Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Choosing A WP Theme Is Difficult

Choosing a theme for my WordPress blog is surprisingly difficult. I don’t consider myself fussy. Although I do have very specific characteristics and features that I want, I don’t consider them very unusual or unreasonable. I’ve been looking and searching, but it seems like there are really few themes that meet my requirements. I’ve been tempted time and again to spin my own theme, but they aren’t exactly trivial tasks either.

Of course, in the meanwhile, I’m making do with other themes that are really quite nice too. Right now, for example, I’m using Bytes For All. Previously I was using Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s xMark theme which was recently updated for WordPress 2.6.

What are my requirements? Quite simple actually:

  • 3-columns
  • Fluid width
  • Supports widgets (most themes do nowadays)
  • Must be XHTML and CSS compliant
  • Simple design, white or light coloured
  • Presentable on mobile devices (namely the N95 8GB and SE M600i)

Quite simple right? But most people seem to insist on fixed width designs. Many people can’t care less about XHTML compliance. There aren’t many themes that meet these requirements.

So I’ve thought about spinning my own. The trouble is that I’m not terribly good with graphic design. I can tell you what looks nice, but creating something that looks nice is a whole different story. Modifying existing themes isn’t terribly easy either, particularly since the WordPress theme framework is quite complex. Okay, it isn’t really very complex, but it isn’t trivial. What is complex is actually trying to make major structural changes to code that someone else has written. I hate doing that. Furthermore, I’m not exactly a PHP programmer either. I’m fine with C or Perl. Most of my web programming is in Perl.

Anyway, it seems the best way forward is probably to spin my own theme. Picking up a tip from Adam Khoo’s “Master Your Mind, Design Your Destiny”… the best way to ensure it gets done, is to tell everyone that you’re going to get it done. Haha, but I’m going to stop short of promising when. It doesn’t have to win a prize, but I hope the first cut will be something presentable. Afterall, I believe that the web is about content first, design second.

2 thoughts on “Choosing A WP Theme Is Difficult

  1. Fluid themes put me off because they look terrible in a very huge resolution like 1680 * 1024. I want something which is consistent.

    As a theme designer of my own theme, I pride myself on it being valid XHTML strict 1.0.

    Do take the time to learn because the WordPress API is not complicating at all. Maybe you need sometime to understand the Codex as it isn’t exactly the most friendly form of documentation. I wish you luck.

  2. Thanks. Yeah, I need to plough through some documentation and other code samples.

    I agree obscenely wide browser widths often screw up the layouts too. One solution is to use the CSS ‘max-width’ property. It doesn’t work with MSIE… but there are workarounds.

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