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Nov 15 / Arno Bosse

Adaptation

Website for the Adaptation exhibit at the Smart Museum of Art.

Design Notes:

As was the case with OPC, this website is unusual in that it is based on a custom WordPress theme built to order for the Smart Museum by Neoteric. As such, it should best be seen as an example of the degree to which WordPress themes can be modified. Very little, if any “blog like” elements remain on the site. Of special note is the striking typography in use throughout the site both for individual headers or titles and in navigation elements.

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Nov 15 / Arno Bosse

News from the Division of the Humanities

Welcome to the Division of the Humanities news page, your place for news, multimedia, and feature stories about the Division.

Design Notes:

The Humanities news page is intended to be both a source of news from and about the division (in the style of a blog or newsletter) as well as an online resource for members of the press. The site makes heavy use of post categories and tags and then re-uses these to create dynamic page content. So, for example, while the e.g. Faculty Publications and For the Press pages are static, the theme is also able to automatically create a menu bar based on categories such as Press Releases and Articles. The site’s sidebars are also a little more sophisticated than those offered by most themes because they include both a large “About” section at the top and two, parallel sidebars underneath. Each sidebar can be populated with its own set of widgets (including an RSS widget, as used  here, which in this case is drawing its content from the Humanities Division’s main events calendar). In sum, the site may appear complex, but the steps need to produce this effect are simple to understand and reproduce.

News from the Division also employs the Carrington Mobile Theme to offer up a special, simplified version of the site for mobile visitors with smaller screens. A screenshot of the site as seen on an iPhone for example is included below. A sample of the themes available for use with mobile devices can be viewed on the supported WordPress theme page on our wiki. Any WordPress based site can make use of custom theme support by activating the appropriate plugin.

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Oct 15 / Arno Bosse

Wittgenstein Workshop

The graduate Wittgenstein Workshop aims to foster a variety of forms of interdisciplinary research that take their point of departure from a shared interest in Wittgenstein’s intellectual achievement.

Design Notes:

The Wittgenstein Workshop site uses the MistyLook WordPress theme to very good effect to create a very good looking, easy to navigate and well organized site. The restrained design elements are particularly well coordinated here by the matching color palette and calm quality of the header image. The coordinator of the site has opted to leave just one (current) event on the home page, re-writing this as needed. Older events are placed on the Archive page. Another way to achieve the same effect would be to continue writing a new post for each event but then limit the number of posts that can appear on the home page to one. WordPress will then generate a running archive of past events automatically, sorted by month and year. Another advantage of using one post per event is that events can now be assigned tags and categories. In this way one can quickly view all events about a certain topic, by a certain speaker etc.

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Sep 14 / Arno Bosse

Virtual Tourist in Ancient Rome

The Virtual Tourist in Ancient Rome symposium brings together scholars from the United States and Europe to address new directions in research on Renaissance antiquarianism and visual culture, including those making use of digital technology.

Design Notes:

This is a very simple site built on the NigaRila WordPress theme. It has a clean and simple design that relies in large part for its positive effect on the striking nature of the custom header image. A site like this with a solid color header is likely to be visually less effective. This was one of the first sites we created in WordPress for conferences. Today we would probably structure the site navigation a little differently (using a horizontal menu under the header image for example). However it’s still worth considering as a model as an example of how much can be done with very little effort. The whole site was put together in 20 minutes.

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Aug 2 / Arno Bosse

MAPHtastic

The MAPH blog is a source of information and a forum for annoucements and events of interest to current students in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. It is edited by the MAPH staff and Program Mentors.

Design Notes:

The MAPH newsletter runs on the Carrington WordPress theme and takes its design cues from the Humanities News site. A sister version of the site (AfterMAPH) is directed primarily at MAPH alumni. I’ve listed it here since it is one of the few WordPress sites hosted by the division that are structured by and large exactly like a traditional blog. If you’re interested in other words in creating a newsletter for your department or group you may want to instead think about structuring it along the lines of a blog instead of trying to emulate the look and feel of a printed publication. Please note also the extensive use of category based menus (categories are subject tags associated with individual posts). This is a quick and easy way to add extra navigation and search (browse) options to a site.

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Mar 27 / Arno Bosse

All Things Visual

All Things Visual is the website and blog of the The Visual Resources Center (VRC) in the University of Chicago’s Department of Art History.

Design Notes:

The VRC’s All Things Visual site makes use of the NigaRila WordPress theme. Unlike most sites that use this theme here the default horizontal menu has been left in place. Instead, much of the space in the two parallel sidebars on the theme have set aside for RSS feeds from associated blogs, online calendars and websites. In addition the site’s home page has been switched from holding individual posts to being a static page with general information about the VRC. Posts have been set to appear on a separate News page. Here, individual posts are associated with subject tags. A tag cloud sidebar widget then makes use of this to show the relative distribution of posts across various topics.

All Things Visual also employs the WordPress Mobile Pack plugin to offer up specials, simplified versions of the site for mobile visitors with smaller screens. A screenshot of the site as seen on an iPhone for example is included below. A sample of the themes available for use with mobile devices can be viewed on the supported WordPress theme page on our wiki. Any WordPress based site can make use of custom theme support by activating the appropriate plugin.

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