Wider Themes

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  • #483354

    lance
    Staff

    Often we hear feedback that the themes on WordPress.com are not wide enough.

    For those asking for wider themes, we’re curious: what motivates you to wish for a wider theme?

    Is your site only showing photography? If so, what would you think about a photoblog theme like Duotone being wider to show a much larger image? Or would a normal theme that has image-only layouts be a better fix? For example, Twenty Ten has normal layout (two column with sidebar on the right) but when you view a single attached image you get a full-width, one-column layout with no sidebar. Would that type of layout choice work for you, or do you want the entire theme to be full-width where the front page, archives, single post all have the same width?

    If you don’t show photos, why does your site layout need to be wider? A text-only layout is actually proven to be more readable, usable, and accessible when it’s constrained to a certain number of words per line. So in that sense, a wider layout would be a poor choice for your site visitors.

    There is also the idea of a theme that can have a layout “type” per post or page. So in that case you get a default layout choice plus optional per-post/page layout choices in a module on the Edit Post/Page screen. What do you think of that for your favorite theme?

    Your feedback is awesome—it makes us better. But in order to really meet your needs, we want to know more about what you’re asking for.

    #483471

    fotdmike
    Member

    Well, this doesn’t answer your question at all really but I much prefer fixed-width narrower themes. I find them much more attractive and the content far easier to read/absorb. Far too many wide themes just end up looking totally cluttered.

    Moreover, fixed-width narrower themes seem to me to give one much greater control over text layout… something I suspect many folk overlook.

    #483479

    auggiedaddy
    Member

    I personally love the wider themes, especially the flexible-width themes. First off, if I’m floating an image around text, I would like the image to be big enough for people to see what it is, without making the text on the side too narrow.

    Secondly, I have my own little hack when it comes to large images, such as wallpaper images. I set the width at 100%, with no height value, and it stretches the image to the available width of the column. That only works well in flexible-width themes, however.

    Also, liquid design just makes more sense. It uses all the real estate on the screen, rather than wasting valuable space on the right and left. I think that fixed-width layouts are easy to use for people who don’t think in terms of what something will look like on a variety of browsers, however it would still be nice to have some more options in the flexible-width category.

    What is that one WP.org theme with the million options, that starts with an A? I forget its name. It’s a great theme. I’ve been waiting for it to appear on WP.com for a while.

    Anyway, thanks for all the great work you do.

    #483486

    kireikeiko
    Member

    I haven’t started wordpress blogging yet (I’m currently overseas and haven’t opened the project), but I am planning on a blog that features photography and text. I will be featuring photography of my town, food, travel, holidays, events, etc., and including a medium length article with each entry. I’m not sure if that is what is meant by ‘photoblog’. In any case, sometimes I like to use the 16:9 ratio for HD setting on my camera, which gives a widescreen picture result. Another thing I LOVE to do with my photography is put together two panoramas to create one long panorama. It would be great to be able to feature these kinds of photos without having to shrink them too much.

    I hope this answers your question. Thanks so much!

    #483488

    arifsali
    Member

    I don’t really know what it is meant by wider themes here. If it is a theme which is better suited for wider screen monitors and laptops, than yes, wordpress.com can possibly use one of those since many people have wider screen devices. If it is for regular size but expanding the whole view (like how Blogger has few of those) than yes, wordpress.com can use one of those as well. I have always thought that auto-adjusted widths are the best, so it doesn’t matter any type of monitor or video resolution you’re on, the blog would look best accordingly.

    #483489

    chrlsgms
    Member

    For me, is the possibility to put music or a message in mp3 on the sidebar with the audio shortcode.

    #483490

    nishikk
    Member

    Hi Lance

    Just popped into your blog and saw you use a wider theme too.

    I think it just makes reading chunks of text on a laptop easier, the text seems to be spaced out a bit + you can add bigger images.

    I dislike narrow reading areas with wasted space.

    #483492

    raincoaster
    Member

    Speaking from experience I know that what I write (in terms of both quality and subject) honestly DOES depend to a significant degree on the look of the particular blog. I blog to seven different WP sites, and the computer I’m working on and the theme of the blog in question do influence my output.

    Wider themes result in more essay-style posts: longer, more thoughtful, more elevated language and themes. Wider themes seem to offer a sort of mental ease; they’re like a mansion for your content.

    Narrow themes encourage shorter posts; there’s a weird sort of force that seems to make blog posts roughly rectangular in a 2×3 kind of ratio, and you can see how changing themes would change the amount you would tend to write. This is an observational rule that I’ve seen in myself and in many other blogs, but it’s by no means a hard and fast one.

    Also, if you have a nice big monitor you get vast swathes of unused space to the left and right of the actual blog and it’s only natural to think “why the hell can’t I put something in THERE?” Because why not?

    #483495

    I’m not a fan of themes that run thin, as longer articles tend to run forever and need constant scrolling to get to the next paragraph. Side columns which are too wide waste space and too many widgets at the bottom are extremely ugly.

    Wider themes lend themselves more to writers than short information bloggers, which is why I prefer the “Rubrik” theme. The side bar is not overly aggressive and the real estate for writing is maximized. The problem is that it is boring to look at because of no options to put in a nice colorful picture at the top, or some more overall dark, rich theme colours.

    The Rubrik (or Journalist) theme could easily be customized and I think that would probably be easy to do and please a lot of people. As you stated Lance, you have many people asking for such a theme.

    Anyways, I’m not complaining, just asking. I think you people have a great product and will in time offer more to accommodate diverse needs. Cheers.

    #483500

    phoxis
    Member

    Thanks for taking up this issue, i was talking and commenting on almost every theme update for a wider theme.

    If you don’t show photos, why does your site layout need to be wider?

    In my blog i post articles most of which are very long, and also contains sourcecodes. A narrow theme wraps the source code lines , and it is extremely hard to read the code. And because the posts are very long, with a narrow theme they run long like a river. Also some posts have top header image, which will not fit into a narrow theme.
    I like the Journalist v1.9 theme for a long time, i like the Twenty Ten theme , and using it now, also the Enterprise theme is good for me, and the width is okay.

    Can you implement one thing ? that is the customizable top menu bar ? The themes with a top menu bar are not customizable, and only show the pages, or categories (or both).

    #483503

    technogran1
    Member

    Lance the answer is easy! More room for your text and writing, more ability to include photos and pictures WITHIN the text with text wrapping either side and not have the photo or picture have to be so small it looks like a postage stamp! Look at the width of your own WordPress.com blog!
    It enables a blogger to be much more flexible in the content that they include. I personally do not like to write blogs with oodles and oodles of nothing but text, I like to break that up with pictures, photos to illustrate the content of the post, and wider themes allow you to do this.
    I personally prefer at LEAST 720 pixels width for the blog post area. Then you can add a fairly decent sized picture or photo AND have text wrapping to the left or right that looks ridiculously narrow.

    #483509

    othemlock
    Member

    This topic can be closed because all the valid points have been made. I’ll assume wider themes are coming now. Lol

    #483510

    lance
    Staff

    Just to clarify: this isn’t about fixed versus fluid layout. It’s about why a wider layout is so compelling for you. For sake of this discussion let’s assume all the wider themes will use a fixed width.

    #483516

    raincoaster
    Member

    The only downside to wider fixed widths is the way they display on narrow monitors, so we now have the question of what’s a normal-sized monitor. We’re well past the age of the Mac Plus.

    #483518

    1024px wide is not about the minimum that people have (20%) with 76% having over that. 800px width monitors are now at 1%.

    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp

    None of the web designers I know are even thinking about anything less than 1024px wide monitors (although some of the netbooks out there are 800px wide). Netbooks though seem to have run out of steam and sales on them have dropped like a rock since now for just a couple hundred more, people can get an entry level laptop with far more capability.

    #483519

    In the first sentence, that should be …”NOW about the minimum…

    #483526

    cindyinsd
    Member

    I think there’s room for a number of different widths. For some blogs, the narrow theme works well; for others, wider just seems to work better. For myself, I prefer a moderate width. As you’ve said, the lines are easier to read. That said, I, too, like to use pictures and would like the word wrap to be wide enough that it doesn’t look, well, dumb. I don’t need text on both sides of the photo, but I’d like to be able to use a medium-sized photo and still have enough space left to the side of it that the text will be of approximately equal width to the photo.

    Other items on the wish-list for this dream theme would be customizable background and banner, text and font options, and a “share” button to allow readers to easily share my posts on their own social forums–Facebook, Twitter, Stumble, etc.

    Thanks for asking!

    #483528

    decisionz
    Member

    I’m all for using the power available in HTML, CSS and the browser. The power’s nowhere near what it could be by now, progress has halted for about a decade. But it’s what we’ve got.

    It’s unfortunate: even what we have isn’t used enough.

    For me that means:

    • Text size that adapts if the browser driver asks for a change
    • Designs that adapt to big images, like stitched panoramas (that I really like)
    • Text controlled by smart CSS, that adapts given 1 above to have an ideal number of words across the page (10 to 15 words I think are the research suggestions)
    • Truth be told I also think that active pages with jQuery type functionality and web services in the back end are a good idea, but I know that’s not what WP is about
    • In short fluid design, that moves elegantly to accommodate images, user requested font size changes, smaller on screen browser windows…

    I know this sort of thing has been feasible for years. Seems that a lot of web visual designers have been influenced by design for paper, for magazines. The web is so much more than print (in many ways), we should use that power.

    #483529

    decisionz
    Member

    I didn’t see the comment about fixed with but wider until after I made that post, though I still have that same message, I would have expressed it differently.

    #483530

    sandrapawula
    Member

    Thanks for asking this question. I prefer a wider writing area because I often write longer posts. I also appreciate being able to place a decent size photo and having the text wrap. I don’t like the narrow blogs at all. One of the first things I did with the CSS upgrade for Bueno is to increase the width of the writing area.

    I think some nice upgrades to Journalist would be excellent. I prefer serif fonts though, which will make or break the deal for me on any theme.

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