At the end of last year I was asked to assist with a WordPress site for a series of sessions that was being presented by our Center for Teaching Learning and Research. It turned into a pretty fun experience as I chose a theme and begin designing around the content. In the end – all functioned as we’d hoped, but we did run into a few challenges that required me to tweak the theme a bit. In essence, (like many WordPress sites) I felt like I was manipulating the platform to do what I wanted vs. what it was intended to do (i.e. It’s a blogging platform but I want to create a WEB SITE!)
Here’s what I learned:
- Sometimes you won’t find a theme limitation until your content is fully loaded. In our instance the theme organizes content on the main screen based on timing (which I could control) and block size (which I could only slightly control based on text). This resulted in two events being out of order.
- Being able to manipulate CSS can be the key to success! This was the only way I was able to remove the blog date from the posts. This was confusing since the blog date was different than the event date.
- You can’t please everyone with design, but getting feedback as you move through the process allows you to at least be somewhat confident that you haven’t completely missed the mark. Each piece of critical feedback always hits me hard but I try to hide that from everyone because it’s what makes my designs better. Being able to absorb, analyze and process feedback without taking it personally is a growth process. Finding your voice to disagree with feedback and provide counter points is a whole other lesson that I’m slowly growing into as I become more confident in my design choices.
- Creating something feels really good. It’s been a long time since art class for this technologist but being able to create something that others respond to is a meaningful exercise and one I hope to do more and more.