WordPress Blue http://www.wordpressblue.com Easy WordPress Setup and Modification Sat, 15 Jan 2011 17:30:09 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.1-RC2 Douglas Bowman/StopDesign http://www.wordpressblue.com/2011/01/douglas-bowman_stopdesign-com/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2011/01/douglas-bowman_stopdesign-com/#comments Sat, 15 Jan 2011 17:30:09 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=855 StopDesign is the personal site of the designer Douglas Bowman, whose work most of us have been seeing for years. For my part, I didn’t realize who he was, although I certainly saw his WebMonkey icon more times than I can count. WebMonkey is, the web design education portal of Wired.com (oddly, there’s a link on Wired’s home page to Webmonkey, but not in reverse. But my supposition is that it has to do with the conservation of monitor real estate).

NB if you’re not inclined to read this long post – at least do yourself a favor and look at Bowman’s work – in depth at StopDesign - and more briefly, at his personal website, DBowman.com – which has a spot-on landing/index page.

This isn’t Bowman’s only eye-catching logo/identity work. Check out the Cocktail logo at right, also done while Bowman was at Wired.

“]

Cocktail Logo by Douglas Bowman [link to Mr. Bowman's online portfolio

 

 

 

 

 

And his invitation for a party, in two parts at lower left, also done at Wired:

Douglas Bowman - Wired New York Invitation (1 of 2)

 

The elegance – in the sense of aesthetically pleasing without waste or excess – of these designs becomes even more pronounced in two user interfaces designed in whole or in part by Mr.Bowman. The first is his own site – StopDesign. Note that the top nav bar has plenty of space, and that the description of each subpage has a concise description (one word) and a slightly more elaborated description (two words).

Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com navbar

 

Now the navbar on the “About” page - same layout, absent the pencil image, but a different color combination:

Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com - "About" page Navbar

Now the “also | of interest” page navbar:

 

 

Douglas Bowman - navbar on "of interest/also" page at stopdesign.com

 

 

 

 

 

Note that there are actually several complementary navigation processes which tell the user that she or he has arrived at a different page:

  1. the content, layout, and background color of the navbar
  2. and the page itself change.
  3. The large-type announcement, just underneath the navbar using the one-word page description (“home,” “portfolio,” about,” and “also”) each tagged as Heading 1

In other words, color and cognitive function (language) both work to help users navigate the site. I’m not sure how to quantify it – but Mr. Bowman’s site fits what seems a large amount of information into four easily navigable pages.  This is like Henry Dreyfuss’s use of three variables – size, shape and color – to distinguish between controls on a tractor. (citation/illustration coming in planned update).

The second example of Douglas Bowman’s brilliant user interface work is the design of the Google  Calendar (For a direct look at the Google Calendar, a free app which is part of the ever-growing suite of Google services, see http://calendar.google.com/)

Check out these images:

webmonkey2 by Douglas Bowman Cocktail Logo by Douglas Bowman [link to Mr. Bowman's online portfolio[ Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com navbar stopdesign.com  "About" page Navbar Wired New York Invitation by Douglas Bowman (2 of 2) Douglas Bowman web_gcal1 Douglas Bowman - navbar on "of interest/also" page at stopdesign.com Douglas Bowman web_gcal2 Douglas Bowman stopdesign.com 2011-1-15 10-53 About page Navbar DSouglas Bowman web_gcal3 Douglas Bowman - Wired New York Invitation (1 of 2) Douglas Bowman web_gcal4 ]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2011/01/douglas-bowman_stopdesign-com/feed/ 0
A Collection of WordPress theme frameworks | CMS Critic – Content Management Reviews http://www.wordpressblue.com/2011/01/a-collection-of-wordpress-theme-frameworks-cms-critic-content-management-reviews/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2011/01/a-collection-of-wordpress-theme-frameworks-cms-critic-content-management-reviews/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 14:31:24 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=850 I hadn’t heard of CMSCritic until yesterday, when I found A Collection of WordPress theme frameworks.  And in that post I learned of WordPress frameworks, paid and free, that I’d never heard of before – as well as those that I’m familiar with -some that I use, others that I’ll try when budget permits.

Check out CMS Critic – their range is not limited to WordPress, and is, in my opinion, an invaluable resource when trying to match CMS application to client and project.

 

]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2011/01/a-collection-of-wordpress-theme-frameworks-cms-critic-content-management-reviews/feed/ 0
Marc Carson – openoffice flowchart template http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/marc-carson-openoffice-flowchart-template/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/marc-carson-openoffice-flowchart-template/#comments Fri, 26 Nov 2010 09:00:34 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=841 I use OpenOffice more and more, although I’ve been slow to master OpenOffice Draw. In my blogging, and in other work, I often think in visual terms, but don’t necessarily have the skills to make it happen. To be more truthful, I don’t have the skills. And for its many strengths, there aren’t that many easily available OpenOffice templates worth working from.

Enter Marc Carson, a designer from Ukiah, California. He’s released into the wild a flow chart template for OpenOffice Draw.

Excerpted from Marc’s comments:

Flowcharts are a powerful tool for organizing your thoughts. They can help you avoid procrastination or blocks in your workflow by clearly showing the next steps forward, accompanied by solutions for any questions that come up.

I use flowcharts all the time in my own work, especially when I’m confronted with a big project that has lots of variables.

The default OpenOffice graphics are really, really bad. So this is my contribution back to the community.


Marc Carson’s post on his OO template.

Further Resources:

]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/marc-carson-openoffice-flowchart-template/feed/ 0
ThemeJunkie.com – 12 good-looking-out-of-the-box themes http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/themejunkie-com-12-good-looking-out-of-the-box-themes/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/themejunkie-com-12-good-looking-out-of-the-box-themes/#comments Sun, 21 Nov 2010 02:55:07 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=830

Theme-Junkie, which I learned about today, has 12 WordPress themes on offer, which I have not yet experimented with, and given my current theory that even with the most customizable theme, if it looks like what you want by default, it might just be the right theme for you. Put another way – it’s good to have lots of customization choices, but even better have to use as few as possible. (In my case, since I’m prone to making seriously stupid mistakes – often in rapid succession, I’m usually looking for more choices than is good for me. Which, I suppose, makes me  sort of a WP theme “junkie.” )

One theme that caught my eye was CubeLight, ($29.95, no limit on domain usage), which includes some small touches that I like.

The cube is tripled in this image, used in the theme to break up text, a clever play on the mathematical meaning of “cube” (to triple a given sum):

]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/themejunkie-com-12-good-looking-out-of-the-box-themes/feed/ 0
WordPress NYC: customization without coding http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/wordpress-nyc-customization-without-coding/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/wordpress-nyc-customization-without-coding/#comments Thu, 18 Nov 2010 17:55:49 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=825 For some time, it’s been my intention to make it to one of the  meetings of the NYC WordPress Meetup Group, which is the product of what must be extraordinary efforts by its organizer, Steve Bruner.

On Tuesday, I did, for a presentation about customization without code.  The first portion was about the Atahualpa theme from BytesForAll, and the second about the Genesis Framework used in conjunction with its Prose child theme from StudioPress.com

Atahualpa is free, and my impression is that it’s quite customizable without resort to any code. (BytesForAll is in the process of developing its own paid framework, ThemeFrame, now available in late-beta form for $80 with upgrade rights. The developers may be – temporarily – in the awkward position of competing with their relatively undeveloped paid framework against their own highly functional free theme.  Another reminder that we’re in rapidly changing times, and tomorrow’s business model may not be foreseeable today).

With respect to the Genesis Framework, I’ve heard nothing but good things  – initially from Chris Brogan. And StudioPress includes Brian Gardner, whose work is always first-rate, and Mark Jaquith (his personal blog is incisive, funny, and he takes and posts wonderful photographs).

I’d like to be able to make  authoritative and comprehensive comparisons between theme frameworks. But I can’t.  I own licenses for several theme systems for two reasons:  first, given my other commitments, I’ve decided that I’m not going to teach myself CSS, except what I pick up along the way; I’m committed to trying to other educational goals (EMT certification, a ham radio license, and training and occasionally teaching karate; second, while I’m a big believer in free and open source software – I believe, to quote President Lincoln, that we’re entitled to “the fruits of our labors.” Third, I’m convinced that the right theme framework(s) will let me do what I need to do on the net.

I own licenses to several theme  frameworks/systems – and they’re all different, and all have virtues. Eric Hamm’s Frugal Theme, has, I think, the highest percentage of screen space in a theme usable by widgets. Most of what I’ve tried to do with  Frugal has come out perfectly. When it didn’t, it was generally a result of my limitations or a failure to “RTFM.”1  Chris Pearson’s Thesis Theme has enabled me, using easily accessible settings and no code at all, to produce a website as a memorial for a close friend’s late relative – in under three hours. The late relative had been a performer of some celebrity – and had friends all over the world – so a commentable blog was ideal for coordinating memorial services. Similarly, in less than one hour, I was able to use Thesis when a neighbor’s dog had gotten lost. (Now, I would use an existing site which has many local subscribers – but as it turned out the site was instrumental in the dog’s eventual return). However, I’m not always able to make Thesis do what I can imagine – and while there are a growing number of skins available, they’ve got to be loaded via FTP in a less-than-simple-enough manner. I blew it in three out of five sandbox attempts.

I’ve made a point here of not including my affiliate codes in any of the links in this post. I’m a fan of both Eric’s and Chris’s work, and hope this post doesn’t cost me any friends. These theme frameworks are all amazing pieces of work – they stand in relation to blog/site design as a word processor and laser printer stand in relation to a typewriter and a mimeograph machine.

If you’re reading this post wondering “which theme is this fool recommending, anyway?” I’m saying that this is not a zero-sum game – WordPress theme frameworks aren’t merely tools, they’re design guides of a sort. And if they weren’t, perhaps the non-coder (including me) would be entirely overwhelmed.

And – to round this out – which is to say that now I’ll either be perceived as fair (my aspiration), or alienate everyone I know who has anything to do with WordPress – there are three other systems that provide a lot of “customization without coding”:

Ian Stewart’s Thematic System, with its many progeny;

Headway Themes, with a number of add-on features not seen elsewhere;

Last but not least:  ProThemeDesign offers two systems – and because each has, if I understand correctly, child themes which won’t run on the other, in fairness they should be considered separately. First, the Elemental theme Framework by both Darren Hoyt and  Ben Gillibanks. Gillibanks was first well-known, I think, for the Regulus Theme;  also on offer at  ProThemeDesign is Darren Hoyt’s Mimbo Pro, which counts as a “system,” by my lights, because “skins” are available for it, in addition to the options inherent in the theme itself.

For present purposes we won’t elaborate on the difference between “skins” (e.g. Thesis and Mimbo Pro)  and “child themes” (most, if not all, of other theme systems/frameworks discussed in this post) – both are ways of increasing the choices available to the theme user, those choices including visual choices (color, layout, fonts)

  1. “RTFM” is an abbreviated idiom, and stands for the expression “Read The F—ing Manual.”
]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/wordpress-nyc-customization-without-coding/feed/ 0
WeAreAGoodCompany.com (they are)/League of Movable Type http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/weareagoodcompany-com-league-of-movable-type/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/weareagoodcompany-com-league-of-movable-type/#comments Wed, 17 Nov 2010 02:43:02 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=819 A Good Company, also known as “We Are A Good Company,” is that indeed. Came across them through their project League of Movable Type, because I was looking for their font League Gothic.  The always amazing Randa Clay used League Gothic in a header logo/wordmark thatshe designed for my primaryweb project, Popular Logistics. A Good Company has many projects going other than the League of Movable Type, but for the moment we’ll stick with that, because it deserves some attention.

Popular Logistics header image by Randa Clay

A Good Company, also known as “We Are A Good Company,” is that indeed. Came across them through their project League of Movable Type, because I was looking for their font League Gothic.  The always amazing Randa Clay used League Gothic in a header logo/wordmark thatshe designed for my primaryweb project, Popular Logistics. A Good Company has many projects going other than the League of Movable Type, but for the moment we’ll stick with that, because it deserves some attention. In addition to League Gothic, League of Movable Type has a number of other beautiful free, open-source fonts. I’m in the middle of sorting out the best way to display fonts in a WordPress Post1

Check out their A Good Portfolio project, and:

  • Lettercase (in, or moving into, beta)
  • SidePaths – which has, I think, immense implications to do good stuff (and prevent bad stuff)

And there’s more. It’s all good, and it’s worth your time.

  1. For those facing the same problem, I recommend 8 Handy WordPress Plugins For Font Lovers from WebDesignBooth.
]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/weareagoodcompany-com-league-of-movable-type/feed/ 0
Beautiful logo from Angie Bowen at Arbent.net http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/beautiful-logo-from-angie-bowen-at-arbent-net/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/beautiful-logo-from-angie-bowen-at-arbent-net/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 01:00:37 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=814 Isn’t this a nice piece of work? By Angie Bowen of Arbent.Net. You  can see more of her work there.

]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/beautiful-logo-from-angie-bowen-at-arbent-net/feed/ 0
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/812/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/812/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 00:50:46 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=812 http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/812/feed/ 0 A Comparison of 6 Popular WordPress Frameworks | Pro Blog Design http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/a-comparison-of-6-popular-wordpress-frameworks-pro-blog-design/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/a-comparison-of-6-popular-wordpress-frameworks-pro-blog-design/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 00:50:38 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=810 Via Pro Blog Design, an excellent piece:  A Comparison of 6 Popular WordPress Frameworks | Pro Blog Design. This comparison of six free frameworks – and with child themes or skins that tend to be less pricey than the equivalents with paid frameworks – was written by Angie Bowen of Arbenting.

]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/a-comparison-of-6-popular-wordpress-frameworks-pro-blog-design/feed/ 0
Jon Smajda’s “Pull This” pull-quote plugin http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/jon-smajdas-pull-this-pull-quote-plugin/ http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/jon-smajdas-pull-this-pull-quote-plugin/#comments Wed, 10 Nov 2010 00:26:14 +0000 jonathansoroko http://www.wordpressblue.com/?p=766 Jon Smajda is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Minnesota, the author of two very useful WordPress plugins, one of which you’ll see in action momentarily. Pull This is a lovely pull-quote plugin.  The primary use of the pull-quote is to emphasize – by repeating and enlarging – one phrase from a larger text. Pull This does this quite nicely.  Among its other features,  Pull This lets you put the pull-quote wherever you like, although you may have to play a bit. To illustrate this, I’m going to place the first pull-quote just after this paragraph. Doesn’t this phrase stand out nicely?

In the posts which immediately follow we’ll try other implementations of Pull This.

]]>
http://www.wordpressblue.com/2010/11/jon-smajdas-pull-this-pull-quote-plugin/feed/ 0