I created this theme pretty much from scratch. The site has several hundred pages in elaborate hierarchies as well as a couple thousand posts. We try to do a lot of different things on this site so I’ve tried to make the home page clean and well-ordered so that it gives a good overview of our activities without being cluttered.
I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts, especially:
- When you go to the home page do you feel you’ve been given a good overview of what the site does?
- To which parts of the content is your eye first drawn?
- Is the top left block sufficiently compelling visually?
- Do you think the look of the site matches the theme?
- Is there anything you think we could do better?
That’s wordpress? very impressive. I thought that it was a CMS with the drop down menus and such.
as for the questions..
i didn’t pay that much attention to it, just a quick overview.
but if i was into meditation.. I’d spend longer on it.
Thanks for the compliment, mike. It seemed to be impossible to find a theme that could handle several hundred Pages — most assume you’ll have fewer than a half-dozen — so I started just over a year ago with a heavily modified version of andreas-01, but it became increasingly apparent that an 800px wide page just wasn’t enough. So I went back to the drawing board and invented something that fitted our needs.
The main thing I have left to do, apart from some tidying, is to add an image to each page. The walking meditation section and the start of the mindfulness of breathing section already have those added.
Just my unqualified two cents, but I think you have a winner. The color contrast works very well ( my eyes had no problem hanging about for a while), the content is well laid out, and there seems to be nothing unnecessary cluttering it up. Two things that pleasantly surprised me were the scroll feature in the “Latest Articles”, and the angles on the images above and below your tags.
The only thing that seemed off balance to me was the use of red in the tags “rollover” rather than the orange that appears in the menu drop-downs. I think the site is sharp, clean, professional, and attractive. In fact I bookmarked you just for your content alone.
I should have such an eye for layout.
How do you control the different sidebar elements to appear on different pages? That is one aspect of Drupal I would like to re-create in WP.
@2houseplague: I probably should have used conditional tags but I went for different templates and then called pages that were the child_of the main page for that particular section.
@claytonjames: Good point about the rollovers. I’ve been a bit inconsistent with links. Those same links are the only ones with underlines, but I felt I had to do that in case people thought they were just explanatory text. So far no-one’s complained, so I think I’ll get away with it. But the color — yes, that needs fixed.
Overall – you have a good site. Very pleasing to the eye, very readable, and color schema is good. One thing I’m not a big fan of: your navigation for child pages – center aligned. If it was up to me I would left justify it.
One more thing – I like that diagonal look on your thick footer. Very original.
Excellent example of pushing the envelope of what WordPress is capable of. I’m amazed. Love the color palette. Can you tell us some of the plugins you use?
Also if you want to bring in some visual interest, you might want to think about using NG Gallery to create a flash header, with several different images rotating through the site. Or a different header image for each ‘section’ would be a nice visual cue for the site visitor; important for a site with as many pages as yours has.
Very very well done! Now I think you should head over here and sign up your site:
Glad you like it. I like the idea of a different header image for each section. We have that in a small way with headers at the top of the left sidebar navigation, but something bolder would be good. I’ve wanted to add a logo to the header, but that’s beyond my design skill set and so I’ll probably head over to 99designs to commission one.
The main plugins are:
Fold Page List — for the left sidebar navigation
the_excerpt Reloaded — in the blog section
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin — again in the blog
Apart from that it’s your standard DD Sitemap, Audio Player, Subscribe to comments, WP Print, WP Contact form etc. Nothing too crucial.
I got rid of a few plugins (esp. Share This) because they were calling Prototype and slowing everything down.
Very nice use of WordPress. The slight diagonal of the footer confused me for a second. I had to pull out my ruler to see if my eyes were tricking me.
Very interesting way of handling so many pages. Are all those pages needed? I usually tell the people I work create sites for to assess all of their information and trim things down so things are not so daunting for the end user. I looked at a few pages and liked what I saw for the most part.
I would personally probably tweek the spacing of headers in relation to the content. I would put more room above the header of an article, and less room below it. So it looks like it is still part of the text below it. It will also give more visual breathing room in between articles. (The page I am mostly referring to is the blog section)
I do like how you have your main content as the focal point of each page. That is the way it should be.
I really like the way you handled the tags area on the home page. Very nice.
Thanks for the very useful comments, biblicone.
I’d made a slight change to the css to sort out a spacing issue on the posts and that threw off the spacing below the post titles in the archive, which is what I think you were referring to. By coincidence I’d just fixed that before I saw your post.
What I’m offering on the site is a step-by-step guide to various meditation techniques, so I do think I need a lot of pages. Posts just don’t cut it when it comes to presenting extensive amounts of structured material. In fact I plan to add some more sections, although right now it’s writing and commissioning blog articles that most interests me.
I’m quite glad, in a way, that the diagonals were confusing. Confusion is a form of attention, and while I don’t want people to be distracted by the design I’d like them to notice it. Diagonals just aren’t very common in the “box model.” If I could draw decent curves in Fireworks I might have gone for curves.
mks6804: “One thing I’m not a big fan of: your navigation for child pages – center aligned. If it was up to me I would left justify it.”
For some reason I’d missed that comment. Are you talking about the drop-down lists? I wasn’t too sure what you meant.
I’m personally not a fan of top navs but this is exactly the idea I’m looking for on a new project which involves converting a static site and I don’t want to use Posts. I’m a new WP user so trying to determine if I can do what I need to do in WP without having to go to Joomla and your site is a huge help.
I’m also typically not crazy about the layout change from home page to other pages, adding the left nav, but for some reason it doesn’t seem odd on your site.
You do have a bad link on the About page to Traditions of Buddhist Meditation and I’d change your external links to target=”blank” and pop a new browser, never send people away from your site.
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