Read all about it

Written by Mark Forrester on June 1, 2009 Product news.

Headline news today – “WooThemes launches The Journal“.

Joining a growing portfolio of hugely popular newspaper based WordPress designs “The Journal” has been in development for the past month and boasts some impressive new functionality.

The Journal was brilliantly conceptualized by our friend Firman Firdaus and given to us in Photoshop format. After some serious brain storming we simplified some of the functionality and typography and began the WordPress wizardry.

Foxinni came up with a nifty backend option feature to assign certain tags to different parts of the home page. Making it really easy to move things around and not have duplicated content clogging up key areas of the home page.

There is also a neat javascript carousel to display content and 6 widgetized areas to play with, not forgetting 10 different styles to apply to the theme.

The Journal is very light on template imagery making creating your own styles an absolute breeze by tweaking some css colour values.

The Grey Journal

Enough talk about its awesome features though, if you want more information view the theme listing. If you’d prefer to see the theme in action view the demo, and if you’d prefer to watch a little quick video introducing The Journal then click on the below.

An Introduction to “The Journal” Theme from WooThemes on Vimeo.

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18 Responses

  1. david c
    June 1, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    I have been waiting for this all day 🙂 but it seems that there is some problem with the download page?

  2. Adii Rockstar
    June 1, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    Sorry about that; it should be fixed now! 🙂

  3. Dumitru Brînzan
    June 1, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    I am not a good web-designer, so this is more of a user’s opinion.

    I. HOMEPAGE

    The layout is heavy. Real heavy. Too many small boxes.

    There are blogs where people have 2-3 words titles. Some people have 10-15 words titles. I can’t even imagine all these boxes handling long titles, it should look awful. Same goes for category titles.

    The “Highlights >” section was a good idea, but takes too much space in the header. Again, try adding long titles, it should break everything.

    The “Also in this site” section was also a good idea, but somehow doesn’t fit into the design.

    Because of the messy layout, you had to compromise the Type: font, sizes, colors. There are many variations of type, almost no consistency.

    II. SINGLE PAGE

    The header steals more than 50% of the monitor. Only the title and first paragraph fit into first screen.

    The red headers in the sidebar are too big and steal my attention away from the article’s content.

    The CSS for the content is also amateurish. H4-H6 are smaller than paragraph text… why?

    Comments section is probably the weakest? Looks like you didn’t pay attention to it at all.
    Being a “magazine” theme, it will probably be used on high-traffic websites. High traffic => many comments.
    Right now, I’m looking at 4 one-line comments. These 4 comments take about 80% of the screen. How about a page with 130 comments? Should people scroll 30 pages worth of comments? I doubt it.

    III. CONCLUSION

    I don’t want to sound mean or bitter. I don’t want to offend the WOOThemes team, whom I respect a lot.
    However, this theme doesn’t stand even close to the high-level quality of the rest of the themes, at least in this state.

    There is a saying: “Don’t try to reinvent the bicycle”.

    Hope to see this theme in a “Updated” version, as right now I would consider it in “Beta” stage.

    Cheers!

  4. Mark Forrester
    June 1, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Dumitru,

    Thanks for your insightful feedback. We by no means take it offensively.

    Remember this theme is hugely customizable.

    If a user doesn’t want to display the “Highlights” section they can turn it off at the click of a button, like wise they could change it to display 6 posts and take up EVEN MORE header space should they so wish 🙂

    The same applies to the “Also in this site” carousel section. It doesn’t have to display, and users don’t need to have graphics there if they want it to display, they could just display post titles.

    The sidebar and comments styling has been copied from Firman Firdaus’s photoshop mockups and we really like the simplicity of it so kept it as is. A couple css changes is all that is required to change things should a user require some more personality in it’s appearance.

    As they say “different strokes for different folks”. Based on customer feedback on a previous post and in a WooThemes poll “The Journal” theme should appeal to a lot of people. Time will tell.

  5. Dumitru Brînzan
    June 1, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Hello Mark,

    I admit that I didn’t have the time to watch the video about the admin dashboard, probably will do that later.

    However, even with all this customization, I would argue the purpose of it all. Personally I consider it a bit ‘lazy’ to just create 50 features and let the user create his own layout.

    Yes, from a developer’s point of view that is great, having a flexible framework is always great.
    But, there are users that don’t even understand that you can’t insert a 1000px-300px flash animation in the header and expect good results.

    That is the work of the designer (theme developer) to create a great layout with some possible minor customizations. Just like a good cocktail or a pizza: you can’t just give the customer 20 types of alcohol and expect him to mix a perfect cocktail. That is why the bartender is tipped – for his expertise.

    I think that the forums will be flooded with “Help me!!!” requests 🙂

    P.S. but yes, you are 100% right: the only thing that counts is customer feedback. If people are happy about it – the developers should just sit quietly and enjoy the view 🙂

  6. David Perel
    June 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    Well, I think this is an awesome design. I have been waiting for a proper magazine layout to rear its head in the web world and this gets pretty close.

    The borders are well done, the feature image is well balanced in terms of the grid structure, the colour choices are lovely as well.

    The only thing I would point out is the font style of the tabs next to the feature image, it seems that they are the only piece of Ariel font in the design (I know its not, but it looks like it from far).

    But well done dudes, I am sure this will be a successful design based on the home page alone 🙂

  7. Premium Theme Info
    June 2, 2009 at 12:47 am #

    Thanks for the screenshot! It makes me easier to promote this theme in my blog!

  8. Will
    June 2, 2009 at 12:49 am #

    Another awesome theme. I think I’ll buy membership soon.

  9. Adii Rockstar
    June 2, 2009 at 3:07 am #

    @Dumitru…

    “However, even with all this customization, I would argue the purpose of it all. Personally I consider it a bit ‘lazy’ to just create 50 features and let the user create his own layout.”

    Are you being serious? 🙂 It takes MORE time to develop these customizable features; not LESS. So how is this lazy on our side? I hear you with regards to users who are gonna make bad design choices because of the customizability, BUT…

    WooThemes is not a design school and whilst we preach great design, we can’t control every real or would-be designer that interact with our themes. We can however only provide them with a superb framework to design on top off…

    But what they do with the theme, is not within our control.

  10. Figo Mago
    June 2, 2009 at 5:23 am #

    @dimitru.

    Taking cheap shots at great designers just to get exposure for your own crappy theme products is cheap.

    And it’s not gonna work. Take your desperation to peddle your own junk elsewhere.

    Have a nice day and good luck in growing your business to being better than WOOTHEMES 🙂

  11. Figo Mago
    June 2, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    Sorry for the ,misspelling. I just wanted to add that you should not think I said that because I have connections with Woothemes. I was just passing through and found your naked attempts distateful 🙂

  12. Dumitru Brînzan
    June 2, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    @Adii: I know that developing features takes time 🙂 The ‘lazy’ part was about the usage of the theme itself.

    Anyway, I guess I made this ‘comment’ a bit too long 🙂

    @Figo Mago: you’re just silly, grow up.

  13. Wholesale Denim Jeans
    June 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Well, I know Woothemes are able to come up with fantastic themes most the time. This one is no exception.

    Though I agree with Dumitru Brînzan that there seem to be too many boxes and too much information jumble up at one place, I believe once you customized it to your own taste, it may look just fine. Customization is always a strength of Woothemes.

  14. Annonny
    June 3, 2009 at 12:05 am #

    Whatever Dumutri’s motives are, all of his points and very valid.

    The comments look incomplete, there’s way too much space going on there.

    How can an h3 be bigger than the body text? Imagine how that’s going to look.

    The ul and ol are way to small and indented way too much.

    The spaces for titles of posts are too small to work in real life, they only worked because the designer put in very small headlines.

  15. Jeremy
    June 3, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    I agree with Annonny. Dumutri’s points are valid. In all honesty, that “Figo” dude was the one out of line. He has no place to tell Dumutri, or anyone, that they cannot have an opinion, let alone go a step further and make ignorant accusations.

    In my view, while the color scheme is very classy and the functionality a major feat, the end product simply doesn’t “look the part”. I can’t tell you how many hours- thousands- that I have spent working on something for a client that was just awesome, full of functionality and, in some cases, a bit “revolutionary”- only to have the end product, in terms of looks, fail. Now, this theme is not a failure by any means. It’s highly customizable. But, changing color values is one thing. One would have to do much more to craft this into the better theme that it could be.

    Now, don’t people purchase ready-made themes so they don’t have to customize the heck outta them? Oh well, only my views here. I hope WooThemes sells the heck out of this.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  16. Figo Mago
    June 3, 2009 at 5:06 am #

    @Dumitru,

    I expected that

    @ all the others who didn’t bother to check the guys link, do that first, then mob me.

    Here’s a fact. The design in question could have been made differently. It could have been made to the preferences you discuss here, or something else entirely. But the good folks ant Woo decided to make it this way, which I think is stunning!

    They know why they made it this way because they are good at what they do. And while I think constructive customer input is welcome for any business, I don’t think that blurting out critique and then rudely instructing these guys to do it your way is any good.

    What makes it worse is linking your comment to a url that’s proudly touting a Magazine theme for WordPress. Common sense, please?

    Premium themes are made to accommodate a large number of people with different tastes, and they aren’t cast in stone. They take care of the laborious tasks of ensuring cross-browser compliance and whatnot, so that you don’t have to.

    If you want to change something about a theme, buy it and then change it to your tastes. But harassing the theme manufacturer into doing it for you just isn’t right. Design schools were made for that sort of thing 🙂

    Now let’s all get back to work and leave WOOTHEMES to do what they do best 🙂

  17. Annonny
    June 6, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    Figo, this is last I’ll say otherwise I think it’ll be belabouring the discussion. Whatever his motives were, his points were quite valid.

  18. Steve Peer
    July 13, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    I do like the look of this theme and am interested in purchasing it. I’m wondering: How does the lack of copy of the main page impact SEO? What can Google and Yahoo grab onto?

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