Creative analysis, Websites

Sprucing up The Hex Dimension website

In July last year, Paul Blewitt, Paul Everitt, Paul Wood and I launched The Hex Dimension, a geek culture and interests website. And before our six month anniversary, I found that the design we had started out with wasn’t quite representative of what we were now doing nor of the small team of writers we had since brought on board (and we’re always looking for more content creators). You can see what the old site looked like here in this earlier blog post. This is the front page now:

Hex Dimension Valenti theme header v1

Previously we’d been using Ciola by Cubell and now we’re using Valenti. Both themes are available on Themeforest. Today we changed the site to having that slider on the homepage, but I’m still not sure about it. Previously we’d used this grid layout to call attention to particular pieces on the site:

Hex Dimension Valenti theme img 5(I very much welcome your thoughts on this.)

Paul B also did some new branding for the site, doing away with the bright, super happy colours of before and instead replacing it with something a little moodier, at my request. It was amazing to see him work on that hexagons background and it looked like the process involved almost did Photoshop in.

We’ve got some great extra functionality now in terms of customising its look to suit our needs and I’m really digging what we’ve been able to configure with our menus, which not only show recent posts in their categories, but also a completely random post from the site as well.

Five tips for self-hosted, small websites switching between third party WordPress themes:

  1. If you’ve got a team working on your site, consult with them on design choices so that you end-up with something that everyone can get on with
  2. Make a back-up of your entire site before changing themes (you could use a combination of Updraft Plus and Rackspace Cloudfiles)
  3. Check all your plugins still function after the switch over
  4. Read any notes on theme configuration written by the theme’s builder
  5. Make a note of whether you need to adjust the size of images you use in posts
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