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Wider Themes

  1. I do a lot of writing, as well as posting pictures so for myself I prefer the wider themes. I used them exclusively on my self-hosted website.

    Thus far, I really haven't found a theme that really appeals to myself and am just 'making do' with the theme I currently have eventually I'll be moving my free blog to a self-hosted blog, however, I might be doing it sooner rather than later since I'm just not satisfied with the themes being offered.

  2. How wide is wide? Maximum displayed image width for each of the themes >

  3. I've been dying for new, wider themes. The new themes WP has made in recent weeks are very nice, but when I preview them, they frequently chop off parts of my photos. Also, stuff in my sidebar tends to disappear. Many of the themes do not have a custom header -- or have a teeny, tiny header -- Blogger uses big, bold headers and looks better, allowing for more color and vibrancy.
    I'd prefer to fill the space on the screen, not be scrunched into thin borders and scrolling down. Bigger photos are eye-catching -- and after all, WP does allow for different photo sizes, so why not make the most of it?

  4. Hi Janice,
    This is just to let you know that your username isn't linked to your blog and you didn't post the URL. We cannot see what theme you are currently using and determine what the maximum image displayed width is in it so we don't know what you mean by wider. How much wider?

    Also, stuff in my sidebar tends to disappear.

    Stuff in sidebars doesn't disappear unless it contains restricted code. See here >

    Blogger uses big, bold headers and looks better, allowing for more color and vibrancy

    I wouldn't dream of using my blogspot blog for anything other than a personal blog for two reasons. Blogger themes right out of the box do not validate and there's no way I'm spending my time validating a an out of the box template that throws over 300 HTML markup errors at me. Also the big vibrant headers that are so common there IMO give blogs a very amateurish appearance that just isn't suitable for my content and my readers.

  5. I agree fully with James whose initial comment caused the thread to be moved here for further discussion. Many of the themes are far too narrow. For comfortable reading, or for showing a decent sized photo. Regardless of whether it is a photo blog or not, photos add to the content of the blog and it's nice if they are a nice size.
    Also when I switched to a different (narrow) style I got a lot of complaints about all the "dead air" on the screen so I went back to what I had before.

    I would like to see a lot more wider themes, and I wish there were more options that put the content in the center, as opposed to off to one side. Not everyone has, or wants, a ton of sidebar content. It would be nice to see new more stylish versions of Garland. It accommodates nice sized photos, and keeps the content in the middle (with a sidebar on each side). I just wish it didn't look so... out of date. I stick with it though because it has most of what I want (i.e. good photo size, readable font, and content in the middle).

    I think WordPress is doing a great job. I *loved* the changes/options on twenty-ten. Would love to see something like that, but with a 3 column set up like Garland. That would be awesome!

  6. @debbienorman
    Would you like to share which theme you are using now so we then can know what the maximum displayed image width is on it and what you mean by wider?

  7. It's a bit disheartening to me to see that the theme developers kid of don't trust that we should want or need wider themes.

    Most of my posts hover around 1500 words, and on a page with a narrow text column and large fonts, this causes the articles to appear prohibitively long. People simply won't read them if they look that long. With Journalist, the appear much shorter, since the text is smaller and the column wider. It's a psychological thing.

    I also like to post very wide screenshots from games. It would be totally useless for me to use a photoblog format becuase the whole point of my blog is written articles, not photograps. They're there as a supplement. They look much, much better when they're big, but they would be useless alone.

    You should stop trying to get us to use photoblogs when it's clear that we're already productively using Journalist for, apparently, a kind of blog you didn't expect us to create. Text and photos and code sometimes need to sit happily together. Sometimes this only works when the space they share is wide enough.

    Additionally, most of the narrow themes are pretty dull. I sometimes feel like you're beginning to repeat yourself.

  8. For what its' worth for those reading this thread who may not be using one of the two versions of the The Journalist the maximum displayed images widths derived the post I linked to above are:

    The Journalist v1.3 - maximum displayed images width - 720 pixels
    The Journalist v1.9 - maximum displayed images width - 680 pixels

    The maximum displayed image widths for all the different themes are found in the post I linked to in my comment here

  9. I have been waiting for a wider theme as well. I loved Motion. It had the wider side bar, the footers, the width was great for me for the size of photos I add and the text fit nicely. I like darker colors because they stand out. The major problem with Motion was you had trouble reading it. I guess because of the transparency.

    I like a fluid width personally or else wider width with a wider side bar. A lot of my info. doesn't fit on some of the themes side bars.

  10. gasstationwithoutpumps

    I'm thinking of setting up a WordPress blog (based on recommendations from other bloggers). I wanted a flexible-width blog with a custom header. There is only ONE theme with those properties! I hate the fixed-width blogs, particularly the narrow ones, since I usually need to increase the font size to read them, and I end up doing too much scrolling.

    Why does hate flexible width?

  11. Technogran1's comment made me laugh! Yes, Lance, look at your own nice wide blog!

    I like wide because:
    - I'm a writer who write fairly long pieces, so don't want to have my readers to keep scrolling scrolling scrolling...
    - I also include photos with my posts, and don't want the text-wrapping beside them to be narrow
    - I like to have lots of sidebar options/info/widgets, but don't want it too cluttered.

    I'm pretty happy with Vigilance, which is what my main blog runs on, but I was thinking last month of doing a re-design and realized there are very few other themes that would suit me.

    My dream theme would be:
    - full screen-width or nearly so (like yours)
    - with narrow columns each side and a central wide one for my posts+pix
    - and nice and clean, not looking cluttered, with a fair bit of white or blank space

    Thanks for your work and for checking in with us!


  12. [opinion]

    Everyone should probably read the following just so that you are aware how line length affects readability.

    With a wide monitor such as I have (2560px wide), and flexible width themes, I can end up with probably 1000 characters per line, which is totally unreadable. From my graphics arts experience, I know about line length and readability issues so I will adjust my browser window accordingly. Most people are not aware of how that affects readability, and don't know that if they were to decrease their browser window when trying to read stuff on flexible width sites, that it would be easier for them.

    Not sayin' we don't need more flexible width themes, just sayin' that please keep the above in mind. It will ultimately end up keeping your visitors happier in the end.

    Personally I would like to see flexible width themes with a minimum and a maximum width set. That way I could actually blog so that things look right at minimum, maximum and in between.


  13. wider themes for bloggers who put lots of photos in their posts, like I do.

    It wouldn't be as nice with a narrow theme, so the wider the better!

    Also, having a border around the photos would totally kill the photos, if you ask me.

    Wider theme, no border around photos! I kind of liked the polka dotted background theme (I forgot whatsit called) but it came with a pesky border for the pictures so no way! I've been using Simpla since FOREVER.

  14. Thank you all for the great replies. I think we can all agree that wider themes have lots of benefits—and we can also agree that those benefits are different for each person.

    If you have ideas for themes you've seen that fit your requirements, please share the link to the theme. Feel free to post links to non-WordPress sites, too, if you like the layout. (The site doesn't have to be on or

  15. Here are more thoughts on the more common threads I'm seeing in your replies.

    Re: Web designs are getting wider over time, and wider is better.

    I think as a general trend our older themes on are narrower and newer themes will probably be wider. This follows what raincoaster said:

    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).

    Right now the standard is 960px wide to make sure the design works in most screen sizes. But, that includes the sidebar, any design elements (border, background, margin, padding), so the actual width you have to work with could be much smaller.

    So as screen sizes get larger in general, web design across the board will adopt a wider default layout.

    We're also seeing trends in web design that lean towards narrow (microblogs, lifestream blogs, link blogs) and designs that lean towards wide (magazines, news portals, showcase sites).

    So when we launched a new theme, like Vostok, many of you probably thought "Ew. Too narrow!" But for each one of you that said that, I imagine another person said "Great, exactly what I wanted for my link blog. No clutter, narrow width to show off my link or photo."

    Re: wide sidebars, lots of sidebars, more sidebars.

    I think that's an entirely different conversation. We're discussing the main content area: where your post content is displayed.

    So yes, a much wider theme width in general would allow for a usable width in the main column plus many sidebars. But, I'd like to focus the conversation on just the main content area.

    Re: "I want to include bigger photos with my text."

    There are tradeoffs here. Bigger images take longer to load. Speed of loading is very important—it affects the perception of your site if your content loads slowly.

    As a point of reference, look at popular blogs: and take just the top 25.

    Designers and art directors at these companies spend oodles of time and money creating the perfect blog layout. In looking at the top 25 blogs, almost all of them have a width somewhere within 600px.

    They use photos to illustrate the posts, but they aren't huge photos.

    Re: "I don't want wasted space on the sides."

    Just because a design has empty space doesn't mean that space is wasted. It's often left empty on purpose to give breathing room to the content; its purpose is to frame the content so that it's both pleasing to look at and easy to read.

    Also realize that not everyone has a big monitor—many folks will read your blog on alternate devices and with small laptops. Chances are that your view of the design isn't what everyone else sees exactly.

    No design is going to please everyone. Many of you say "Don't waste side space!" but then others say "...not looking cluttered, with a fair bit of white or blank space." :)

    I personally wouldn't worry about your readers complaining about "dead air" on your site—that means they are probably not engaging with your content itself, which isn't a fault of the design. Again, look at the top 25 blogs with a wide monitor and you'll see that with most of them the layout does have empty space on the sides when you get above a screen size of 1280px. I'm not saying what they do will work for you, but it's probably well-researched and well-tested on their many, many users.

    Re: "I don't want people to scroll too much."

    Scrolling is part of how the modern web works. People are used to it. The argument that you wish to avoid scrolling on long posts doesn't make sense in today's web. Wouldn't you rather people find your writing readable and approachable? Look at a typical book on your shelf—the line lengths are intentionally designed to allow you to quickly scan and not have too much horizontal movement. There are many, many years of graphic and layout design research to back this up.

    I think that is why you find so many fixed-width layouts, not only with WordPress themes but online in general. They give the designer confidence that the presentation will be managed in a useful and eye-pleasing way while maintaining usability.

    Making your articles appear shorter by making them wider won't necessarily make them better and more appealing to readers. It's about the content: if it engages people, they'll read it.

    Re: "I post photos and don't want text to wrap around them in a narrow line."

    To me this is a simple page layout technique.

    If you want a big photo in your layout, use the full width so that the photo fills the entire column nicely. Try to avoid using a photo size that is almost the full width, that will result in the look you are complaining about. For smaller images to flow with the layout, pick a small or medium size like 33% or 50% of your theme width so that text will wrap nicely.

  16. Thanks again for all your thoughts on this topic. Lots of great feedback so far!

    @decisionz Feel the power! Fluid layouts and flexible designs are the future. But, it's not an easy task to design for the web that way yet, which is why you see very few sites using that type of layout. I'd love to see more WordPress theme developers adopting bulletproof CSS layout techniques such as those outlined in Handcrafted CSS by Dan Cederholm and Ethan Marcotte.

    @phoxis and justlikeamagic Do you use the sourcecode shortcode for your code samples? It wraps nicely, and provides a plain-text view for people to see the full code if they don't want the line breaks. In general I think posting code online is problematic, but I find using that shortcode makes it a lot easier.


    It's a bit disheartening to me to see that the theme developers kid of don't trust that we should want or need wider themes.

    Why do you think I started this topic? We do care. :)

    We want to find out what you mean by when you say "wider themes" -- it's not a clear concept, as you can see if you read through the replies. To some it means a wider layout overall, others want more sidebars. This conversation helps clarify that.

    And rest easy, no one is making you use a photoblog theme. You are free to choose. :)


    Why does hate flexible width?

    I think your question should be, "Why do most websites use narrow- and medium-width layouts?" It's not only a WordPress trend, it's how the entire web works in general.

  17. Hi Lance! First of all, thanx a lot for your fabulous Vostok theme! I was immediately taken with it + I've switched all 3 of my WP blogs to Vostok. It's so cool, so elegant, so minimalistic, and the colors are just perect!

    I do have a blog on Tumblr > which I started primarily because of a theme they offered (doesn't seem to be available anymore) which has a lot in common with your Vostok theme. It's cool, elegant, minimalistic. There's 1 difference: its fonts taller, like really tall. Sure, these tall fonts are only in effect with text that's written as an add-on to a picture that's posted. Since I want these big fonts I hunt for pictures all the time to post along with whatever I have written.

    I love big sized fonts! With big fonts you could do wider columns as well without having to worry about losing the reader's attention in midsentence because the number of letters per line would be about the same as with narrow columns and small sized fonts. And the size of pictures on display would be larger as well! Doesn't that sound intriguing?

    Thanx again, and all the best!

  18. I do most of my internet surfing on a netbook these days. It has 1024 pixels in width and the majority of sites I visit don't require a horizontal scroll. Occasionally, however, I come across a sites which does require a horizontal scroll and almost always this has me hitting the back button instantly. Wider is all very well, but if it means that I can only ever see half your photo on my screen, then it's useless to me. Besides which, I like blank space on a screen. I find it makes it much easier to read the content which is there.

    I absolutely wish more people would realise that the way they see their blog on their screen isn't necessarily the way their readers will see it, and be prepared to make some compromises.

  19. Nice of you to ask.
    Most of my posts are poetry, and where a line ends is a part of the sense of the poem. Narrow columns distort not just the aesthetic, but the meaning.

    The wider formats allow for larger type, too, which is a comfort for those of us who have problems with vision.

  20. Another thing to note is that the iPad has now passed sales of 2 million units in less that 60 days, and they haven't even released it yet to all markets.

    The iPad has a resolution of 1024 x 768, so keeping the 1024px width in mind (as long as they are using it in landscape orientation) would serve people well.

    Horizontal scrolling is #3 our of the top ten things web surfers dislike the most.

  21. As a quick update to this topic, we launched a wider theme today:

    Look for more wide themes coming soon.

  22. @lance, I would suggest more like this new one where people can choose whether they want fixed width or flexible. It's sort of the best of both worlds.

  23. I need a wider space for my pictures! I just discovered that blogger can give you the option (pretty easy and free) to move your side bars...for the first time I am "jealous" and wish for that!

    Is there any dark theme but wider already and I just missed it?

    Thank you!

  24. Yes, there are wider themes than Black Letterhead. For maximum display image widths by themes see this post > and use the feature filters here in your Dashboard > Appearance > Browse Themes > Feature Filters to locate themes of interest to you. (A-Z, Popular, Features)

    Each theme has a thumbshot and a features summary description. You can browse and when you find one of interest you can click “Preview”. When you are ready to make your selection you can click “Activate”.

    You may also want to check this thread out as well

  25. I need a wide theme because i post source code in my posts. With a narrow theme the code is unreadable and wrapped. I'm dying for a one-column no-sidebar theme like simplr but that supports 700px of content.

  26. Have you by any chance looked at the under the influence theme? You can set it for one sidebar or two, you can widen the width of the theme, and even with the default 2-column settings, the width of the main post area is 780px. Take a look at my test blog which has under the influence on it right now with the default width settings for the 2-column layout.

  27. thesacredpath

    Yes i have. Right now i'm using Almost Spring and manually changing the code font size with a span style=font-size:9pt tag. I have to do the code highlighting with Pygments anyway (the code tag that is supported in does not support the Scheme programming language).

    The only theme i have considered using in the future is Under the influence if i have to paste C# or Java code which are more verbose.

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