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Designing for mobile, content, and style

From: WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores

Video: Designing for mobile, content, and style

It goes without saying, but before you start writing the code Once you've designed your site for a smartphone, it's When you are in the design process for your theme, it's very easy to become One for a single post template.

Designing for mobile, content, and style

It goes without saying, but before you start writing the code for your new theme, it's important to have a design in place. That way, you have something to refer to as you're creating the working version of your theme. When creating the design for your theme, I want you to keep three things in mind. Number one, design for all screen sizes with a primary focus on mobile. Number 2, design with the main content in focus. And number 3, create an overall style for your design and don't lock yourself down to very rigid pixel-perfect designs.

Because, the web is not pixel perfect and you have no control over how people view your content. So your design needs to accommodate all the different ways people can consume your content. The easiest way to achieve this is by starting with the smallest screen possible, like I did for this theme. Start with a vertical smartphone layout and figure out how to layout the important components of your site on a smartphone. Imagine someone scrolling through the content from the top to the bottom.

And make sure that your content is structured in such a way that they find what they are looking for right away and don't have to do a lot of up and down scrolling to get where they wanted to go. Once you've designed your site for a smartphone, it's much easier to expand out to accommodate bigger screens. Now you can start designing for a tablet layout, or maybe a full desktop layout. Now that you have more space, you also have room to move in content that was not available on your smartphone screen. That might mean adding larger images, and a sidebar on the right-hand side if you want to.

Or it could mean shifting content out from the main content grid to leave more focus on the main content itself. And when we speak about larger screens, you also have to consider very large screens, because more and more people have high resolution displays and also very large screens and some are even surfing the web on TVs now. That means, you have to consider what happens when someone opens your site on one of these screens, and make sure that the content isn't either shifted to the left, so that they have to turn their heads to read the content, or that the sidebar ends up floating loose in the middle.

So in the design I created for the site, the content always stays in the middle. When there's room, some of the content will shift out like this pull quote, both to the left and to the right hand side, and the sidebar will stick to the right hand side of the screen. So as you expand the view on your screen you'll see the sidebar sticking to the right at all times. All of this is accomplished using responsive web design techniques. If you want to learn more about responsive web design you should check out the Responsive Web Design Fundamentals course in the lynda.com library.

When you are in the design process for your theme, it's very easy to become focused on pixel-perfect design, and it is vitally important that you don't fall into this trap. Because like I said, the Web is not pixel-perfect, and if you create a pixel-perfect design where everything has to fit exactly, you'll have a very hard time getting that to work on the web. And then when you start expanding into other browsers, you'll be frustrated. A much better approach to design is to design for conceptual elements.

That way, when you create an overall design for your site, be that a single post like we have here or an index page like we have here, you know what the overall look of the site is going to be. And that way, when you encounter content you didn't consider in the design process, you'll have a design language that you can follow to make sure that that content flows naturally into your overall design for your site. One clever trick to help you along is to decide on a specific content width you want to stick to, design on specific fonts you want to use, and also design on any icon font libraries you want to use throughout the site.

That way, when you encounter new content, you know what font you're going to use, how wide it's going to be, and if there are icons that need to be put in place, you know where to get them. For the theme we'll be working with in this course, I've created the three basics designs you see here. One for the mobile screen, this is the one I've started with. One for a single post template. And one for an index page. Throughout the course I'll refer to these designs. And I'll also show you how to use them to make decisions on things I did not consider in the design process.

You'll see me doing a lot of the design for the site in the browser and this is exactly what you should be doing too. General design concepts can be done in Photoshop, but the real design work should always happen, with the real content in the browser.

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This video is part of

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  1. 10m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. What to know before you start this course
      2m 40s
    3. How this course and the lesson files work
      3m 12s
    4. Introducing Simone: A preview of the final project
      3m 59s
  2. 21m 28s
    1. Installing and running WordPress on your computer
      3m 53s
    2. Getting and installing Underscores
      4m 11s
    3. Installing WordPress Theme Unit Test data
      4m 18s
    4. Installing the Developer plugin
      2m 58s
    5. Installing and setting up NetBeans or another IDE
      6m 8s
  3. 16m 15s
    1. Designing for mobile, content, and style
      4m 52s
    2. How do WordPress themes work?
      4m 48s
    3. Understanding the WordPress template hierarchy
      2m 19s
    4. Underscores: An overview
      4m 16s
  4. 37m 5s
    1. Setting up style.css
      4m 47s
    2. Configuring baseline settings and functions
      6m 6s
    3. Enabling custom fonts and font icons
      5m 44s
    4. Applying global styles
      5m 11s
    5. Styling basic layout components
      6m 19s
    6. Making the site layout responsive
      8m 58s
  5. 23m 18s
    1. Styling the default header
      6m 25s
    2. Hiding the site title and tagline
      5m 32s
    3. Adding an optional header image function
      5m 23s
    4. Placing the header image behind the site title
      5m 58s
  6. 40m 55s
    1. Setting up menus
      3m 12s
    2. Styling the menu
      7m 42s
    3. Using Superfish for accessible menus
      8m 0s
    4. Making the menu responsive
      7m 3s
    5. Creating a custom social media menu
      5m 51s
    6. Styling the menu with icons from Font Awesome
      9m 7s
  7. 18m 9s
    1. Adding the search form
      6m 27s
    2. Adding the search icon
      6m 55s
    3. Adding show/hide functionality to the search form with jQuery
      4m 47s
  8. 33m 20s
    1. Adding a widgetized area to the footer
      7m 10s
    2. Using the Monster widget plugin to test all widgets
      2m 11s
    3. Styling the footer
      3m 6s
    4. General widget styling
      5m 33s
    5. Adding custom styles to specific widgets
      7m 34s
    6. Using Masonry to make footer widgets responsive
      7m 46s
  9. 54m 49s
    1. Changing the Single Post Template content structure
      5m 54s
    2. Changing the output of meta elements
      7m 2s
    3. Styling the Single Post Template
      7m 57s
    4. Making post meta responsive
      6m 21s
    5. Styling blockquotes
      5m 39s
    6. Creating pull quotes and pull images
      5m 1s
    7. Working with image captions
      4m 27s
    8. Working with image galleries
      4m 57s
    9. Single-post navigation
      7m 31s
  10. 30m 23s
    1. Working with the comments template
      8m 42s
    2. Using Gravatars in comments
      2m 42s
    3. Styling comments
      7m 26s
    4. Highlighting post author comments
      3m 36s
    5. Styling the comment form and messages
      7m 57s
  11. 18m 43s
    1. How do featured images (post thumbnails) work?
      2m 57s
    2. Defining featured image sizes
      3m 30s
    3. Generating new featured images with a plugin
      1m 46s
    4. Adding featured images to a template
      5m 7s
    5. Styling the featured image
      5m 23s
  12. 1h 2m
    1. The index template hierarchy
      2m 21s
    2. Customizing and styling index templates
      10m 10s
    3. Displaying excerpts or full content on index pages
      3m 6s
    4. Adding a custom Read More link
      3m 48s
    5. Adding featured images
      4m 0s
    6. Creating custom pagination navigation
      6m 4s
    7. Highlighting Sticky Posts
      2m 55s
    8. Creating custom post format templates
      5m 30s
    9. Highlighting the most recent post in the index template
      7m 22s
    10. Embracing modular design
      2m 29s
    11. Working with archive.php
      5m 54s
    12. Customizing the search results and the 404 template
      8m 28s
  13. 9m 7s
    1. Styling pages
      3m 4s
    2. Creating custom page templates
      6m 3s
  14. 4m 30s
    1. Adding editor styles to match front-end styles
      4m 30s
  15. 2m 20s
    1. Further learning
      2m 20s

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