WordPress Theme Review: NewYorker

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NewYorker theme for WordPress

When I first saw New Yorker I thought it was messy. After playing with it for a little bit, I don’t think that. I think there is some cool stuff going on. And it’s messy.

About the Designer/Creator

Score at a Glance

  • Validation – 1/5
  • Design – 3/5
  • Flexibility – 2/5
  • Usefulness – 2/5

How grading works.

The designer only identifies herself as miloIIIVII on her site, as well a professional graphic designer and web designer. Based in Munich, milo created this theme at least partly due to the rage over WordPress magazine themes as of late. So, one can’t help but be reminded of some of the recent giants in magazine themes when turning to this one. It doesn’t quite hold up to the competition, but there are some things worth mentioning. After all, you can pull something valuable out of almost any WordPress theme.

Screenshot of NewYorker theme in use

Validation is Hurtin’

Both CSS and XHTML checks came back pretty bad for this one, with more than 30 errors for each. Ouch.

Cascading Style Sheets

There aren’t any comments in the styles. That can be frustrating, especially when there are single lettered class names (as there are in this theme).

Markup

There was some bad technique in the markup, such as a small tag wrapping image. This is an example of an inline tag wrapping a block level element, which is bad.

I also found some divs called things like alignleft and alignright, which is poor practice. The classes should have names which denote the div’s purpose and not the style of the div. This is a dangerous combination of style and structure, which could be a nightmare for changing it up in the future.

Template Files

This theme has all the files it should have, including a couple options for sidebars.

I Don’t Care for the Design

Example graphics from the NewYorker theme

I just can’t stand that font. Wow I hate it.

There are definitely parts of this design that make me cringe. One of the big ones for me is pictured to the right, and that is the font used in a few different places throughout the theme: to denote the Featured post and head up the section for Flickr photos. But, like the caption say: I hate it.

I don’t want to get in the habit right away of pointing out everything I dislike about a theme, so I’ll move on to something I like. I like that milo tried something new with the menu. The menu drops down to a submenu of sorts when an item is clicked. (By the way, see the demo) The effect does work in Firefox and in Internet Explorer 6, although it breaks in 7. Interesting, since I always have more problems with 6 than I do 7.

The Favicon!

I almost forgot. The theme includes an animated GIF which is really flashy. I would suggest getting rid of it immediately (favicon.gif) if you do plan on using this one.

Work to Get it Customized

NewYorker Javascript Box

Javascript drives this dynamic box in the sidebar.

There isn&rsqou;t a whole lot that works out-of-the-box on this one. In fact there’s a long list of things to customize both on the theme’s page and in the documentation (although I do hand it to milo for having some sweet documentation). I don’t think I would ever want to go through and customize everything the way I would need to with this theme. There are lots of places that call individual lists from different categories, so the user has to go into the code and adjust the number to each one they want. This is probably too involved for the average user.

Oh, and I think it’s kind of funny that the designer’s Flickr photos are displayed by default, and you have to change the id number to make yours display. I wonder how many people will roll with her photos on their site before they realize they need to change it!

For these reasons I would say the potential utility for NewYorker isn’t high. I can’t see it being modified as heavily as some other magazine themes, mainly because there seems to be a steep curve to customizing things. This and the validation issues make me put this theme lower on the magazine theme list. But hey, I can’t be the only one with the opinion, right? Anyone else with feedback?

What do you think of this theme? And, if you use it, will you link it up so we can show off some users of this one?

Links for NewYorker