In the last few months our designer Sophia Lucero and programmer Shaun Mcann have been busy beavering away on a new theme for our top tier sites. Many of our sites have not had a design overhaul for many years and with the changes in how websites are used and read and the advancement of mobile devices it was vital that we gave them all a fresh look and made them fully compliant for 2015 and onwards.
We decided to create a single theme and then deploy that to all our web properties and alter the styling and colour scheme based on each site. We wanted to emphasise the images used on our sites and so decided to have an image matrix at the top of the homepage where the most recent six posts would be displayed with their title overlayed. The featured image is crucial to capture a readers attention so keeping that in mind we built the post pages with a large featured image at the head.
Advertisements are not enjoyed by most readers but as any publisher knows they are a necessity for revenue. We wanted to incorporate ad regions into the new theme so that they would not intrude and would fit naturally into the design and layout of the theme. Infinite load was also built into each site, we wanted to experiment with this functionality as it can help to keep a user on the site or page longer.
As more and more web traffic now comes from users on mobile and tablet devices, having a fully responsive site that adjusts for multiple viewport sizes is also important and was one of our main goals when designing the new theme. On tablets the matrix resizes into a smaller grid and the mobile version of the new theme simplifies everything with all the content displayed in a single column and navigation and categories in a ‘swipe-in’ menu.
Here’s a closer look at each site where the new theme has been deployed so far:
This was one of the first sites we rolled the new theme out on. We decided to use a pastel gradient on the image matrix in a shade of brown while keeping the rest of the styling the same in black and white and with the same font.
Next up was our celebrity news and gossip site Celebrific.com, we decided not to use any gradient on the images in the matrix here as we the images of celebs are a crucial to the content and we didn’t want to distort them.
The most recent Splashpress Media site to receive the new theme makeover was Forevergeek. As with Celebrific we did not want to distort any of the colours used in the images so didn’t use any gradients in the matrix.
We are planning on rolling out the new theme to other Splashpress Media properties such as Socialnewsdaily.com, Applegazette and others in January.