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Delivering happiness… errr… themes

July 30, 2010 - 3 Comments

Adii, Magnus and myself are all reading “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh of Zappos at the moment, and we are all avid fans of Tony’s personal/hands on approach to business.

At WooHQ we all keep a close eye on the emails we receive, whether they be good or bad, happy or irritated users. In that way we can continue to add value, find purpose and direction, and in turn deliver happiness to our users.

We love receiving glowing testimonial emails from WooTheme users dotted around the world, it makes our pixel-pushing, computer-bound work more personal knowing we are delivering our products to actual human beings, not just zip files that we deploy to the interwebs.

We received this one from Mark Simmons on his experience with the Aperture theme and we thought it would be great to share these occasional “happiness” emails we receive with you our site visitors.

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Tweaking the user experience page by page

July 26, 2010 - 19 Comments

When we are not designing themes here at Woo Headquarters we are tweaking and improving the process of delivering those themes to you. At least that’s what we were doing last week.

We thought it would be a good idea to document the changes we implemented last week with the honest reasoning behind the user experience tweaks. First let’s have a look at the theme listing page, as it was last week:

The theme listing page, prior to the UI tweaks

After much deliberation we decided we weren’t entirely happy with the user interaction process required when buying our themes, and the confusion of having four call-to-action buttons taking you to the checkout page.

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Estate: Your WordPress Real Estate Solution

July 20, 2010 - 75 Comments

More than just a theme!

Estate (formerly known as Realtor; R.I.P.) – the WordPress real estate theme solution is finally here!

The WooTeam (especially Jeff & Cobus) have spent months in perfecting Version 1 of Estate and we’re so excited to now hand this over to all the awesome WooFans to try it, experiment with it and obviously: build your next WP-powered real estate website using Estate.

One of the main reasons that Estate took a little longer, and required more love (in comparison to our other themes), is the fact that we’ve included quite a bit of niche functionality that we had to develop specifically for Estate. So it wasn’t just a case of mixing & matching code from our existing themes; nope, we had to develop Estate from scratch. The other reason for this development process relates to all the new custom post type & taxonomy goodies in WP 3.0 that we’ve utilized, because we wanted to release a real estate theme unlike any other WP theme that you may have encountered up until now.

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Training ninjas with Jon Hicks

July 15, 2010 - 21 Comments

Mr. Jon Hicks

Over the past couple months we’ve had the pleasure of working with the pixel surgeon, and icon designer extraordinaire that is Jon Hicks.

We commissioned Jon to re-design our popular ninja mascot that you would have seen busting moves all around our site. Our ninja was originally traced and vectorized based on a freely available icon design. However, we got so many people emailing us, and kindly informing us, that our ninja was being illegally used on other sites across the interwebs that we thought it was high time that we sat down and designed our own, unique mascot that epitomizes WooThemes ethos.

Let’s hand over to Jon for more information about the brief we gave him, and his creative design process.

The brief for the update of the ninja character was to give it more uniqueness, but retain the rounded/cute feel that the current character had.

Jon's doodles in his sketchbook that I'm sure a lot of designer's would like to take a peak in

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A different type of Magazine

June 22, 2010 - 29 Comments

Coda is our latest magazine theme, designed and coded by our own Forum Ninja, Kirstin Pauk. What sets Coda apart from the rest of our magazine themes is it’s unique single post layout, which makes use of a jQuery tab to split the article from the comments.

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Feeling Inspired?

May 26, 2010 - 29 Comments

We know you love business themes here at Woo, as you can see from our theme leaderboard. So closely following Apz is another business theme designed in-house by myself.

Inspire continues where Optimize left off, adding a dynamic custom homepage that uses custom built jQuery in the featured area.

jQuery driven Featured Area

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Launch your app in style

May 19, 2010 - 19 Comments

Apz is a niche business theme for developers/designers wanting to showcase their application/product on a unique home page that highlights all of it’s features/benefits, social media surrounding it, and multimedia created to advertise it.

The default Apz home page design

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Tumbling Snippets

May 16, 2010 - 13 Comments

We are pleased to announce a new addition to our growing portfolio of WooThemes Tumblr based themes – it’s called Snippet.

The Snippet Home Page

The Snippet home page serves as a showcase of all your latest Tumblr posts, neatly arranged and categorized thanks to clean iconography and a very flexible JS Masonry powered grid layout (that we’ve previously used on a WordPress theme – Mortar). You’ll notice some Generate theme influences we’ve included, based on its recent track record.

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City Guide Gets Some New Features

May 10, 2010 - 16 Comments

City Guide has surprisingly been one of our best sellers over the last couple months, as our theme leaderboard proves. We say surprisingly because it is a niche directory-based theme, with innovative Google Maps integration, but far from our usual winning formula.

Given it’s popularity and the wonderful feedback from users and beta testers Fox spent a couple days last week adding some hugely valuable additional functionality.

Category Maps

View all your category posts on a overview map

As can be seen above, and on the demo, there is now an overview map on each category page. This map shows each post, which has a Google Maps location added to it, on the map in the form of a marker. You can then click on that marker to be taken directly to that post. This is a great visual navigation item to highlight all the restaurants, hotels, visitor attractions, etc, individually.

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The News in Pictures

May 5, 2010 - 21 Comments

As recently promised we’re releasing another theme based on our usual winning formula, after a string of more niche theme designs.

Spectrum is a visually rich magazine-based theme designed by Chris Rowe – who we have previously worked with on the popular BlogTheme and Gotham News.

With Spectrum the home page is a visually rich layout showcasing your website content via engaging imagery, and a featured scroller available to highlight noteworthy blog posts scattered across numerous categories (it’s a tag based scroller).

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It’s in the diary

April 22, 2010 - 46 Comments

Thursday 22nd April was in the diary for the launch of our latest feature packed WordPress theme. We’ve managed to stick to that release date and we can finally introduce you to our latest beauty entitled “Diarise“.

As the name suggests this theme is based around the calendar functionality of the WordPress system. But taking it to a whole other level.

With Diarise you can showcase events and navigate around them with a neat home page JS date picker. That means you could use this theme for your church, school, sports club, or event organising company! To name but a few.

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April 22, 2010 - Leave a comment

Unique Features

  • Event Calendar

    A custom home page event calendar to showcase your upcoming events in a neat tabber, navigated by month or event sequence. Buttons to add the calendar directly to your Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook or Apple iCal, and a button to link to your booking form for the event if applicable.

  • Featured Posts Scroller

    This could either be used to showcase highlights of past events, or notable blog posts. This Js scroller is tag and can be set to automatically scroll through slides.

  • A Completely Modular Home Page

    The Diarise home page can be set to show the Event Calendar, Featured Posts Scroller, Blog Section and Widgetized Footer or any combination of these. Modules can easily be disabled via the theme options.

  • Custom Widgets

    There are 9 Custom Woo Widgets for use in the widgetized sidebar and footer: Customer Feedback, Twitter, Recent Blog Posts, Featured Media, Blog Information, Ads & Search to name some of them.

  • Alternative Styles

    8 delicious colour schemes to choose from, and possible to change color of links and buttons in options panel.

Canvas 2.0

April 6, 2010 - 47 Comments

Magazine page template

We have had a lot of people request some extra functionality in Canvas, and we promised to deliver on some of the requests. After a bit of a delay, we can now finally show you a couple cool new features that will add an extra layer to this popular theme.

Magazine Page Template & Business Page Template

The two major updates in this version are the custom page templates. You can now add a magazine (view demo) or business (view demo) page template to your Canvas theme.

Both page templates have a featured jQuery slider, that can show posts or pages. The slider on the magazine template shows posts which have been marked with a tag, and the business template shows pages that you have setup in the options. Here is a screencast previewing the new templates:

We hope you enjoy this update, and let us know how we can improve this theme even more in the future!

Important! After you have uploaded the new version, you need to make a new page and add the “Business” or “Magazine” page template first before the options for the specific template becomes available in your options panel. Read full instructions in our documentation.

Everyone benefits from our company retreat

March 31, 2010 - 16 Comments

It’s been a month since our company retreat to the Austrian Alps where we enjoyed a week of snow, ski, jagermeister and a little bit of work – how we all wish we could be tele-ported back there right now.

We’ve been absolutely astonished by the amount of media attention our company retreat attracted. It even featured on Mashable yesterday with Josh Catone, the features editor, writing an excellent case study on our social media success surrounding the trip.

Not only did the trip itself attract a lot of attention, but we got a lot of people admiring the WordPress tumblog theme we built to efficiently, and very easily, live blog the activities in the Alps. We therefore decided it was appropriate to add some polish to the theme, and add some more functionality, then release it for general purchase.

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Mobile Officing Extreme

March 4, 2010 - 23 Comments

Woo on the slopes

Late last year I was sitting at the barber shop, getting a haircut. The barber felt obliged to ask me what I do for a living. I tried to explain to him, in a non-technical way, how I “designed websites”, and managed the business with my 2 business partners in Norway and Cape Town… who I’d only met face-to-face a handful of times.

Of course the conversation went dead then as he was obviously a little confused by this internet thing I did. I quietly kept thinking about our rather unique business, and how completely mobile we actually are. Why don’t we really take advantage of the perks of mobile officing?

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WooNav: Integrated in WP 3.0

February 15, 2010 - 76 Comments

Two weeks ago when we launched theWooNav we knew it was something special and would be well received by our users, together with our recent release of WooFramework V2 our theme development was certainly hotting up. Then, out of the blue, we were contacted by Jane Wells of the WordPress Core UX development team who was planning the final iterations of the menu management system’s core features for WordPress 3.0. Unknown to us Jane had been playing around with our WooNav functionality:

We have a developer working on it, and have gone through several rounds of community feedback and iteration, and it strikes me that what we’re probably going to end up with is a lot like what you guys have in your Custom Navigation option, so I thought I’d get in touch with you guys to talk about it

After a few emails it was pretty obvious that this made perfect sense for both us and the core team. It would save the WordPress developers hours of coding to build something that already existed and did the job well, and WooThemes would finally be acknowledged for it’s work in furthering WordPress theme development.

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