This is has been an interesting case study in my continued use of WOO Canvas. The client (Philanthropy Futures) had a theme in mind (from Theme Forest). It was a beauty. But as usual, I looked it up and was less than impressed with the support, features, and future proof-ness of the theme and people behind it. So what’s a good Canvas fan to do? Why, build it in Canvas of course!
Travis Culwell wanted to roll up his sleeves behind the scenes and add content, maybe even work on images and design at least a bit. Yet another good reason as with Canvas there are so many features that you have access to from the WP admin screens. He had a designer send me some ideas for design, which we added. We also talked through navigation and the featured images on the home page. They wanted it lean and clean–we got there.
It’s the beauty of WOO Canvas: as simple or as complex as you’d like–both on the inside and outside. Travis can get in there and add a new blog post, add a featured image, and an excerpt. But he can also get in there and get nutty with the whole WOO Sidebar Manager (allowing him to make different sidebars for different pages or sections of the site–try that without Sidebar Manager).
The Curry Senior Center in downtown San Francisco had a working site. Not bad at all: nice images, lots of content, good navigation. Hard to beat, but WOO Canvas and Slider Pro, it sure makes the job easier. With the flexible framework, we’re able to easily use complex elements (inserting code to pull a slider into the home page, for example) while at the same time using the out-of-the-box features of Canvas such as font styling, cool blockquotes, and even nav bar hover over styling. Whew! Woo!
Because there are so many style features built right into the WordPress admin panel, logged-in users can change quite a bit of the design of the site. They can change styling for widget headers, all of the headings (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.), link color, footer customization, logo positioning, header padding … the list goes on and on. It’s a powerhouse in there and the more we play, the more we like.
We did some fancy WOO Canvas Top Nav Styling to get that top navigation over to the right, down a bit, and above the main nav. With the right side colors flowing out to the right, we had to make that main navigation transparent and place the nav on top of the black bar that we made part of the background, otherwise it was too much tweaking in the variety of browsers. With custom CSS styling on a per-menu-item basis, we can stylize individual menu items easily (this is with CSS). For example, Donate is bold and Volunteer is not.
Slider Pro is a new kid on the block. Well, our block anyway. Loaded with features, styles, and configurations, it makes adding and then styling a slider a breeze. Took a little doing to get rid of some of the outer borders and such, but once we got it cleaned up and loaded in the right place, it looks great and works perfectly. Didn’t notice a lag time on the loading either.
On a final techno babble note, we had some trouble with background positioning with IE 7 and IE 8. Took some CSS voodoo, but finally got things looking as best they were going to look in those nasty browsers. We’re no longer even looking at anything in IE 6.
Rooftop School’s website was built in Homestead. Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. Updates were so painful the school just didn’t bother. Everyone was dependent on one or two people who had the keys to the kingdom (the 14th century kingdom). It’s the last day of school today and we’re rocking WordPress for Rooftop.
We’re just getting started, but we already have it sporting a Genesis Framework theme from StudioPress, the oh-so-hip Ken Burns Slideshow, and it’s all integrated with Google Calendar (and docs and mail). We’re looking forward to maxing out WordPress with BuddyPress (for forums, discussions, groups, messaging, etc.) and then WordPress multisite so we can have independent sites for different areas/departments/classes for the school. We’re also looking to max out the user permissions so that certain people can edit certain areas, but not others–both in the multisite environment and on the main site. We’re looking into something of a Wiki also, but maybe WordPress can handle that somehow (with things like PTA manuals or the Welcome Kindergartners documents and manuals). In other words: The Works.
Have you built a WordPress site for a school? How did it go? Pros and cons? What features did you use most? This is our first school site and we’re looking forward to pushing the limits.
The Historic Vineyard Society wanted a site where it could collect information about historic vineyards. They wanted to be able to organize the vineyards by date, producers, and types of grapes. They wanted to list the vineyards alphabetically, grouped into bunches, and still be able to be sorted by year etc. They needed a database and really a relational database at that. Oh, but it should look elegant, too. They wanted vineyard owners to be able to fill out a form to add their vineyard to the registry. Yep, we can do that.
Mike Dildine can get into the WordPress admin of the site and add new vineyards as they are registered, check boxes to select which decade, which producers, etc. and make the site live with new content. Speaking of new content, we just added a blog.
Ray Simon needed a site up for the Embarcadero Technology Group. He needed it soon. He needed it tomorrow. “Ray, we have to talk.”
We did talk. We talked through a few themes and in the end went with a beautifully professional Elegant Theme from Nick Roach. We got a low priced-domain, we got him some fast WordPress hosting and I walked Ray through the basics of WordPress publishing and he was off to the races. The next day his site was populated with content, images, links, and organized. Go Ray, go WordPress!
Ray uploaded images and behind the scenes, the theme helped crop and resize images so Ray only had to upload them once. Using WordPress’s new menu system, he was able to create and customize a menu for the drop-down navigation bar. Mixing pages and categories, even tags and direct URLs in the menu system.
Spending some time together on the phone and looking through–and then working through–some themes, we were able to make a smart decision that enabled the Embarcadero Technology Group to get their site up and running fast, efficiently, and effectively.
Film Quarterly (filmquarterly.org) had a good site with lots of content. But managing that content had become troublesome. They had years and years of archived content: images, copy, covers, photos, etc. They needed a site that could handle all of that content in a user-friendly–and visitor-friendly–way.
Querido Galdo (queridomundo.com) was hired to design the site and Likoma (likoma.com) was brought in to “make the pretty work.” Working with Querido was both a pleasure and a learning experience. What he did with the layout we were using was inspiring. Together we combined form and function to provide Film Quarterly with a beautiful new online presence. Keep an eye on their site … especially when they have Amanda Seyfried on the cover!