New Theme!

Yep, just when you thought I was moving on with my life, I spend another month on a new theme. My problem is that I tend to listen to criticism. And my previous theme received plenty of it. People just thought it was too much, too sloppy, too busy, too colorful, too ugly, too lame, and you get the idea. For the record, I think the Unicorner theme is fun and awesome, looking great and visually appealing on my iMac. I think if I would’ve spent more time testing and tweaking for PC/Win and other setups, the response would have been better. Live and learn..

It’s a new theme!

After realizing that my previous theme was a bomb, I had several choices:

  • New theme
  • Just tone it down with some new styles
  • Just forget about the critics and keep on rockin’

It’s SO easy to follow your gut and take the rebel attitude, “screw ‘em, their designs all look like cheap trash anyway, so who cares..” or something along those lines. But I didn’t want to go out like that, so I listened to the harsh reviews and realized, simply, that I had missed the mark with the Unicorner theme. And I do care about what people think, so new theme it is..

Things that are better with the new theme

I wish I had time to write all of the little details involved with the new theme, but I don’t, so here’s a summary of some highlights:

  • Relaxed – much quieter, more laid-back, chill
  • Simpler – less color, texture, background imagery, et al
  • Less code – around 40% less code for this new theme
  • Cleaner – zero hacks, no workarounds, nothing weird

Basically the previous theme did a great job at unifying the new site structure, I think, paving the way for this theme to really smooth everything out in a more responsible, standards-based fashion. The new theme, Volume, is the theme that should’ve followed the Tether theme as it’s more of a natural progression, stylistically speaking, than the boldly-colored Unicorner. For those familiar with my work, you’ll find the new theme contains many elements from 21 previous themes, including stuff like:

  • Toolbar with key links
  • Search field beneath logo & tag line
  • Well-focused primary menu
  • Comments that sit adjacent to the article (for wide screens)
  • Simplified sidebar content, including latest tweets and recent comments
  • Clean, no-frills footer area focusing on key links and resources
  • Pimped out meta areas (like post footers for single views)
  • Smoothly integrated Google-search functionality
  • Focus on readability and usability
  • Emphasis on discussion/comments

In my experience, good designs just sort of “happen”, once they get rolling tend to take on a life or momentum of their own. That’s the case with this new theme, quite organic in many respects.

Features of the new theme

Here is the rundown on the new Volume theme:

  • Built with HTML5, CSS3, jQuery
  • Responsive, adaptive design via @media queries
  • Lightweight design (less than 500KB total size on average)
  • Clean separation of content, structure, behavior, and presentation
  • Micro-optimized, focused asset loading, compressed content, etc.
  • No hacks, but some basic browser detection is used for details

The main goals for the new theme are usability and something that inspires me to post content. I’ve been working my butt off over here and have tons of new stuff to share, but can’t get there with a theme that everyone hates. So hopefully the new theme works for you, because there’s no going back now – time to use it ;)

Thoughts?

Everyone’s a critic, and as mentioned I value critical feedback. Just keep in mind that my time for playing with new themes is up, so I won’t be implementing a bunch of changes at this point (unless something is broken or whatever). Even so, themes tend to build on top of each other, so shout out any suggestions or concerns for the next exciting theme design here at Perishable Press.

Huge shout out to Daniel Pataki for his helpful feedback and suggestions for the new theme!