On my websites, I try to focus much more on content than the facade. Don’t get me wrong — I do think presentation is important. Generally speaking, though, once I have a satisfying theme set up I’m not apt to make any significant changes for a while. It seems that the time for change is nigh.
TIB has been running the same basic theme for between 3-1/2 and 4 years. My art has had the same theme for a bit less than two years, and the writing site seems to get a theme change every six months or so. During all of this, I’ve tried many themes, and I’ve child-themed (i.e. non-destructively modified) many of them. Also, HTML5 and CSS3 have appeared and are starting to spread.
TIB’s theme is a hacked up copy of a well-reviewed magazine theme. When I first dove into it, I wasn’t nearly as familiar with theming WordPress as I am now. I made a lot of mistakes in the interest of just getting it working. Over the years I’ve managed to untangle some of the spaghetti, but it’s far from what it should be.
With the recent release of Automattic’s theme skeleton, _s (pronounced “underscores”), I’ve decided to use that as a starting point to refurbish the sites. I’m beginning with the writing website as its newness contributes to it not being heavily trafficked for the moment. When I finally have the theme written, tested, and ready to install, I’ll be able to spend some time tweaking the live site without annoying too many people (I hope).
While it’s the most basic of the three, in some ways the writing site is the most challenging. It is definitely ripe for a more engaging design. Sadly, I don’t actually have one in mind. For now, I’m setting in place the basic layout and styles that will serve as the foundation for whatever final design I come up with. I’m not trying to shoot for the Moon, just to get something workable while also practicing with the core _s code…as well as whatever additional framework I add.
TIB may stay in a magazine format, or it make go a little more free-form. The years have shown some of the weakness of one person trying to keep a magazine format engaging. Time has also shown that making the site pay for itself is iffy. Some years it does, some years it doesn’t. One thing that I do want to do is simplify it a bit. It’s grown a little busy over the years. Even so, at present I’m more likely to keep it a magazine than not.
For all the sites, a goal is to make them all “responsive” — adaptable for screens from phones to monitors. Most of us with smartphones find ourselves at web sites that aren’t responsive, and we have to take the extra step to zoom in to read posts. Ideally, that won’t happen here once the themes are updated.
So, blog posts will likely be on the low end of the usual frequency scale for me for a bit as I spend more time coding and sometimes restructuring. I’ll try to make it all as seamless as possible, but if you see the site go down for a few minutes, it’s probably because I tried something that didn’t work. Apologies ahead of time for that.