RT Cunningham

A Custom WordPress Theme that Cannot be Approved

The main reason I’m still using the Hueman WordPress theme is because I don’t like customizing WordPress themes. After years, I still haven’t removed all the useless crud from the main CSS file.

A couple of days ago, I decided to start working on a custom WordPress theme. I would have to do a lot more to it to get it approved by the WordPress community. I don’t care to go that far with it.

My Custom WordPress Theme

I don’t like using WordPress plugins to take care of simple functions. I use one file (functions.php) instead of many. With a font library like Font Awesome, manipulating image files for the theme itself isn’t necessary either.

Simplicity is the name of the game. My visitors will ignore everything but what they’re looking for. Whether they’re looking for a story or some information, they want to read something. Most of them don’t care what the website looks like as long as it doesn’t make them want to tear their eyes out.

I’m using one template file (index.php) and that’s it. I can use WordPress conditional tags to control the layouts for each post or page type.

The theme won’t be ready until I’m positive it works on everything I can test it on.

Design Decisions

Every website out there seems to follow the same conventions. Sidebars on desktop designs get shoved to the bottom on mobile designs. I don’t want sidebars that distract from reading.

I’m using a hidden sidebar, for all device sizes. I’m not sure if I’ll use a “hamburger” icon or not, but that’s what I’m using during the design process. And I’m not sure if I’ll put it on the left or the right. I don’t need jQuery to do it either.

I’ve narrowed my font choices to two. I’ll either use “sans-serif” for every platform or I’ll use the “Open Sans” Google font. To make everything look exactly the same on all platforms, I’ll probably use the Google font.

I’m designing the theme as mobile first. It’s easy to make everything fluid and then use media queries for wider screens. I like the 960 pixel fixed width, but I’ll be testing up to 1140 pixels. I don’t have anything wider than 1366 pixels at my disposal. While researching, I discovered it’s the most common width anyway. Perhaps I’ll hook up my 42-inch TV and see what I can do (don’t count on it).

Making the Theme Lightweight

The home page of the theme I’m using now (Hueman) takes three seconds to completely load. It’s probably because of the 10 images being displayed. I don’t think images are necessary.

I may or may not use Font Awesome. The UTF-8 character code 8801 would probably work well enough. I may or may not use a Google Font. The generic “sans-serif” will pick the visitor’s system font.

It all depends on how long it takes for the first page load. Multiple page loads don’t count – CSS, font and JavaScript files will already be cached. If I use Font Awesome and the Open Sans Google font, there’s a good chance they’ll already be cached anyway. A lot of websites use them.

July 20, 2017
Web Development

You May Also Like: