54 Responses

  1. beauty blog
    beauty blog Published |

    I always like your themes and there are so many other themes that I like so much.

    I really appreciate themes which have a theme panel and I more appreciate this theme for giving so much control http://wordpress.bytesforall.com/.

    What stops me from using certain themes is that they are not easy to customise.
    I use the arthemia theme, you can see my blog I have customised it according to my needs, since being a beauty site I cant use the arthemia theme as it is. So I believe customisation is necessary part of a theme, if a theme is not easy to customise people try to find other themes which can fulfill their needs. Each theme is unique and has its own style, so people who like it will use it and those who dont will find another one. But with more options the theme becomes flexible, and new styles can be made out. So the people who dont like the theme can customise it instead of looking for another one.

    What theme designers should realise is that giving options and more control over the theme makes it suitable for all niches. The ability to change fonts, headers changes the look of the them and it can be used for many niches like fashion, sports, personal blogs.

    What I always look in a theme is a good layout and framework and a good theme panel with lots of options, so that the noob user doesnot has to run to a css coder again and again and waste his money.

    I also want to use the new theme released by you but I want it to be 2 column since I have products to showcase, 2 column makes it easier for viewers to compare.

    Reply
  2. SE7EN
    SE7EN Published |

    This plugin is interesting to change the text color
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/theme-tweaker/screenshots/

    I’d like to see the theme with option to change font-family and size by letting me choose from the option and other option to let me type it freely.

    Reply
  3. Andrew
    Andrew Published |

    Let me ask a question in return. How much rope does a user need to hang themselves?

    What limits should be placed on customisation to help the user not to mess up what was a good theme when it was given to them?

    In my eyes users shouldn’t be given options that let them ‘break’ the principles of good design. For example, font selection, font size, line length, line height, column order, background colours, font colours. These are not a matter of personal aestethics, they are design choices.

    A theme should offer a few well designed alternatives, maybe five options in total, and no more.

    Reply
  4. Dave
    Dave Published |

    OK, theme control makes it nice and easy of course, but personally I like challenge. I’m not too well versed in PHP, but am keen to learn. Therefore the best thing for me to do is dive into the code and see what happens. Theme control just makes me lazy and go fat ;)
    But that’s just my personal opinion of course, I’m sure most people would like it nice and easy…

    Reply
  5. Barbara
    Barbara Published |

    I think you have to draw the line what options for customization you will include, but don’t forger that your themes are so popular because we can cusomize so many things.
    I would like to be able to change fonts, font size, font color, line length, line height, column order, backgrounds colours. Also perhaps more options for header height, options to change banners easily and more options for customization of subscription types.
    Regards
    Barbara

    Reply
  6. TJ @ Smartblogtips
    TJ @ Smartblogtips Published |

    I think its a good idea to give more options to end users. But again i think, it should be limited to fonts and colors. Else as you said the slippery slope continues.

    Look at Options. It was easy to customize at first but then it became so difficult to extent that hybrid literally brings a breath of fresh air. It should not happen, that the average joe you are talking about, in looking for a simple theme gets disappointed with the myriad of check boxes and radio buttons. Although i know you will take this into account before you hit the sketch board.

    I feel great you are not clubbing something so experimental with hybrid, else it would definitely be a big mistake.


    Just my 2 cents. Regards
    Thinkjayant

    Reply
  7. Roger Benningfield
    Roger Benningfield Published |

    Speaking as someone running WPMU, I really like to see “checkbox options” in a theme. WPMU bloggers don’t have access to CSS, so they’re completely reliant on an options page and widgets to make changes.

    Having said that, I’m not advocating an Atahualpa-style wall of choices. For example, font control: I’d prefer that the designer create a set of “packaged” font choices and let the user pick, rather than giving them granular control. That way, someone with an eye for the job is picking line heights, padding, and so on, while letting a user who thinks serifs make his tech blog look old-fashioned can change them out.

    What I *never* want to see in a theme are textareas inviting the insertion of raw HTML, JS, or (heaven forbid) PHP. Yeah, part of that is a WPMU security concern, but it’s also a matter of markup… the average person doesn’t even know what XHTML is, and giving them the tools to hose up a validated design just isn’t a good idea, IMO.

    Reply
  8. John
    John Published |

    It’s not like you’re *not* letting people make their own choices. They have the source files. They have your tutorials on making child themes. They have access to the same research materials and books as you do.

    The more options you accommodate, the close you get to re-writing the same tools you use yourself. So instead of learning how to use HTML or CSS, you have people learning how to use your interface for HTML or CSS. It’s just that — as you say — your interface will never be flexible enough. Are you writing a theme? Or are you writing Dreamweaver?

    If you think you’re getting in Dreamweaver territory, it might be time to pull back. If people want that much control, they should use standard tools and standard methods, not learn how to use a custom interface.

    Reply
  9. Randa Clay
    Randa Clay Published |

    Isn’t the question really whether you want to be mainly a “designer” or mainly an “enabler”. If you want to be mainly a designer and you want users to not make horrible choices and end up with an ugly site with your name at the bottom, then don’t offer them many options. If you want to be an enabler, and don’t care what the final result is then offer as many options as seems reasonable to you. Sure, people are always going to be asking for more, but they can always figure out how to do it or pay someone if necessary.

    It does seem that you could go a bit too far into option overkill. To me the best designed themes are like yours, where there are some key options, making it easy for a basic user to do some basic “customizing”, but it’s also possible for a more advanced user to easily make modifications.

    I love your stuff Justin- I can design my own themes, but I’ve chosen to use yours on two sites because they’re so well-designed and have such a great back end. Great work- thanks!

    Reply
  10. Randa Clay
    Randa Clay Published |

    I think font packages is a great idea. Typography goes a long way towards keeping a site looking sharp, and MANY users would definitely hang themselves with the font options alone. Giving them several good options for combinations and sizes is much better than leaving it wide open for them to choose anything.

    Reply
  11. Gregor
    Gregor Published |

    Justin – you are an outstanding designer in every sense of the word, but consider this. Don’t look at the grand idea of giving users as many options as is practical in your “Average Joe” theme proposal as “enabling” bad choices. I would prefer you think of it as empowering those people who may have great aesthetic sense but may not have the time or technical know-how to learn how to do the code.

    After all, isn’t that what the Wordpress concept is all about? The developers of Wordpress aren’t afraid that someone with no writing skills will sully the name of their awesome tool. That’s the mindset I would recommend you approach “Average Joe” with.

    Reply
  12. Andrew
    Andrew Published |

    I think the problem here, that causes the opposite opinions, is that once you start adding options you are no longer designing a theme but building software. you are not presenting the WordPress content but extending WordPress and you need to consider how best to extend WordPress more and then build the theme around that, instead of the other way around.

    I have long advocated theme-plugins. The core won’t let you have plugins within the theme that can be deactivated unless you build a plugin to permit that so personally I would recommend building stand-alone plugins that extend the capabilities of WordPress and then building a theme based on those plugins.

    Reply
  13. John
    John Published |

    Gregor:

    I would prefer you think of it as empowering those people who may have great aesthetic sense but may not have the time or technical know-how to learn how to do the code.

    The problem with this approach is two-fold. First, The “enabling” interface never works nearly as well as, nor can it be as complete as, actually writing the code. These kinds of interfaces do not remove complexity, they hide it where it can jump out and grab you when you don’t expect it.

    Secondly, once you get into the “can I set the line height / padding / letterspacing / hover-color” kinds of details, you are actually relying on a more complicated, more specialized tool to get the job done — and the skills you develop using that aren’t transferable to other tools.

    It’s more reliable, more flexible, and more effective to learn HTML and CSS if you want to get into the details and corners of how your site looks. And if Tadlock’s themes go away for some reason, you’ll still have the knowledge necessary to edit another theme. You won’t have to look for a Tadlock replacement.

    Reply
  14. Roger Benningfield
    Roger Benningfield Published |

    I’ve been thinking about it a bit, and perhaps the rule of thumb should be: “Provide options for that which the user knows best.”

    For example, in a given layout, the designer knows that everything in Page Region A needs to have *these* margins, *this* line-height, and needs all images aligned *here*. Hell, let’s forget font packages for the moment and say that the designer even knows that this region *must* use a serif font to balance the sans-serif in Page Region B.

    (Although as an aside, I guess an effective font-package would be the option to swap the serif/sans regions, thus retaining design balance *and* user choice.)

    What the designer *can’t* know is which bit of my content would best be showcased in Page Region A. For one blogger it might be sticky posts, for another it might be tagged entries… but it might be even more esoteric. Some blog posts, for example, aren’t that important… the good stuff happens in the comment section. If I run a blog like that, the most recent (or highly rated, or whatever) comment needs to occupy Page Region A.

    I know this is sounding like I’m leading up to “fully widgetized themes with locked-down styling”, and the trick with that, of course, is how do you make that practical for the theme designer? The designer can’t be expected to create a widget for every conceivable kind of content, and widget developers have their own agendas when it comes to producing output.

    There’s gotta be a way to leap that hurdle, though.

    Reply
  15. Bryan
    Bryan Published |

    For me, I wouldn’t have a theme options page at all. Give me a “normal” theme anyday.

    Take Hybrid. I still don’t understand how it works or how to modify it. My header is full of hooks! Which supposedly make things easier? But not being able to modify my template tags from theme editor actually makes things harder.

    Reply
  16. Dan Cole
    Dan Cole Published |

    I’ve been working on a theme that has a lot of options, as well as a lot of other features. As far as what being talked about here, my solution is to have different options as extensions (theme plugins so to speak). Then people who know how to code can make add in there own php, html, and css, while other people can just select and fill in fields and have things magically done. I’ve taken the option page further by designing it differently and breaking things up. My theme, the Parallel Theme isn’t currently out but you can create your own demo site to check out the backend at: http://paralleltheme.com/preview/.

    Reply
  17. Dean Saliba
    Dean Saliba Published |

    I’ve never really thought about that before.

    When I download a new theme I know that I’m not the only person to download that theme and I know that most will leave the theme as it is. So I try to customise the theme so it looks diferent from the 100s of others who have the same design.

    Is it really that bad? :)

    Reply
  18. Vix
    Vix Published |

    If you have to scroll down a page, then that’s one option too many.

    I’m fine with having a few options because I’m comfortable with creating child themes but I do like the idea of having plugins for themes. That way people who want to use them can. Now that is the kind of choice that I like.

    Reply
  19. Ryan Martin
    Ryan Martin Published |

    @Justin ~ I never realized that some themes even had checkbox options. I have always been one that goes straight for the css and php to work out what I want. When looking for a good theme template I try to find one that has the general layout that I am looking for, but I am more of the complete redesign type of person.

    As far as your dilemma goes, I think that you should stick with limited options. I know that there are a lot of people that easily get confused with the css that would love to feel like they have a little control.

    Reply
  20. HornyMelon
    HornyMelon Published |

    “I do think that it can empower some users with great aesthetic sense to make some cools designs. Part of it is about making it easy enough for those users to do something without enabling users that have bad aesthetic sense to screw things up.”

    This is subjective. What you think looks good and what someone else thinks looks good are two different things. I don’t understand why you should care if someone makes their site ugly, how is that any worse than having your site look cookie cutter? I’d prefer ugly over cookie cutter any day. The person may have a logo that they want the color scheme to match or have advertising clients who’s banners don’t look good with the original colors, the list goes on as to why somebody doesn’t use your design elements. You have 5 hybrid themes and 4 of them have blue and white as the main colors. You do not create enough styles quickly enough to attract a wide variety of people. I’m not saying your not doing a good enough job, I’m just saying expecting people to “stick” with your design isn’t very reasonable when there are so few and very little difference between them stylistically.

    I personally think features and design should be totally separated. If you have different features for different themes it doesn’t make any sense to me to have a parent/child theme relationship. Why not just have separate themes all together. When I first heard about hybrid I thought hybrid was the framework where you do all the coding for galleries, video player, etc and child themes were simply style sheets and photoshop assets.

    I don’t see how having one child theme has a feature but another doesn’t, cuts down on your support work load. Now you have people asking about the old school feature gallery and the hybrid-news feature gallery, and how to implement either/or in leviathan, and you still have people asking about the options feature gallery and how to make an options style feature gallery for hybrid news. Doesn’t it just make sense to make/use one really good feature gallery and allow it to be implement in all hybrid child themes…..now you are only dealing with one set of questions.

    Implementing features that work across all child themes kills two birds with one stone. It cuts down on the support work loads and simplifies child theme creation to styling, which means anyone, including yourself, can whip up a child theme in no time. Now you have a wide selection of child themes for people who don’t want to be bothered with code to choose from.

    I also think yours and other themes similar to them go above and beyond your standard theme. I would call them intermediate themes. They are themes that are for people who’s coding skill lies between a blogspot or wordpress.com themes and custom CMS. It falls in the area of expertise where people want to begin doing their own things with the styling at the very least.

    You don’t have to have a one size fits all answer to this question. Some things should be set at commonly used standards, height, width, thumbnail size, banner ad size etc. These should only be able to be changed by going into the code. I think the simple things that are most likely to be changed ( fonts, colors, borders, background images etc) should be in an option menu. Then features that are used often but not always together or in one blog should be optioned in through plugins and hooks (I don’t know the specific terminology)……..audio, video, galleries, feature galleries, etc. Beyond that it should require custom code.

    In closing, with the philosophy behind wordpress and open source being bandied about it makes little sense to make anything that doesn’t enable the end user. Check out the header and ad bar on this page http://www.pixnation.com talk about eye catching.

    Reply
  21. HornyMelon
    HornyMelon Published |

    First I don’t dislike Hybrid. I wouldn’t be rebuilding my site with it if I did. Second you haven’t sufficiently explained many of my queries away more like skipped past them.

    “If I created a photoblog child theme, why would I need an audio section? Your basic argument is that this photoblog child theme should be capable of audio. Or, a theme for posting research papers should have a video section.”

    YOU may not want an audio capable photoblog theme, but perhaps a DJ who is promoting a mix he did at a specific event, that he would have pictures of, would. YOU may not want video on your news blog, but…well the fact remains news sites are media rich with all formats. I have two points with this…..

    1. You seem to be pigeon holing what a blog should or should not be. These blogs have x, y, and z. This blog has A, B,C. I’m sorry but the more you look at sites in the internet the more you see them mixing media. Opencourseware.com is a good example of an academic site having multiple types of media. Or just about any MIT virtually every single lab project has accompanying video,pics, and/or audio. You keep saying why would I do this if it is this type of site. I don’t understand how you can be missing this point looking at virtually any quality site has mixed media.

    2. You also think I’m saying you should rewrite options but for hybrid. Which isn’t what I stated at all. I’m also not saying that it should be some big giant cumbersome theme. You could do Feature galleries, Audio, video galleries, etc as plugins. I stated this…

    “Then features that are used often but not always together or in one blog should be optioned in through plugins and hooks (I don’t know the specific terminology)……..audio, video, galleries, feature galleries, etc.”

    “Should all themes come with the same capabilities? The entire point of a theme is to provide a variation, a different look, some different functionality.”

    This is what I was talking about. Yes they should come with different looks, the functionality should be a matter of plugins, the right code, and proper file placement. You make more work for yourself by dividing up the functionality. Because now you are making categories of child themes…..when will be the next time you come around to doing a second hybrid-news theme? A photo theme? A videocast theme? Probably a while. Your doing the work on the features anyways so why not make that feature compatible for any child theme instead of that specific one? Then you don’t need to revisit this functionality when you come around to hybrid-news 2.

    If the potential functionality was present in all child themes, then all a child theme would be is a style sheet and art assets. You can put a couple of those together a week. Now you have all these looks and tweaks in child themes but any body could make any type of blog they wanted out of any of them. Rather than going elsewhere or twiddling their thumbs waiting around for the theme with the options they want.

    “Are you telling me it would be easier for me, the theme designer, to spend four months (time it took to build Hybrid) between theme releases? That’s what it would take to make a theme as capable as Hybrid each time.”

    I think hybrid is overly complicated if it is to be stuck in static categories of blog types. Why all the hooks and BS if a photo theme is a photo theme and a news theme is a news theme. Wouldn’t it be simpler, if you are going to predetermine what should and should not be in a blog, to just make simpler themes? Why spend 4 months on one instead of 1 month on a simpler theme if there is no cross compatibility. Does a photo blog need the complication of hybrid?

    Better yet. Let’s say your making a photoblog. Where is the Hybrid support for that? Sure you could do a standard blog layout and add photos to posts but what about the front page makes it a photo blog? I know, you haven’t made a photo theme yet. But when you do your going to work on picture displaying I’m sure. So instead of building the functionality into the theme. Why not build it into a plug in? You still get your photo blog, but now a new option has opened up for everyone else that would like to display some pictures without having to develop a new URL dedicated to it.

    “Are you saying that every time a bug is found or a new WordPress feature is added, then it would be easier to upgrade many themes instead of just one?”

    Isn’t that how it works now? Can’t wordpress 2.8 break hybrid-news and not leviathan? The way I envision it, you would have one theme and a collection of plugins to upgrade all the child themes would be is style sheets and art.

    “When building the framework for a house, does it come with furniture and a big-screen TV? For that matter, do all houses come with a dishwasher and five bedrooms? The house analogy is the best I’ve got.”

    Love your analogy because it proves my point. You can put any TV in any house. You don’t need a new couch every time you move. Hell you don’t have to plug your TV in if you don’t want to. Same with the couch you don’t have to put it in the living room, you could put in a bedroom, but the fact remains You can put any furniture you want into a house. The frame work is separate from what you bring into it. The frame work gives it shape and the crap you put into it gives it character. This is where I get the whole Hybrid is a frame work (I’m not a programmer so keep in mind the terminology may be wrong) of features and the child themes are the wall paper lights, deco, and plugins would be your fridge dryer and garbage disposal. The way you are making child themes (not that I don’t applaud your efforts) is the equivalent of selling a house with all the furniture, appliances and deco nailed in place. And you need to be an expert carpenter(programmer) to move them around or add a new end table without ruining the hardwood floor or dry wall.

    “This means there’s very little in the way of creativity. It forces every child theme to only be a style variation of the original. You mention “cookie-cutter.””

    Actually no. The variation would be stylistic and what features each person choose to use. I’m not saying every theme has to use all features I’m saying there is an option to use any features you want.

    “I can’t even imagine doing a complete stylesheet on something like this. It would be massive.”

    I thought that was the whole point of hybrid. You had one massive theme and then the child themes were a simpler layer on top for ease of use.

    “instead of bringing up your personal feelings about a theme not even in discussion here.”

    Like I said I don’t hate hybrid, but what other theme are you talking about? It is the only one you have that is moving forward. It actually wasn’t off topic. The topic was how many options should you give the end user and my answer, and the point of my whole post is. You should give them as many options as you can. The trick is to present them in an easily understandable and identifiable way. The Iphone didn’t become popular because it gave users LESS options it became popular because it made more options easier to use and more intuitive.

    Reply
  22. Horny Melon
    Horny Melon Published |

    The deleting of my last comment was very telling.

    Reply
  23. Alec
    Alec Published |

    Hello Justin,

    I agree with Andrew. A few select options:

    * header banner image (with requirement to match size exactly or will be rejected)
    * three options for typeface for headers
    * three options for typeface for body
    * three to seven color schemes (schemes, not individual)

    Somebody wants more – either s/he hires a designer or learns CSS.

    Don’t enable hideous website by disfiguring your own software.

    Reply
  24. Khürt
    Khürt Published |

    I think the same “slippery slope” concept applies to any product. Users think they need more choice, the service/product provider tries to deliver and … the slope gets very steep and a good product/service is destroyed.

    Barry Schwartz lays this out in his book,The Paradox Of Choice sometimes more is less.

    Reply
  25. Cirurgia Plastica
    Cirurgia Plastica Published |

    Its just part of the human nature. The more options you give, the more the users will ask for. I think you found a good balance in your themes, specially in the options theme, although its no longer supported.

    Reply
  26. EMG
    EMG Published |

    … Dangit. Decided to hang around and read more posts and ended up here.

    I have a question to ask about your thoughts on designing themes in general if you don’t mind answering.

    – What is your purpose in designing themes (to give a user a full set-up from which to work within or to give a user a full set-up with which they can work with?) and how do you feel about themes both as a designer and as an end-user?

    I ask this question because I myself feel caught between the two and have found myself asking the same question you ask in your post about the slippery slope – both from a designer’s viewpoint and from an end-user’s viewpoint.

    As a designer, I would want to create a theme that someone would want to display proudly on their site because they like how I put it together and like my sense of style. I would like to say that I would be flattered no matter how my theme looks in the end and no matter the customizations done, but I know that as a designer, there is some vanity in me and I would be hoping that whatever changes are made are complementary to my original theme.

    As an end-user who enjoys customization and personalization and the whole nine yards and then some, I tend to look at themes in two ways or in a combination of two ways – as works of art that should be used as is and with minimal fiddling or as frameworks from which to build upon or both.

    I consider myself to be pretty handy with XHTML and CSS in that I can do most of the tricks of the trade without ‘cheating’ and make what I code to be mostly cross-browser compatible and W3C valid and I can understand php enough to read a good portion of it (and understand) do some writing and rewriting on my own, but I’m not what you might call a rockstar. A rockstar knows exactly how to get every single XYZ effect here and how to get this there to look like ABC here and pretty much never needs any help or cheat sheets and… I am not that person. Not yet anyways. ;)

    Being that I am no rockstar and am an artist besides who appreciates good style, I oftentimes find inspiration in other people’s themes – in how they decide to structure, in how they styled a list to look like 123, in how they did layering of EFG, etc – and therefore sometimes find ‘jumping blocks’ in other people’s themes from which to jump from to get a head start on my own personalized theme.

    From interesting structures to flavorful color schematics to interesting list displays, inspiration can be found pretty much anywhere and in everything and so if I jump off from another person’s theme, it could be for a variety of different reasons (and yes, I always state if I find inspiration in another person’s theme and state in what fashion).

    Is that a bad thing to do? Do theme designers like yourself feel offended by such things?

    Being that WP is open source and that users have full control over their setup and themes, it is impossible (in my opinion) to hope that users will leave well-designed themes – complex or not – well alone.

    It seems to be in human nature to be curious and to get into everything and being that WP is open source, it seems to encourage that sort of behavior to come out tenfold, especially when it comes to themes.

    Everyone wants something to call their own and a blog is definitely no exception and going hand in hand with that is the desire to make a theme one’s own and that means changing headers, changing colors, changing fonts, and changing… well… pretty much everything!

    Given that, should we as designers even be concerned about how much control over a theme a user should have? Not that we shouldn’t be concerned, but simply because WP in itself is open source and controlling a theme/limiting the control of the theme for the end-user seems to go against the very idea of open source?

    This topic is definitely something to ponder on and it’s something I will think about quite a bit when I think about publishing a theme for others to use.

    Thanks for the post and all your thoughts and thanks in advance if you reply!

    Reply
  27. EMG
    EMG Published |

    Justin: Ahhhh ha! Yes, I think I did partially misunderstand part of your post – or rather, I think I merged two ideas which should have remained separate into one – theme options available to the end-user from the backend vs the entire theme as a whole. Thanks for the clarification and thanks for taking the time to answer and I’ll post the rest of my thoughts once I am back on a more stable ‘net connection. :)

    Reply
  28. Lance
    Lance Published |

    Interesting..this is not my niche but really cool..
    Nice website! Please keep it up! :)

    Reply
  29. Ditutu
    Ditutu Published |

    @Lance : That’s real . It’s a nice website …

    Reply
  30. home tuition malaysia
    home tuition malaysia Published |

    Hi, this is a good topic to have discussion on bit as I have go though all the posts replies there is not much to talk about every most of the replies have been written what I wanted to share…

    Thanks and Regards

    Reply
  31. ian
    ian Published |

    Nice topic some good comments thanks

    Reply
  32. Mike B. Fisher
    Mike B. Fisher Published |

    One way to approach the question of balance is to survey people who download your themes. There’s no one “correct” balance between user control and complexity. But you can seek the balance by determining how -your- users are employing particular themes and what they need from them.

    There are plenty of inexpensive or free online survey tools. I’d suggest setting up a feedback mechanism, perhaps even on a per-theme basis. Ask users what they’d most want to control & change. Then look for the common threads and address them as best you can.

    Reply
  33. Discussion Point
    Discussion Point Published |

    I think its a good idea to give more options to end users. But again i think, it should be limited to fonts and colors. Else as you said the slippery slope continues.

    Reply
  34. Nebulizadores
    Nebulizadores Published |

    The more options you give, the more the users will ask for. Nice topic some good comments thanks

    Reply
  35. Pancake
    Pancake Published |

    great article and very good topic for discussion, i have to tell you that I don’t understand HorneyMelon….

    Reply
  36. Fauzan Husin
    Fauzan Husin Published |

    Its just part of the our nature. The more options you give, the more the users will ask for. I think you found a good balance in your themes, specially in the options theme, although its no longer supported.

    Reply
  37. alterity
    alterity Published |

    Interesting. I wonder what the most effective theme is? Has any research ever been done on this matter?

    Reply
  38. Hikari
    Hikari Published |

    My answer to your question is NOTHING.

    All exemples you did are CSS related. Don’t solve CSS problems with PHP.

    For my theme options page I add options to choose the doctype, default posts and comments languages, change the header image… and that’s it.

    Wanna change a CSS config? Use a child theme or a plugin to add an extra CSS file, and add your customs there.

    For customizations on HTML, add actions and filters where users wanna change and let them use their child theme to implement it.

    Reply
  39. David Lewis
    David Lewis Published |

    There’s this amazing pizza place in Halifax, Nova Scotia called Salvatores. They make the best pizzas in town. Simply amazing. They make their own thin but chewy crusts with carefully balanced toppings of things like artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes. And they have one simple rule for ordering. No substitutions. The chef will not allow it. And I wholeheartedly agree with this policy.

    Reply
  40. Jay
    Jay Published |

    I can provide feedback as someone who recently created a Wordpress site without any prior Wordpress, CSS, or PHP background…

    I think certain features like being able to change fonts, font sizes, or changes that amount to basic CSS changes probably are necessary from a back end option standpoint. It doesn’t take much to implement these changes with Firebug and some playing around.

    Also, some premium themes add a ton of SEO options which is probably a waste of time from a development standpoint since these can be integrated by using a free plugin like SEO ultimate.

    For me as a basic user, I would like options that affect the layout of the blog (2 columns vs. 3, column layout), or changes that allow to configure the layout of the Front page. Other useful changes include the ability to configure category pages to have full posts, excerpts, etc. Bottom line: anything that would require editing PHP is probably beyond what I ever want to have to learn about as a blogger.

    Many themes are trending toward allowing users to upload a blog banner or change the background color which is good for very basic users.

    Anyway, as a new user to Wordpress, I think it’s probably more important to include layout options that would require PHP editing rather than options that can be fairly easily changed with CSS.

    Reply
  41. Jay
    Jay Published |

    Sorry Justin,

    typo: “I think certain features like being able to change fonts, font sizes, or changes that amount to basic CSS changes probably are NOT necessary ”

    *missed NOT from above…

    Reply
  42. Natalie Markins
    Natalie Markins Published |

    “Obviously this is a big “it depends”, In my opinion any “more options” can be good and increase the attractiveness blog, site or forum. But where is the limit? Smarter people speak before me, and I’ll add only that I’m about to users have a choice.

    Reply
  43. Nick
    Nick Published |

    I still can’t figure out where to draw the line. In certain cases it’s an easy decision. Since my day job requires building a lot of business/corporate websites there aren’t going to be a lot of options *stylistically* that the user will need. All the style guidelines are there from the beginning and they don’t change. Maybe they’ll refresh the logo and they want to change it… add in a logo upload function.

    The 3.0 menu system relieved a lot of headaches on this end but this slippery slope is still there.

    My main problem with the ‘user control’ issue comes from learning about WP by being a user first, then a developer. I learned everything I know from deconstructing themes, playing with the markup and the template tags. As a user who is curious about how things work, I liked that I could go into a theme and see how it was put together.

    If I had picked up Thesis or Atahualpa as my first theme, I don’t know if I’d ever have gotten to where I am now in my WP knowledge.

    I guess I want the people that like to tinker to have enough leeway to do what they want to without sacrificing the ability for complete newbs to manage their sites effortlessly.

    I guess it’s an ongoing dilemma, though as WP marches into Drupal territory function-wise I wonder if the WP Core team has the same philosophical debate in their own heads.

    Reply
  44. Pete Jenkins
    Pete Jenkins Published |

    When I search for themes I first look for the general color scheme and layout I’m after, then it’s features.

    I’m no php coder, but I do know how to edit simple html, css and php to add or remove features to the themes.

    I’m often need to strip themes down to look like regular websites, not blogs.

    Reply
  45. WordPress ile ilgili takip edilesi 10 muhteşem blog | Blog Wolkanca

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