Category Archives: WordPress

^ bottom of the magazine website that got a face-lift recently. Click-through to see it live online

 

At my full-time job, I sometimes help the marketing department create some pretty cool websites. One of them was for the alumni magazine, Still Magazine. I created this website on WordPress and this was at a time that I was just digging into WordPress and learning some more advanced techniques with WP theming.

I worked with another programmer to figure out the ins and outs of parent and child category templates in order to create a custom layout for each magazine issue. The idea was to use WP parent categories to signify each magazine issue and then child categories within those parents that would signify each main section of the issue – things like departments, profiles and features.After much thinking, tinkering and coding, we got it all to work and now each new issue takes minimal work on the IT side of things and the bulk of the work is writing the stories. The payoff? Each past issue of the magazine is fully intact online in a search engine friendly format – building the ATSU brand online one story at a time. Search engines thrive on up-to-date information and this website provides that with the 40+ new stories every few months. For example, check out the past issues – Winter ’10, Summer ’10 or Fall ’10

Another cool feature of the website is a custom jQuery slideshow that displays the top 5 featured stories. This is also very automated – by simply adding a particular ‘tag’ to each of the 5 stories and then uploading a custom slide – all from the same screen that you write the stories.

This is the type of project that I absolutely love.

There was a challenge to create a meaningful online presence for the magazine and I got to pull together all the resources by designing the website, planning how WordPress should function and helping pioneer a unique way to build a magazine website on the WordPress framework. Then I coded my design within WordPress and built the jQuery slideshow and remaining pieces of the websites. Oh yeah.. and then I trained folks to use this new platform to publish their content. Overall this was a great project that had an awesome payoff.

Check out this project in my portfolio >

Jeffrey Zeldman (@zeldman), self-proclaimed web standards guru just tweeted about a WordPress plugin for adding a Facebook ‘like’ button to your individual blog posts.  So, of course I clicked through and checked it out! I instantly installed it on my blog here and tested it out. I absolutely love it.

It seems that most people shy away from commenting on blogs (or more recently even writing on your wall)… but they jump at the chance to simply express that they ‘like’ something you’ve posted (on facebook) I guess it’s the equivalent of nodding in agreement instead of speaking your full opinion of something. Bringing this feature to WordPress iss a no-brainer. When someone clicks ‘like’ on my blog posts, a simple note will be posted to your news feed saying ‘John Doe likes such and such’. Where, “Such and such” is the title of my blog post. How stinkin’ cool is that?

OK, now try it.(note that if you are viewing my blog homepage, you have click the blog post title to see the ‘like’ button under the content.)

iconnect is an e-newsletter for A.T. Still University that I designed in partnership with the Communication & Marketing Department. The goal was to create a place to get all your University news in one place. New stories and photos are added almost daily and it has become popular among the ATSU community.

This was one of the first project I worked on when I started as web developer and I found out a week ago that it had won the bronze award for Excellence in Alumni Web Sites, Electronic Newsletter at the CASE District VI Institutional Awards Ceremony. With this excitement, I looked for ways to make the website better, because everything can get better, right?

The redesign included adding color (green), centering the website in the browser (instead of pushed left, like atsu.edu is), giving the ATSU logo some breathing room and finally removing the strange gradient of dark to mid blue in the header. The slideshow of content on the homepage was also revamped and made more intuitive (I hope).

Read the official announcement.


close-up of the iconnect header area.

What projects have you been working on lately? Comment & Share!