami, I fixed both the doctype issue and the wonkiness in the layout in IE6. šŸ™‚

    I’m going to work on the Search function page (hadn’t worked on it yet and quite frankly, somehow forgot to – whoops!) but before I do that, I just wanted to address something that you mentioned earlier about accommodating IE6 users.

    My theme looking a mess in IE6 when you looked at it last is not meant to be a (complete) reflection of my opinions on the IE6 browser or the people who use it.

    I actually still use that version myself and so before I made my list style edits and gravatar image testing (that’s the square image on each of my posts), the layout worked and flowed fine in IE6 with the exception of Mozilla’s rounded corners and the fact that there is no margin space between the footer and the end of the page.

    This issue of IE6 optimization in terms of designing graphics is actually one that I have struggled with ever since I’ve done front-end web stuff and alpha transparencies were supported in other browsers but not in IE.

    The graphics can be optimized to display more decently on IE6, but at a cost to both quality and effect across all other browsers.

    Effects like anti-aliasing, glowing, drop-shadowing against a transparent background all tend to invoke the use of alpha transparencies rather than just index transparencies.

    If your objects in question are rounded rather than squared and have no background or are to be placed upon a busy background that isn’t a solid color, the transparent background becomes an issue as to show the transparency involves using index or alpha transparencies.

    Being that the effects that most people want – especially with the whole rounded corners thing – is for the graphic to look seamless in its color transitions (especially when using gradients) and for there to not be any stray pixeling, it is almost inevitable, then, that the graphics will have to be of the png format with the alpha transparencies.

    And so, the designer and front-end person is caught in a catch-22 if the use of transparencies is inarguable.

    Degrade the image across all browsers (if that is even possible as it depends on the type of graphic that is requested of them to make)?

    Try to not use transparencies? A lot of designers I know end up using image maps and fixed widths for example, to ensure that non-transparent images will fit where they should and ONLY where they should. For my site, for example, I have images that move across the screen depending on the size of the viewer’s monitor. Without the use of transparencies, the images would block out various parts of content, as shown in the IE6 version of my site.

    Use the whole AlphaImageLoader bit and make the CSS invalid and potentially create problems for other IE users who have upgraded browsers?

    Simply use the transparencies and leave a warning to IE6 users that some images may not display properly?

    It’s not an easy fix when one’s boss wants an image in its full glory to be rounded and displayed in the middle of a busy/color conflicting background and for it to not look degraded.

    For this site, however, I specifically stuck to a grayscale for the majority of it to ensure that I could use the PNG 8 format rather than the PNG 32 because I KNOW there are IE6 users out there – a lot of them, in fact, and even a good majority! – and I’m not THAT much of a stuck-up designer to leave them eating blue-backgrounded dirt.

    Give me a few and I’ll have the PNG 8 versions of the images out. šŸ˜‰

    The only thing i dislike about your site is the Georgia font used for header areas…

    I don’t know why but for me it just doesn’t compliment the look..

    Not sure what to suggest in place, perhaps toy around with a few? but that for me is the niggling annoyance when reading the content..

    Me personally i also feel the post font size could come down a small amount, again i’m not sure if this is the font or size that bothers me, but it’s mainly the text areas i have an uncomfortable feeling with…

    Font’s aside i think it’s a nice looking design.

    Seems you dedicate lots of time and effort in what you do, and it’s quite admirable to see some with alot of passion posting their work openly for people to judge… it certainly makes an enjoyable read.. šŸ™‚



    Forum Volunteer

    Hey there! šŸ™‚

    Wow, it’s been a while since anyone’s posted anything to this thread!

    It’s kind of funny that you posted because my original thread was actually referencing an older version of my site. I juuust got my new site theme up and running and was just about to ask for constructive crit when I realized that someone revived my thread.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts; I myself have been kind of going ‘hmmm’ about the font issues.

    I definitely intend to fiddle a bit more and see if I can find a better combination of fonts to use and get the sizes of the fonts to better suit/complement the site.

    Thank you for the compliment; web design/front-end web dev is truly one of my passions along with communications and so to hear someone say that they can see such things in my work makes me happy.

    I’m far from being the best, but I keep on learning and I do enjoy what I do and I enjoy sharing my passion with others and helping when I can, if I can.

    WordPress is like this great big fully-customizable playground; it’s almost endless the types of things you can do with it and it’s exciting to discover new ways to present/display content or make WP do things you didn’t quite think was possible.

    I earlier paid your site a visit, too, BTW, and I was going to leave a message saying that I enjoyed the articles you posted and really like your layout, but I was unable to leave a comment (comments are turned off after a month I think?) and so I’m leaving it here.


    lol, if i’m brutally honest the site doesn’t get much love, and i grow tired of look all the time…

    Give me an image and i can chop, crop and build it into a template… ask me to design something though and i’m forever pulling hair, lol…

    Comments seems to be a little problematic on my site, and i think they auto close after a while..

    I’m waiting for a stable intergration between BBPress and WP then i’ll plonk some forums up for people to comment randomly on..

    There’s always some sort of catch with the nicest themes about, whether that be that they’re premium or something else. As such my site sort of sits in limbo waiting for me to do something with it… but looking at it frustrates me, because i can’t help but feel it needs something unique and not soo boring so i don’t go insane staring at it…

    It’s there, it has a basic role, but no real purpose… lol šŸ˜‰

    Just upgraded to 2.8 though. No problems whatsoever, which makes me curious about all the “Upgrade problem” posts i see, because i never have half the problems posted here.

    Did actually rip a few nice designs from some sites around the web that had custom made designs (just took the source and scripts and spent several hours adapting), just so i could see how they were built and get some ideas… but still ended up downloading a pre-made due to browser issues…

    I think that’s really it though, when it comes to design i find i’m constantly having to make comprimises due to stupid browser issues (or spend X hours working at it), so then it begs the question, usability or looks? … i usually aim for somewhere in the middle…

    Then there’s the issue of change… i’ve worked on a few designs but found half way through coding them i’m already bored with the look… lol…

    Perhaps it’s me in limbo and not my site… šŸ™‚

    If you want any further feedback, let me know, i’ll be dead honest without being an ass!.. šŸ™‚

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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