Portfolio Theme Experiment


fisicx

Active Member
#1
I'm just starting work on a new theme for tradesmen to show off their portfolio.

Ignore the images and the finer details. It's feedback on the general concept I'm looking for:

http://portfolio.aerin.co.uk/

The theme has got built in SEO, SM and a contact form which means no extra plugins which means a much faster page load speed.
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#3
Is it going to be jazzed up so to speak? Functionality wise it's ok, does what all websites are supposed to do but in terms of the visual, looks amateur (sorry)
 

fisicx

Active Member
#4
OK. So what needs improving?

I'm not a graphic designer so my design skills are virtually zero. I've just based the layout after looking at a number of other portfolio themes.
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#7
OK. So what needs improving?

I'm not a graphic designer so my design skills are virtually zero. I've just based the layout after looking at a number of other portfolio themes.
All of it, seriously you need to hire a graphic designer if you cannot see what needs improving.
 

fisicx

Active Member
#8
Give me clue then. How for example would you improve the grid and hover labels?

Happy to hire a graphic designer but most of the ones I talk to want to head off into realms of fantasy. This is a theme for tradesmen. The grid will be examples of their work. Doesn't need to be anything complicated.
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#9
Sorry, I don't have time now as I've got 4 days off :p

If I was you I would search online for best wordpress themes, almost all nowadays look professional and are either free or less than £25.

See what the others think too.
 

fisicx

Active Member
#10
And that's the problem, 'looking professional' is very subjective. Many of the themes I looked have very poor usability - mainly because they were designed for desktop and adapted for mobile. But because most people use mobile device for browsing than use desktops a good small screen experience is key to success.

I've had reviews on two other forum and run two tests on usability hub - and everyone there likes the theme.

Enjoy your weekend, hopefully we can resume next week.
 

Levi

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Finally got to see it and my first thoughts were why are you doing this theme there are so many themes that are like this that you could have just picked one...

From a usability standpoint, you can't really go wrong but I don't know what forum you had it looked at on but designers look at things differently. I kind of agree with Stationary Direct in as much as it looks rather 'amateurish' for a 'design' portfolio.

As to how to improve it... first thing remove the background and look at the fonts in use... or you could just go get one of the many other 'identical' themes already out there. A couple of seconds later found this free one thats pretty much the same 'concept' as yours
http://justfreethemes.com/demo/?theme=Hitchcock
 

fisicx

Active Member
#12
It was Hitchcock that was my starting point. I've used that theme for a number of clients and have to make a lot of changes to deliver something useful.

In particular, Hitchcock doesn't do category listings very well. And if you want SM links, contact forms and SEO you need plugins. and that's something I try to avoid using. There are other UX issues with the theme (like the hamburger menu) and reliance on hover to see the post title (hover doesn't work on a touch screen).

With regards my theme, I agree I could just go get one - but it's far simpler for me to edit my own theme to suit the client's needs than hack an exiting theme. Font's, colours and other feature can be easily set in the CSS. It has built in SEO functions, SM and a contact form. This makes it very vast and light.

I agree that designer look at sites differently. That's why I posted here. I was hoping for members of the forum to come up with suggestions. It's not a design potfolio. It's a theme for tradesmen to add examples of the work they do. I've just added a bunch of sample images to test the responsiveness of the page. The background image can be removed/change or a background colour added. That's the beauty of the WP customizer.
 

fisicx

Active Member
#13
@Stationery Direct Hope you had a great easter weekend. This is to follow up on your last post regarding employing a Graphic Designer. Happy to do this but I need a bit of guidance for the brief.

I've now got a number of versions (easy to do as the theme is so flexible):

https://portfolio.aerin.co.uk/
http://tradesman-theme.co.uk/
http://gardener.tradesman-theme.co.uk/

A few pointers as to where it looks amatuerish would be great.

These are the results of a usability test. A bit of a mixed bag of answers: https://usabilityhub.com/tests/785e59c7fe20/results/973d475f50db
 
#14
I am not an expert in the domain, but from my theoretical knowledge and my point of view, I would say...
The first theme is too chaotic...there to many colors...also every time use a high-quality image as background...and the title is too hard to read...yellow-orange is not really the best contrast.
The second one is OK...not great...but OK...the space between the images are to close I think(vertical way)
The third theme doesn't have contrast at all...is hard to look at because I can't distinguish the image from the background... I can't focus on the content...the title as well doesn't have contrast...btw I would change the place of the telephone nr.(is not that I read the title and the second thought that I have in mind is to call you)
Also, I would use another font...
And there are some problems with the layout...but on a quick analyse this is I think.
I hope that I helped you a little bit.
 

fisicx

Active Member
#15
Thanks. The images are just placeholders to demonstrate the the theme. The background image can be removed and replace with a plain colour. Same with the colours - it can all easily be changed in the wordpress customizer.

What font do you suggest?
 
#16
I know it's simple...for this reson I told you. the presentation is very important...when I go to the shopping first I am looking if I like the model of the shirt and after if I am decided that I like it I am looking for the price and material (usability)
Sincerely I don't know, I am not so advanced to tell you from one view. Usually I just try different ones and see what is working. Also depends what do you want to transmit and how do you want to be perceived. Each fond have a personality and express something...Times new Roman for example express Tradition, Helvetica suggest Stability. Also try to use different fonts for title and text to create a nice contrast (use one from serif family and another one from sans serif)
 

fisicx

Active Member
#17
The backgrounds have now gone (but are still an option) and the CSS now removes the transparencies unless there is a background.

This is the core theme:
http://tradesman-theme.co.uk/
Look past the lack of colours (this is just a demo) and tell me if it has all the right elements in place. In particular, look at the odrer of things towards the bottom of this page: http://tradesman-theme.co.uk/page-with-comments/ I think the actual comments should go higher on the page but none of the ways I've tried really work. Or maybe I'm too close to the design and can't see the woods for the trees.

An example of how it could work for a gardener:
http://gardener.tradesman-theme.co.uk/

The same but with a background:
http://backgrounds.tradesman-theme.co.uk/

@Stationery Direct - once again a plea for help. I need to know which bits are particularly amatureish so I can write the brief for the tender.
 

Stationery Direct

Administrator
Staff member
#20
@Stationery Direct - once again a plea for help. I need to know which bits are particularly amatureish so I can write the brief for the tender.
Sorry for the delay mate.

I am no designer so cannot point you in the right direction unfortunately, just the overall look felt amateurish to me compared to the more polished templates available out there, see this for example > http://preview.themeforest.net/item...ng-html-template/full_screen_preview/21518450

...not saying this is perfect as found it in about 5 seconds but this looks much more professional to me.
 
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