Found a great non-Canvas theme! Or, well, ahem, maybe not.

Found a great non-Canvas theme! Or, well, ahem, maybe not.

We found a beauty of a slider in a theme that changed from color to black & white on hover! Woo!

Oh, the rest of the theme doesn’t work so well? Oh, ahem, yes, well … let’s ditch it then.

Here’s a close-up screenshot of the cool slider from the theme. Does a great job over a hover-over effect from black and white to color. Very cool. But the rest of the theme was too difficult to, well, do much of anything. Even trying to build the navigation wasn’t working.

When is switching themes worth it? What’s the math? What are the upsides and downsides?

I made an executive decision and decided to stop fiddling and futzing with the theme I didn’t know (and apparently not many others as the theme wasn’t very well supported … imagine!) and get back to a supported theme that I knew would work and, hold on, be a longer-term strategic benefit to the client. Because keep in mind, once this theme is in the hands of the client, they are the ones who need to know how it works and even more important: that it works. This other theme with the fancy slider was a one-trick pony: it had a pretty slider. But that was it. It couldn’t trot, run, gallop or even walk.

Moral of the story? When is $66 more like $666?

Original slider from theme.

Original slider from theme.

So I shopped around and found a third-party accordion slider that did just about the same thing. Did it do everything the first slider did? No. But it worked.

3rd party slider found on Code Canyon.

3rd party slider found on Code Canyon.

Finally the site, now built in Canvas with the accordion slider from Code Canyon. The accordion isn’t all that easy to edit, but at least we don’t need to edit the slider very often. The rest of the site is built with a powerful theme that we can easily update, upgrade, configure to our heart’s content.

Great slider idea to bring photos from black and white to color ... but the rest of the theme was difficult to use.

Great slider idea to bring photos from black and white to color … but the rest of the theme was difficult to use.

Muza Kids

Muza Kids

What can you do with a few colors and a few photos? Lots.

We put together a nice site for Muza Kids, A Year in the Arts. It sports a clean navigation, clear logo and tagline, and they can use their home page slider to add featured projects. The home page is divided up into easy-to-use columns (easy for the user and easy for the visitors to the site). Nicely embedded Facebook widget in the right sidebar. PayPal donations is set up so they can collect funds for future projects. They’re ready to roll.

Muza Kids

Keep Oakland Beautiful

Keep Oakland Beautiful

Together with the ridiculously talented Querido Galdo, we have a clean site that gets right to the point: how can Oakland residents keep Oakland clean? Through this site, they’ll be able to inform residents about how to help. They’ll be able to post to their blog, showcase events, and display photo galleries of Beautiful Oakland.

Querido created the logo and hand-crafted the buttons and info graphics for the site. It what gives it the clean-but-custom look you see at keepoaklandbeautiful.org.

Keep Oakland Beautiful

Community Ventures

Community Ventures

Community Ventures was the third in a trio of sites we built for the Kassan and Katovich law practice. Because they’re managing all three of the sites, they’ll benefit from the consistency of the look and feel, but even more so from the administrative backend where we’re using the same framework under the hood.

They’ll be able to use the same shortcodes for special formatting, the same layout options (left sidebar, right sidebar, no sidebar, etc.) as well as font selections, background colors, etc.

Philanthropy Futures

Philanthropy Futures

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).

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