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The Non-designer's Guide to WordPress (Making Your Site Awesome)


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You don't have to be a designer to make your WordPress site look good. In fact, no matter what theme you're using now there are lots of easy ways to make it look better. Mykl (who IS a designer BTW) will share tips and tricks to take your site design from acceptable to awesome. Presented at Minnebar8 on 4/6/13.

Published in: Design

The Non-designer's Guide to WordPress (Making Your Site Awesome)

  1. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” - Steve jobs
  2. You’re Already On Your Way•  WordPress works pretty damn well “out of the box”•  Don’t let your theme & widgets get in the way of that•  Good site design should emphasize your content, not itself
  3. But…
  4. “Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldnt possibly all have good taste.” - When Harry Met Sally
  5. Good taste is subjective.Good design:not so much.
  6. Photo: emiliokuffer on Flickr
  7. Look Around. Get Inspired.•  Pay attention to what you like about other sites•  Find & Follow creative curators on the web and via social channels (like•  Listen to recommendations from designers•  Apply what you learn
  8. Start by makingyour site your own.
  9. Photo: LeonMMelissa on Flickr
  10. Color
  11. Color•  The easiest way to make any site stand out•  Mix pairs of unusual colors or pick one dominant color for emphasis•  A little goes a long way, even monochromatic tones can be powerful
  12. Hex Colors•  Annotation for the combination of Red, Green, and Blue color values (RGB)•  HEX values are specified as 3 pairs of two-digit numbers, starting with a # sign
  13. Typography
  14. Type Tips•  Web fonts (@fontface) now allow you to use a variety of different fonts•  Perfect way to add a unique touch to any design•  Don’t use too many•  Be careful when mixing
  15. Photos
  16. Show Don’t Just Tell•  Great photos are another powerful way to make your design stand out•  Create rules for formatting and be consistent (rounded corners, specific width, right- aligned, etc.)•  Always credit sources. Don’t steal!
  17. Page Templates
  18. Use Different Page Templates•  Built into many themes•  Creates variety,•  Can enhance different types of content
  19. Theme Customizer•  Introduced in WordPress 3.4•  Make changes, preview them in realtime, before going live•  More options to as theme developers further integrate it into updates
  20. Premium ThemeFrameworks
  21. Plugins
  22. Plugins•  Choose plugins that add functionality but allow control over their style/design•  Take advantage of those controls to tie into your site’s style whenever possible
  23. Sidebar
  24. Triage Your Sidebar Often•  Only include what you NEED to•  Avoid too many third-party widgets (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr), can slow page load times•  Limit # & size of ads unless you are making lots of money•  Animated anything = annoying
  25. :(
  26. :)
  27. Default widgets usually need tweaking
  28. Consider consolidation
  29. Other Bits & Pieces•  Create & usa a favicon•  Use built-in text formatting for posts & pages (H1, H2, blockquote, etc.)•  Less is ALWAYS better. Simplicty is never a bad choice.
  30. “A designer knows he hasachieved perfection not whenthere is nothing left to add,but when there is nothing leftto take away.” - Antoine de Saint Exupéry
  31. Photo: Tsahi Levent-Levi on Flickr
  32. Thank you! Mykl Roventine @myklroventine Headshot: Glimpses of Soul Photography