New Theme Active

Visionary WordPress Theme

Today I’ve rolled out a new, magazine look, theme closely based on the Visionary theme by Justin Tadlock. I thought the theme was quite good “out of the box” but I decided to modify it some to fit what I wanted to do here on OpTempo.

The Tricky Parts 

Since the theme uses the “optional excerpt” and since it uses feature images and thumbnail images that I haven’t been using previously I’m having to backfill these on posts.

I’ve also installedl the Full RSS Feed plugin since the theme uses the - more - option. Otherwise the feed would be cut off. Let me know if you see any problems with the feeds.

I have noticed the tabbed navigation widget can be slow to load sometimes as it pops into place. I’ve tried a few things with it, including just having it alone in the sidebar, but it still happens. If you have any ideas on this let me know.

There have been a few other quirks I’ve dealt with and hacks I’ve had to do so if you see anything weird let me know about that too. I’ll probably be applying other changes over the next few days as well.

Advertising & Widget Changes

I’ve added the Voxant Newsroom and Google Video Units to the sidebar. I think this is a good way to display both ads and useful content.

I’ve cut back the number of Scratchback TopSpots to 5, rather than the previous 20. They’re just $1 and a good way to promote your site. I know the ones I’ve bought on other sites are one of my top 5 traffic sources.

As for the other various blog widgets, I’ve moved down to the very bottom of the page so if you want to see them, scroll down there.

What do you think of this theme? How about the magazine look, like or no like? Leave a comment and let me know.


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Comment by Justin Tadlock
2007-11-17 13:18:00

Of course I like the look. Just stopping by to thank you for using the theme and writing a post about it.

You mentioned the tabbed navigation can be slow to load sometimes. This is unfortunately a limitation of our Internet connection speeds. To get it to load faster, remove some of your content you have on the page. You definitely have a lot going on here. It doesn’t “pop” into place until all content is loaded. I hope this helps some.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-17 13:59:18

Hi Justin,

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for creating such a nice theme.

On my test site I still had the “pop effect” even without the ad and video units so it may be just connection speed or something I accidentally changed. I may play around more with what I’m loading to optimize it better. I mostly do back end web programming in VB.NET/C#/ASP.NET but I do know some PHP and CSS so I’ll see what I can come up with.

Oh, and if anyone asks your theme does work with Brian’s Threaded Comments (obviously since I’m using it here). Some themes don’t work well with it.

Thanks again.

Comment by Ivy
2007-11-17 23:40:01

Hi, I think the new look is snazzy :)

Just a small note: You might want to draw a vertical line or give some sort of light color background to the right column to separate it from the main page on the left…

But it doesn’t really interfere with the reading, just makes it a little “busy”.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-17 23:49:32

Thanks Ivy,

I’m going to be playing around with it some more, that’s for sure. As a programmer, I can’t resist tinkering. I kind of like the faint line drawn by the comments so I may try something like that.

Comment by Jason A Clark
2007-11-24 02:04:28

I think this is one of the better themes out there right now so I’ll definitely be watching with interest to see what changes you make. I don’t envy you, though. I’ve been thinking of changing mine for a while now but can’t bring myself to dedicate the time or energy.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-24 09:49:30

Hi Jason,

The main changes I made were disabling the video and Flickr components that I wouldn’t be using the same way, adding in the Voxant and Google video units and doing some other things with ads. Javascript based ads were the most difficult problem.

I also had to work some with load speed and I’ve gotten that to what I’d consider “just OK”. I’ll probably do some more work there.

I’m considering making changes to the base font and color as well, just to set OpTempo apart from other sites using this theme.

As for making the change, I have a test system that mirrors my actual content so that I can program and test everything there first then upload the changes to the theme folder here. That makes it a lot easier to deal with.

Comment by Mike O
2007-11-25 01:31:45

I’m glad to see you got the threaded comments plugin working, I may switch to it as well soon. I had it on the old one…wasn’t sure how well it would work.

Comment by jfc
2007-11-25 02:05:08

Thanks for stopping by Mike,

The threaded comments seems to work fine with it.

I’m working on some additional changes but they aren’t ready to deploy yet, maybe in the next few days. I suspect more blogs are going to be using this theme so making some cosmetic changes might be a good idea.

Comment by Mike O
2007-11-25 17:13:49

Yeah, I tried to change it up a lot, change the colors, add my own things, take out the top links, etc., to try and make it my own.

But as you said, it may require more work.

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