Last week we had our second peer review. You can read about mine here. Today’s process post is going to be addressing my partner, Alyssa’s, feedback.

Let’s get into it.

Right off the bat: it’s bittersweet, but I’m letting my floral banner go. I’ve replaced it with this lovely self-made piece, which WordPress then cropped to oblivion. I’ve tried showing the whole thing five or six times, but evidently, that’s not meant to be.

Here’s the full version, though.

In its full glory, never to be seen again.

Speaking of banners, one concern was that header images blur when a particular post is selected. I don’t know why WordPress does that, but it doesn’t seem to be an easy fix.

You’ll be hearing that a lot.

I did, however, manage to make my homepage my about page, relegating the blog to the sidebar and menu. And then I had little issue removing the exclamation points from my menus.

Unfortunately, overall, WordPress is quite restrictive when it comes to customization. It’s a matter of finding the right theme at the right time, and with the sheer number of themes available, that’s a gamble. I’ll elaborate on that later.

As much as I’d love to have the Figma models Alyssa made (sidenote: those are GORGEOUS), WordPress isn’t as fluid. I’ve made what changes I can, but at the end of the day, I’m still using preset themes, and I don’t know how to dive in and tweak them.

Now, let’s get into my explicit design choices, which are products of the previous peer review. For example: this recurring image.

Thanks, Unsplash.

This is the go-to thumbnail for process posts, which are “inward” and more for reflection on class prompts over my main posts, which are what the blog’s really about. It’s a simple, shorthand way to say, “Hi, this is me talking about running my blog and not actually blogging.”

I’m trying to get distinct images for every outward post, though. So far, so good on that.

As for the post format, that’s also undergoing some very shaky transition. I’ve left the Creating/Consuming model behind for the Tip/Trial/Rec model, which I’m hoping will be better for the user experience. I mean, hey, tangible advice is definitely a step up from my disorganized ramblings (as fun as those were).

At the end of the day, this blog has definitely become more about creating. But as I love talking about media, the “Rec” portion has become an enjoyable little tag-on for the end of every entry. (It did cross my mind to make that its own weekly post, but if I can be vulnerable, I don’t know that I have it in me to make a whole extra blog post every week. I’m just one person, and I’m overworked as is!)

Again, I totally get where the critique of the previous format is coming from. It was messy, and I don’t miss it much. I’m really hoping this new style serves the site more.

So, those were the things I could change.

To be honest, trying to fix a WordPress theme can be wildly demoralizing. It made me realize that, even with my own URL, I’m still bound to a preexisting website. I don’t know how to code my own themes, so I’m more or less stuck with presets. And customizing the presets? Well…

This is all you get for colour customization.

This is confusing, to say the least. I went into it last week trying to change my text colour, and that alone took an insane amount of trial and error.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you know who did customization right? Tumblr. You could use themes made by anyone, and you could pick and choose the colour of literally everything. My Tumblr is defunct these days, but I literally crawled back in to screencap the customization menu.

This isn’t even half of it. You can also change backgrounds, headers, sidebar text… none of that primary/secondary weirdness.

At the end of the day, the feedback was totally warranted. A lot of my early entry strangeness deserved to be pointed out, and I’m glad it’s in the past. And while my current theme isn’t perfect, I’ll hopefully keep pushing its limits.

I guess that, even with my own URL, I’m still on some level within the space of a larger platform, playing by its rules. But again, I intend to psuh where I can.

And this is also still a very new experience as a whole, so I’m dealing with a lot of growing pains. I’m grateful for the patience I’ve received, and hopefully this blog continues to improve!!

Until next time.