Using the WordPress Default Themes, Twenty Seventeen

Each year WordPress develops a new, default, theme to incorporate new ideas on site layout, use, and features. The Twenty Seventeen theme represents a focus on creating company websites in addition to a blogging platform.

Twenty Seventeen brings your site to life with header video and immersive featured images. With a focus on business sites, it features multiple sections on the front page as well as widgets, navigation and social menus, a logo, and more. Personalize its asymmetrical grid with a custom color scheme and showcase your multimedia content with post formats. The default theme for 2017 works great in many languages, for any abilities, and on any device.

The theme is spaciously laid out, it’s very modern but might be too sparse for some designs. There is so much white space that there are a lot of customizations for reducing white space by reducing padding, increasing font size, adding full-width pages.

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It’s Like a Graphic Designer in Your Pocket

The Word Swag App – Cool Text on Your Photos

Definitely, take a look at this app on your iPhone or Android. Here are the features as described on the website.  From the site


Now you can create beautiful custom text layouts that would normally take minutes – or even hours – with just a tap.


Hundreds of quotes, thoughts, and jokes so you’re never at a loss for words.


Who doesn’t want a graphic designer in their pocket?

Source: Word Swag App – Generate Cool Text, Words & Quotes on Your Photos

Is your Site Responsive?

Fabric Manufacturer

So Many Devices

IPhone 6, Kindle Fire table, Android phone – sites need to look great on all devices. Are you curious how your site measures up? Use this handy link to see how responsive your site is on multiple devices Test my Site. Responsive designed sites are fluidly designed, they will work on almost every device as they are designed to respond to window sizes in a flexible way. Odds are your site can be easily adapted for a more responsive performance.

WordPress and Mobile Design

Most new WordPress themes are responsive, or mobile-friendly. If you are purchasing a new theme make sure that this feature is included and check the theme demo from your phone to be sure. I’ve found that more popular themes have included responsive features in their updates. For older themes or theme that have been abandoned by their developer there are several options. You can add a plugin that incorporates mobile or add some custom css code for smaller devices. The best option would be to upgrade to a new theme as it probably means your theme is outdated and unsupported and thus not only stale but a possible security risk too.

GOOGLE and Mobile Search

Beginning on April 21st, Google will assess sites responsiveness and give higher visibility for mobile-friendly sites in search results from phones. They have provided this link to test your site and suggest ways to improve your mobile-friendly performance.
Google Mobile Friendly Test

Easy, Online Graphic Design

We all know great design when we see it but creating great design takes talent and practice.  Adobe Illustrator is a powerful tool for creating graphics for your site but it also has a very steep learning curve.  Recently, I began using an online graphic design tool, CANVA.COM , to create simple graphics and my impression so far is that it is easy and fun.  Canva is a creation of Guy Kawasaki,  a former evangelist of Apple and Motorola.  Guy presented at Hubspot’s INBOUND 2015 and was a relaxed and amusing  presence.  He has a twitter account that seems to post thousands of tweets a week, keeping a small cadre of graphic designers busy just to keep up.  I immediately checked out Canva and much to my delight it really does simplify the graphic design process in many ways.

First, you select your platform and began working in a pre-formatted canvas. Every type of social media canvas is represented including posters and infographics.  You then choose elements for background, text etc.  Canva is very flexible in allowing you to upload your own elements or choose from free and $1 canva elements. The text elements are pre-designed elements, just waiting for you to drop in your text.  In this image I used a photo of mine from Rock Harbor Cape Cod and a Canva text element.  While it looks simple, that circular pattern is not easy to create from scratch. Proportion of design elements is already determined allowing for modern and clean balance…


I often struggle to collect professional photos from companies that represent products, location, staff. One excellent, professional photo can do a lot of heavy lifting on a site, presenting brand and other messaging with ease.  One of the freeing aspects of Canva is that you learn you can create infographics, postings and headers using many other sources for backgrounds.  While these may not be appropriate for main site images they are really useful for social media and other quick turnaround channels.  Twitter posts with a great, but not site specific, image are very captivating when done with attention to layout.  Canva text is pre-designed for appeal with font details carefully determined. Here is an infographic I had fun with, it illustrates the difference between just brand traffic and great search traffic.

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Combined with a source of free images, such as, you can really create some high level looks in a flash.  Here is an UNSPLASH city scene and Canva graphics, basic of course but also lightning fast… and free!  No monthly SAS fees, no expensive content purchases.  The text design components are just where they should be.


Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use.

Looking for a way to add a timeline to your site?

Timeline JS provides a robust solution to presenting time-based information.

It works best with a story arc, a narrative that leads the viewer through a connected plot. Adding small events that lead up to the main events help keep the flow of the story feeling natural and readable.

Timeline JS – Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use..

10 Crucial Elements for Any Website Design | Design Shack

White Space

Modern design is becoming cleaner and simpler all the time.  Leaving empty space around elements is an important aspect of design for a clean, clear site.
Navigation – The user always needs to have clear indications of how to travel around your site.  The main navigation should look the same on every page and be in the same location for easy access.

About Us

Google analytics confirms that the About Us page receives a lot of attention from visitors.  Don’t leave out this critical information for visitors who really want to know who they are dealing with.


Curious people want to know where you are, these pages provide a consistent place for visitors to get directions and other contact info. Nobody likes searching for your contact info so hand it over on a platter – the contact page.

Call to Action

The latest buzzword for sites but what does it mean? In simple terms, it just means making sure that you define what it is you want the user to do and then help them achieve that action. If you are hoping they will call your business then ask them to do so and provide the phone number or an auto-call function. Many companies with online services have clear content leading to a big, bold “SIGNUP” or “TRY FOR FREE” type of Call to Action. Sophisticated businesses may have a less obvious action to encourage but still benefit from thinking out the process.

Read more…Design Shack Detailed Article