Feb 08

South Asia Graduate Student Conferences

Website for the annual South Asia Graduate Student Conferences at the University of Chicago.

This MistyLook WordPress theme based site cleverly organizes each year’s conference as a set of linked pages (one parent page and several child pages). Each packet of pages follows the same structure (Abstracts, Participants, Program, Locations, Maps and Directions) allowing the conferences to be displayed one under each other in the site’s sidebar. Navigating through the site is also helped by the fact the each parent page will (at the bottom of the page) automatically link to its child pages and by the decision to repeat the top level or parents pages in a horizontal menu provided by the theme at the top of the site. While all this may sound complicated it really is not – the adjustments required for this type of page organization are very easy to follow once seen in practice.


Oct 07

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.


Sep 07

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.


Mar 07

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.