Over the last few months I have grown dissatisfied with my current layout, which is based off of the WordPress Laila 2.0 theme. The primary reason is that I don’t think it reflects the dynamic nature of the work my students are doing, nor does it provide access to the multiple spaces that my students and I are writing in. I started looking around and searching for WordPress themes and found that I enjoyed how the new magazine-style layouts presented content. For a while I consided purchasing one of WooThemes spectaular layouts; and also considered the popular Mimbo them (but a favorite blog of mine run by two Rowan students, a food coma, uses it and I didn’t want to copy).
Somehow I came across the free, very interesting, and aesthetically pleasing Igloo News Theme designed by Željan Topić. (A huge winter sports fan, I also must say I likes the name of the theme.) I installed the theme but when confronted with the problem of how to edit the web site without causing disruptions for readers and my current summer students. I happened across the Theme Tester plug-in. This plug-in allows a site administrator to edit, update, and see the new theme while the rest of the world sees the old theme. When the new theme has been customized and fully tested it can be released. (Though I do see that work I did reorganizing page hierarchies has resulted in a broken navigation. That will have to stay for now, unfortunately.)
I will be customizing the theme throughout the summer and I will blog about the reason for design choices. I welcome all comments and critiques about those choices. Today I address the following:
- customized the categories in the top navigation
- customized the pages in the sub-navigation
- customized the sidebar widgets, adding feeds from student videos and blogs (one of the reasons for my site update is so that I can showcase and drive traffic to student work)
- reordered the widgets
- added a Google XML sitemap in the footer
- installed the dynamic content gallery plugin (to be customized later)
- investigated Google AdSense (I will post about ads at a later date, but this tweet will hint toward what I’m thinking)
Here is what it looks like so far (the screen shot software did not capture the student videos in the sidebar):
Lots of exciting work still to come and I will keep you updated.