How do you like the new look? This is the just-released Enterprise theme from StudioPress. Truth be told, I’ve been looking for a new theme for a while now to replace the MistyLook theme that I adopted when I first migrated my blog from Blogger to WordPress. MistyLook is a good theme, but there are two things I’ve never liked about it: 1) its relatively narrow width (500 pixels for the posts); and 2) the search box at top right that overlaps the page headings, limiting the number of pages that can be added. I’ve never understood why so many fixed-width blog themes are as narrow as they are, resulting in long, skinny posts with lots of wasted space on each side. Perhaps this is to accommodate even the oldest and smallest of computer monitors, but 750 pixels total width seems to be rather extreme. Flexible-width themes eliminate this problem, but the variable post width plays havoc with paragraph formatting in my (usually) image-heavy posts. There’s also one more reason I’ve become dissatisfied with MistyLook – it has, over the past year, become a very popular theme (even with the recent exodus of Myrmecos to Science Blogs). I know, I know… I’m blogging for free, and beggars can’t be choosy – if I want my own look, I can either pony up for a customized theme, or I can look for greener pastures.
Enterprise appears to be those greener pastures. It has all the features I want – two columns, fixed width, and customizable header. It’s wider though – 630 pixels for the posts, and the sidebar is slightly wider as well (limits annoying text-wrapping). It also has a clean, professional look with smaller font and a pleasing blue color for highlighting linked text. WordPress suggests that Enterprise is “perfect for … a more corporate look,” but it seems to me to work well as a backdrop for a science-oriented nature blog as well. The greater width will allow me to add at least one more main page along the top (I’m thinking along the lines of a photo gallery, or maybe a page of techniques articles), and the customizable header allows me to keep the distant image of me in the field to maintain some visual continuity. I wasn’t sure I would like the blog title and subtitle on top of that image, but matching the color to the background makes it at once visible and unobtrusive.
There are two new features with Enterprise that I really like: 1) the prominent two-level navigation at top, with pages (featuring drop-down menus) in the first level and most-used categories in the second; and 2) a footer with three widget areas – perfect for small, miscellaneous widgets that would clutter up the more list-oriented sidebar. I’ve gotten things arranged in a way that seems to work for me, although you might see further adjustments over the next few days or so. I hope you like the new look – please do let me know if you have any ideas on how I can best use its features.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010