Archive for the ‘theme’ Category

More Theme Experimenting

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Last week I blogged about my search for the right theme for Aisle 2 Bin 36. Since then, I’ve adjusted my preferences a little bit. Originally, I was thinking about selecting a “magazine” theme. Now, I’m considering more “portfolio” style themes.

This idea actually emerged from a discussion about my Engl 314 group’s website design for Apropos Literary Journal. In my group’s search for a theme for Apropos, I’ve also found a few themes described as “portfolio” themes I like that I’m going to try out for my ds106 project.

I like these because they don’t necessarily appear like blogs intended primarily for blog entries, entail little scrolling and offer the opportunity to showcase certain elements of a project in interesting ways.

Here’s one example, using “The Unstandard” theme. One of my big challenges with selecting a theme is considering the best way to present this project using a theme.

I am thinking about using a few simple words with this theme: Read. Listen. View. Navigate…I would use the large “Featured” box as “Read,” using it to link to a page that just includes text articles since the articles are the biggest aspect of this project. Then, I could use 2-4 of the smaller boxes to showcase other storytelling options: listen (audio), view (images), navigate (google map). The sidebar would have an “About” widget explaining the project, among other features.

FotoFolio is another option. As the title suggests, it’s more of theme to showcase photography, but I think it’s still workable. Content would be linked to from the thumbnails; each article (Part 1, Part 2 and so on) and/or audio story/etc. could perhaps be linked to from a single thumbnail.

I really won’t know what works best until I start uploading and posting my project’s content on the site, which will occur over Thanksgiving Break, so stay tuned!

Theme Selection: To Be Continued

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Now that I have a name for my project, I created a subdomain on my domain. For now, the site is password protected as I blog here about my progress developing Aisle 2 Bin 36: Deployment Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since I proposed my project, I’ve been browsing magazine and news style WordPress themes. I find these types offer more engaging ways to showcase different types of content than a simple blog theme intended only for blog entries might.

First, I uploaded Arthemia, a magazine theme and started to get a feel for the look by creating test posts and categories.

Much later, after experimenting with several other themes, I discovered F8-remixed. One some sites, it’s marketed as a photography theme, but it seems as if it could also work for my purposes.  I like how the theme has a featured posts section showcased at the top of the page.

The themes look pretty bare, as I don’t have any of my content completed for posting. After spending most of the morning uploading, activating, previewing and deleting themes from Aisle 2 Bin 36, I’ve decided to hold off on making my selection until I have a large chunk of my material ready for posting. That way, I’ll have a much better idea about how the two aspects of the digital story, the theme and the content, can complement one another. I’ll reveal exactly what that content entails in my next post, about the different ways I’ll be sharing Andy and her family’s story digitally.

For now, what I do know about my future theme, is that I prefer it to be magazine style, although I’m also open to other options that require little scrolling. Basically, I don’t want the homepage of my site to look like a blog. I envision a site similar to F8-remixed, with a large featured portion at the top. Beneath that I would prefer equally sized category sections, a bit like in Arthemia, where viewers could click the headline or accompanying image, and navigate to the related page. I’m drawn to themes with featured slideshows at the top of the page, but haven’t had much luck in finding free versions that look professional. While I have a good idea of what I want, I’m having trouble finding it-so for now, my search for the best theme to showcase my project continues!