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I’ve felt for a while that I should make this blog better suited to mobile interfaces and, in particular, touchscreen devices. This is known as responsive web design and I’ve been particularly impressed with Microsoft’s ‘Metro’ design language leading to a tiled approach on Windows smartphones. To my eyes it seems streets ahead of Apple’s skeuomorphism.
Yesterday, when I was browsing architecture blogs and came across the Contemporist site, it reminded me of that clean, touchscreen-friendly approach:
I did something I always do when I see blog themes I like: right-clicked to ‘View Source’ as you can tell which blog theme is being used. Judging by the CSS it’s a custom job, meaning I couldn’t simply download the same theme.
That was a shame, but it spurred me on to look for Metro-inspired blog themes. I was looking for something with a tiled, fairly squarish look but that didn’t scream Microsoft. Beautiful though it is, the Subway WordPress theme (from €39) was out of the question. I’d have looked like a Microsoft fanboi:
I also found the MetroStyle theme ($45), which I rejected for having too many boxes at the top:
I downloaded and installed the WP Metro theme (£FREE), but I had trouble making it look decent with my content:
In the end, after considering signing up to a course to get the Anaximander theme, I decided to pay $35 for a WordPress theme entitled Metro:
Like many premium themes it comes with an extremely easy-to-use configuration dashboard in addition to the usual WordPress options. Nevertheless, old habits die hard and I delved into the CSS to tinker about a bit!
I hope you like what you see, and if you want to see the ‘responsiveness’ in action, either resize your browser window or visit this site on a mobile device. It’s only my first attempt – I’ll be tinkering around making improvements here and there over the next few weeks.
Any feedback is gratefully received!
Last month I wrote a post entitled How WordPress-powered P2 is (hopefully) going to leave me more organized and productive. If you haven’t read that yet, you probably should do now so that you understand what follows… :-p
There’s several reasons for my wanting to keep a record of the stuff that I do in my role as Director of E-Learning. These include:
- Performance Management
- An aide-memoir when dealing with other people
- Interest – how much of my time do I spend on various activities?
Does it work?
If you’ve got this far into a second post on the subject, the question you’re probably asking is probably something like Does it work? or Is it useful? The answer to both of those questions is YES!
What’s harder to answer is whether it’s left me more organized and productive. After all, entering even a one-liner (and adding tags) takes time. When you’re flat-out busy (like I am most days at the Academy!) that could be seen as a bit of a waste of time.
So I suppose the best way to answer questions relating to organization and productivity are to take the politician’s approach and not really answer them. Instead, I’ll tell you what I’ve used the WordPress + P2 system for. So far, it’s been for three things:
- Checking when I emailed someone and tasked them with a particular activity.
- Counting how many of a particular meeting I’ve been to.
- Seeing which individuals I interact with most often (the tag cloud is very useful for this!)
I can’t help but think that this system would go from good to great if it were being used by more than one person. For example, ICT technicians could use it to keep a record of what’s going on, cropping up, and taking their time. This could be viewed by their line manager, who could make comments. And as with my personal work record, it could be password-protected yet internet-based for secure yet easy access! 🙂
P2 is available as a pre-installed theme at WordPress.com. A standalone version for self-hosted WordPress-powered blogs can be downloaded at p2theme.com.
So why not give it a go? It’s free! 😀
Ever since I read Matt Mullenweg’s post How P2 Changed Automattic I’ve been thinking about how I could best utilise a similar system. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this video:
But then it dawned on me this morning: there’s no reason I couldn’t use such a system for private, me-only stuff!
As E-Learning Staff Tutor last year and as Director of E-Learning this year, I’ve been keeping a record of what I’ve been up to. This is as much about me being able to cross-reference stuff as proving to others (if needed) that I’ve been fulfilling my role. Up until now I’ve been using Google Docs, which looks like this:
Now, however, with WordPress, the P2 theme and a plugin called Absolute Privacy, I’ve got a close, web-based system that should hopefully be a lot more flexible and powerful:
We’re discussing productivity for educators tonight at EdTechRoundUp‘s weekly meeting. Why not join us? I’ll post my reflections on this system next week! 😀