A while ago I set up a WordPress theme for Peggy’s mom, Catherine Schmidt-Jones, who is working on a music Ph.D. As part of her degree she’s been continuing her music education outreach that she’s been doing on Connexions by running a blog, Opening Measures, as a forum to discuss issues in music and open education.
If you’ve been wondering what I do at work, it’s not too different from this in many respects – but in this case I started with the framework of WordPress instead of DotNetNuke like we generally use at work – and then exported Photoshop images, wrote CSS, and edited the HTML/PHP to produce the website that she and I had worked out.
The blog theme is based on one that I found and Catherine approved, which I then reskinned. As you can see, the structure is pretty much the same, just the visual style that’s changed – and even that’s not that far off. We wanted to start with something clear and a bit like an online magazine format, with the option to display images for each article on the homepage, but with little extra coding. The short excerpts of each article mean that a reader has to click through to the article – making it easier to track which topics the audience finds interesting.
Catherine and I worked out a color palette similar to ones Monet is famous for, a kind of cream-and-peacock color scheme that appealed to Catherine’s tastes since she’d be looking at it on a regular basis. She also liked the little folded tags from the original, so we kept those in with the cute date format.
I got an archives page set up and did some further fiddling with the theme, plus the miscellaneous watercolors that soften the boxy format up, and after a little intro session into how to work with WordPress’s back end, she was ready to go! Hopefully the Google Analytics and comments on her articles will help her get her Ph.D.!
If you have any interest in open-source resources, online education, music, or any stuff like that, I strongly encourage you to go over and send her your responses to her thought-provoking articles.