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How to evaluate a theme?

  1. (this isn't a support question, it is a request for suggestions)

    With the announcement that wordpress.com will be getting more themes (yay), I was wondering what criteria should be used for evaluating them.

    This is the list I came up with, please respond with any other suggestions of things to look for.

    Theme name
    Theme version
    Theme colour
    Theme image
    Custom image header
    Firefox support
    Internet Explorer support
    Page width
    - Max image width
    Sidebar width
    Pages with hierarchy
    Categories with hierarchy
    Blogroll with categories and images
    Sidebar support
    Sidebar location
    Sidebar widgets bugs
    Top navbar support
    Page template support
    - Archives
    - Categories
    - Feedback
    - Page comments
    HTML tag style bugs
    Trackbacks different than comments
    Custom features

  2. More than one sidebar. :)

  3. It's an actual WordPress theme, there's someplace where you can download it, and you don't have to pay money for it.

    /drmike looking at a few of the "suggestions" within the comments.

  4. http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=2132&replies=30

    near the end of the thread tt and i pointed out some features wp should consider before adding a new theme.

  5. http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=2859&replies=44

    this thread also says which are the best templates available now and why and what kind of features we look out for in new themes in the future.

  6. http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=2904&replies=25

    and finally this thread tells us what we don't like and why.

  7. Just out of the topic (and I have send feedback also)
    Why all themes don't have header customization?
    eg. Polo is the best theme (as it is clean and also has links below the header) but it doesn't allow header customisation which is annoying...

  8. lansdownhockeyclub
    Member

    @shashiingale

    Do you mean the 'Pool' theme? ;)

  9. Thanks..
    Its pool...

  10. i did wonder if the new theme wasn't added to my list... ;P

  11. Regulus also has header customisation doesn't it? I think it is one of the best themes there is.

    And i would also add as a must have (didn't see it above) the ability to add pages. Whether the theme is 1,2 or 3 column is a matter of personal taste as far as evaluation is concerned and if these were going to be introduced then I would suggest for each category (e.g 1 col, 2 col, 3 col).

  12. Um, do you mean Dashboard -> Write -> Pages or am I misunderstanding here? All themes should have that ability.

    Adding to the list:

    Widget support
    Page templates - Contact page

    I actually suggested this a few months back to staff but didn't get much support for it from them.

  13. @ shashiingal
    And there I was riding around on my trusty pony (he's 32), mallet in hand looking for the POLO theme - what a disappointmnet. My steed and I were seeking a green as grass theme and what found we found was yet another blue and white one. ;)

    @drmike
    I'm with britgirl. IMO every theme should have the capacity to
    (1) add pages
    (2) have comments on pages
    (3) choose the template option for creating a contact page and
    (4) to set the page order by numerically to over-ride alphabetization.

  14. *sigh* Folks are suggesting themes that we already have over in the comments.

    I would love to know of a theme here that we can't add in Pages.

    I agree with the comments on pages issue. That should be a given.

    I agree with contact page. That's why i listed it as well. :)

    Agree with the page order. This is built in into WP but themes override it.

  15. Let's hope that Matt comes to the forum and uses the search box to pull all the threads that sulz pointed to. It seems that folks contributing to his thread haven't done that. *sigh*

  16. OK - we can add pages so scratch that, since this already exists in all themes. My bad. With some themes it looks less obvious than in others.

  17. Updated list based on reading those threads.

    Theme
    - Theme name
    - Theme version
    - Theme colour
    - Theme image
    - Custom image header
    - Top navbar support

    Displays the same in FF and IE

    Main Page
    - Max image width
    - font typeface
    - font size
    - post titles show dates
    - text capitalization
    - links stand out from text
    - next / prev post
    - HTML tag style bugs
    -- Bullets for lists

    Single Post View
    - sidebar displays

    Sidebar
    - Number of sidebars
    - Text alignment
    - text capitalization
    - Sidebar width
    - Sidebar location
    - Sidebar widgets support
    - Sidebar widgets bugs
    -- Calendar mouseover shows titles
    - HTML tag style bugs
    -- Bullets for lists
    - Search gives security warning

    Pages
    - Pages with hierarchy
    - Page order displayed properly
    - Page edit links
    - Long page names

    Categories
    - Categories with hierarchy
    - Category numbers on same line (also prob for Archives)
    - Long category names

    Blogroll
    - Blogroll with categories
    - Blogroll with images
    - Long blogroll names

    Page template support
    - Archives
    - Categories
    - Feedback / Contact
    - Allows page comments

    Comments
    - Displays edit comments link
    - Displays trackbacks different than comments

    Custom features

    Short list of the best current themes (from the best theme thread):
    Blix, Regulus, Default, Light, Andreas

  18. my, are we that demanding? lol

  19. The Number One way to evaluate the fixed Templates? Designers Rarely get it, and neither do bloggers. The thing that matters most: FONT.

    ~Type duplicates speech~

    You should post that on your desktop. While I am puter/tech illiterate, I DO know design. I've been studying typography for Years, yet what I know is Miniscule compared to what there is to learn. Most writers Think "design" of template is important --to readers, but it isn't. HOW you 'sound' --HOW you convey what you are saying is First. --How you 'sound'/ font --influences reaction --even by those who don't understand/know a bit of it.

    Proof? Look at Tt’s reaction to someone who started a thread by posting question: in all caps. That was yelling; she protested, corrected the ignorant author.

    So Template who-haw’s/doodads --are all for the writer's convenience, and nothing to do with communicating what one has to say.

    Having said that: I am Mystified at not having ability to Contact a blogger/receive an e-mail from my blog. Why is that? --More surprising that Dr.Mike proposed and got ignored??? Granted, So far: the only who desperately want to contact want me to know about slot machines,
    AdSense and educating a mythical child in my home(???), still "CONTACT" a serious lack. Also I want “Contact” link because: I will not post Comments in blogs any more, now that my comments are ‘tracked.’

    Poppy

  20. Poppy, if you don't want your comments tracked, then edit your profile here on the forum and take out the url of your website. I did that for different reasons. But now when I comment on other WordPress blogs, my Capri name isn't clickable.

  21. ~Nosysnoop: Wow! Thanks! But, uh, how? I tried to cut my address, but it won't go...instructions?

  22. poppy: click save after you delete your address.

    Just to let you guys know that I'm in the process of going through all of the themes on a bug hunt (as well as creating a spreadsheet of theme features at a glance).

    This is the test blog I'm using:

    http://wptheme.wordpress.com

    I figure I can get through around 4 themes a week.

  23. poppy
    look in the forum for the thread entitled edit your profile remove url to avoid forum tracking - I put all the step by step instructions for you in it.
    @engtech
    great I'll check this out tomorrow.

  24. Got my privacy back! Thanks Peeps!

  25. tt: great, I'd like to know if there's any potential bugs the test blog wouldn't find.

  26. @poppy

    (1) With css customization you can change the font type, style, size and colour on any theme.

    (2) Re: receive an e-mail from my blog
    This email question has been discussed many times on the forum and answered by staff. The most recent answer is found here http://wordpress.com/forums/topic.php?id=3799&replies=5

    (3) AdSense and educating a mythical child in my home .... CONTACT ...
    I admit I'm not clear on what you mean but I'll try to answer what I think you mean.
    Adsense and other advertising options are being considered by sysadmin and advertising is currently being tested. Requests for a page template for a"contact" page on all themes have been made.

  27. Hi guys,

    I did my first comparison of Shocking Blue Green, Blix, Regulus, Sandbox, Kubrick

    http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/09/12/wordpresscom-theme-review-shocking-blue-green-blix-regulus-sandbox-kubrick/

  28. Great idea, will save a lot of people a lot of testing :)

  29. Thanks engtech.

    The IE/FF compatibility is an important thing. My theme looks a little bit worse on IE. The spacing between the post heading and the post-navigation links is too small in IE. There might be a way to fix this in CSS, but I can't be bothered to do that at this time.

    Its amazing that IE rips off so much from the better browsers, but still succeeds in messing up a few things of its own. I don't want to put a "Get Firefox" link on my blog but I have been *this close* to doing it in the past.

  30. I should put IE compatibility on the list. One thing I've noticed is that IE almost always chokes horribly if the image width is too big. It will put the sidebar below the posts, etc.

    Stupid IE. It'll be nice when IE 7 is finally out and there's a decent browser for people who didn't get with Firefox.

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