Silver Spot

silver spot theme electricClash Media’s new theme is Silver Spot. A fresh theme with two column or three column options and two different css modes (electric silver or burnished silver). What was the inspiration for this theme? Mostly the color! We wanted to go for something chrome or silver but the two designers involved could not agree on what kind of chrome or silver?

I know what you are thinking. Types of silver? Well actually it was more about the shade. I wanted an electric kind of silver, with a more blue hue about it. My designing buddy wanted more of a red hue an almost bronze look.
silver spot theme burnished
In the end we went with both. Yeah that is right, this theme comes with two looks. While the looks are not completely distinct they are different enough that with right match of headers, one site would completely different to another. We have not gone responsive with this theme but it is the last of our non-responsive themes. Google has said responsive theme design is the future and who are we to argue?

The theme has finally been released at wordpress.org if you want to download it go here

So stay tuned here at Clash Media for new exciting responsive themes.

Posted in Themes | Leave a comment

What is Responsive Theme Design for WordPress?

Firstly what is a Responsive WordPress Theme? Wikipedia states :

“Responsive web design (often abbreviated to RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).”

Basically that is true, although it uses a bit too much techno-jargon for my liking. Generally we refer to a responsive theme design as a design that takes into account all or Responsive Theme Selectionas many of the possible devices that will be used by web surfers to view a web site. Some examples of the types of devices are iPads, PC’s (both Apple and Windows based), Android tablets, Smart phones and there are a few more that I have forgotten so I won’t bother mentioning ;)

All these different devices have different hardware and software specifications but the crucial specification that generally dictates a users experience on the web is the screen size. Screen size is therefore generally what dictates how a responsive theme will behave. So what generally happens is that the theme detects what kind of device is actually accessing the site and serves up different html, php and and usually the most importantly different css/style sheets.

Most themes will either adjust the css depending on the width of the browser (usually in pixels) or the type of  device. Some themes will do a  bit of both. It is not all that hard to do and the beauty of this kind of design is that the images will generally get resized on the fly also. No need to adjust image sizes in php or rebuild smaller versions of each image.

Are Responsive Themes Important?

Um… Hell yeah! Why? Because Google says so! The Guru’s at Google have finally decided to pick a clear winner in the responsive theme vs redirect to subdomain method. What is the redirect method? Well basically when you detect a mobile or non-pc device you redirect the user to a subdomain that has been specifically set up for mobile devices. Google previous to June last year were not clear on what method they preferred. However now with that above linked to statement, Google has made it clear that responsive theme design has won that particular war. I have always advocated a responsive solution to different sized device screens. However, having said this there are still some big sites not using responsive methods and they seem to be doing just fine in the traffic stakes, Techcrunch.com to name just one important site!

So for now non-resposive handling of mobile devices is probably fine and your SEO should not take a hit. However, knowing how quickly some of these big sites react to Google Search Engine Optimization statements. We should see them moving to responsive designs relatively quickly and if the big guys move then Google will fast-track the negative affects of non-responsive themes.

So go ahead move to that responsive theme as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

How to pick a WordPress Theme

In this blog post I am just going to talk about some of the problems you can face when starting a new project and the possible pitfalls when choosing a new theme.

wordpress theme selectionWe have all been there. Thinking about starting a new project/web site and one of the first things we think of is how is the site going to look. We may even have a WordPress theme in mind or at least a color scheme. Thinking about the look, design and colors of a blog or website is fun. The actual implementation can be the much harder part of the whole process and to tell you the truth the look of the website is probably one of the last parts of the process. Theoretically you should be thinking about the content, what the website is trying to achieve and how it fits with in whatever niche you are trying to enter.

Let’s assume you have done all that and move on to choosing a theme. This article is going to assume you chose WordPress as the CMS and by doing so you are already well ahead of the game. WordPress is the most Popular CMS on the web today. There are literally thousands of themes that have been developed for WordPress and most niches will have specific themes already built for them. Some of these themes come for free others are premium and need to be paid for.

What is the difference between Premium and Free themes?

Well the obvious answer to this is that premium themes are generally paid for, although this is not always the case. There are themes like Arras that are free or have been for most of their existence (there are rumours that Arras has finally become paid for).
There is more to this story though as most premium themes have many more features and are generally responsive. What is so important about a responsive theme? Google claims that they prefer that websites handle mobile devices in a responsive manner. So whether using WordPress or not responsive website design should always be front and centre of your mind. In fact Clash Media has decided that in the very near future all themes we design will be responsive.

However having said that there are some good free themes on offer at WordPress that offer responsive mobile device handling. I personally will always consider free themes first before looking at premium themes. You never know you may find one that suits your idea perfectly. The added bonus for me, is that I am able to modify existing themes pretty easily so one may be close to what I want and then I can perfect it for my circumstance. That is something you should consider WordPress programming is quite easy. All you need is a basic to moderate understanding of PHP, HTML and CSS and you will be customizing themes like a boss ;)

Conclusion

So this is the first in a series of articles I will be doing regarding theme selection and possibly design at a later date. Hopefully it was useful.

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Whispy

Whispy is a new clean theme based on the old favourite TwentyTen but with quite a few graphical tweaks and with thought given to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Whispy is a nod to those quiet moments in your life when you have time to reflect and make changes in your life. It was discussion (read argument) about themes that lead my partner and I to start a theme production house and Whispy was born. He argued for the design side and I argued for the SEO side and we decided that both are just as important as the other and Whispy is the solution. To download the theme click here.

 

Whispy screenshot

Whispy is a new clean theme based on the old favourite TwentyTen

Plenty of good designers will put together a theme with very little thought for the SEO and there are some very well SEO’d themes, but most look tragic. Whispy tries to make SEO look pleasant.

We have made an effort to have Whispy tick a lot of the good SEO boxes but you should install a good SEO plugin. That being said, Whispy is part of the solution to getting a great looking and properly SEO’d blog.

Enjoy!

Posted in Themes | Leave a comment