I installed an obsolete 2014 theme to bring my author site into 2016.
Did I make the wrong choice?
I know it’s not the techno-savvy thing to do. I’ll probably regret it and change it later. At the time, it was the better option and I elected to use it. I was having issues with the previous Parabola Theme and needed to get out. Don’t get me wrong, Parabola did it’s job… and what a good job it was. Until the new WP Customizer policies rattled it’s settings section in late 2015, I was having an absolute ball with it. I found it’s versatility to be the best by far. I’d still be using it today if it didn’t have to change!
Parabola tried its best to keep us together. She promised a plug-in to rectify the settings issue but after two months she didn’t make good with it. I came to 2016 ready to assign an entirely new layout to http://www.mfp.com.au/angelwanderer and it was either be set in the Parabola Theme or another. The theme needed was to be selected based on three straightforward sections.
- Mobile versatility.
- Full bodied text in the main content area.
- Three columns.
There are a number of great themes out there but so many are either designed for photographers and have magazine layouts (lead with photos) or go the other way ’round for text-based blogs, are stripped so far down that the options for multiple columns are virtually nil.
1. The issue of mobile versatility is high on the priority list for modern bloggers. A statistic I read overnight suggests that almost half of today’s web-browsing is done on a mobile device. Mobile device browsing presents new problems for web-designers. How to they write pages that look equally cool on a laptop screen, a tablet and a mobile phone. Then they have to think about how the mobile devices are held when being viewed. Will the website be seen in a vertical format or a horizontal one? Keeping things cool for every angle is not an easy thing to achieve.
The more complex a site is, the harder it is to retain the visual logic to browse it. In my case (as it is for ninety percent of bloggers) sidebars fall away when the site is viewed vertically on a mobile phone and then stuffed at the bottom. That leaves the content in the body at the forefront and a mish-mash of miscellaneous things at it’s footer. (In some mobile themes, every sidebar and picture is stripped, leaving only text and a basic menu button at the top!)
Theme 2014 has its glitches. It was written a while ago. More people browsed with computers when 2014 was launched. It wasn’t so important to get everything right. Close enough was good enough. But today it matters. It will even matter more tomorrow.
2. Full-bodied, clean text was needed in the body. Imagine reading a novel (such as mine) on a kindle. The text is a basic font, it has good white-space between the lines and the formatting is straight and square. It needs nothing more than a clean stage to be displayed cleanly. It’s sounds simple but it can be hard to find in themes. So many of them want to juggle the text around to allow for ‘related content’ and other things.
3. Three columns. I’m a column hungry person. I grew up in old HTML where nested frames were all the rage and kinda got used to it. I didn’t go wild on them but I enjoyed dividing each page into multiple areas. I like seeing menus to the LH side of the content. It’s a habit for me to have LH sidebar and browse pages from that! In the RH side bar I’m able to drop some relevant photos. Last year I experimented with a video or two in that sidebar but decided that it’s not needed. Static black and whites make a nicer border and sets the scene for the content in the middle (at least that’s the thought behind the change).
So as I step back and re-install an old theme for a new layout, I reserve the right to change my mind. If you have a theme type suggestion that may suit, please drop me a line. – Michael Forman