Review: Opaline theme by Viva Themes

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Opaline Theme

Opaline is a new hotel and business focused theme by Viva Themes. WPCandy gave away a copy of Opaline in our post about its release last week. Before we gave it away, I took it for a test drive on my local install of WordPress.  I wanted to see just how Opaline works behind the scenes, and whether I think it’s worth the $47 price tag.

I’ll share with you what I found.

Opaline theme review gallery

First Impression

Opaline is a nice looking theme that provides a welcome break from what has become the standard “business” theme layout: a huge image slider and 3 column widget area. Instead, Opaline greets the viewer with a nice slider, but not too big, and a well placed widget area on the left hand side.  The black banner under the main sidebar and slider is for the home page only and consists of two widget areas.  The content area of the home page displays posts in two columns with a second home page sidebar on the right side.

The theme’s font is sans serif throughout, using Arial for body elements and Trebuchet MS for headlines.  The logo font is Amerika, a free font provided in the theme by the Viva folks in .ttf format.  Content is displayed at 12 pixels throughout the sight, which is fairly small, but it wasn’t a problem because the line height was tall enough for a comfortable read.

Installation and Setup

The instruction manual is well written and nicely styled. It walked me through the essential elements of setting up Opaline.

After activating the theme, I went to set up Opaline’s custom options. For the slider, I was allowed to choose from plenty of transition methods, animation speeds, and delay times.  I had an opportunity to specify my logo url, or disable using the image logo at all. I could also choose whether to enable the theme search box and specify what category to pull posts from for the front page.

Setting up the theme’s four widget areas was simple enough.  Each of the WordPress default widgets were nicely styled to fit each place I tried them.  I was slightly disappointed not to have any custom widgets available considering the price of the theme.

Getting the slider going was probably the most time consuming thing to do, although the output was very flexible.  To make a post or page show up in the slider, I had to use custom fields within each post or page’s editor. I had an option to customize the feature image, or use the default WordPress featured image meta box. I could also enter custom fields to create a custom title, caption, and link if I didn’t want to use the defaults for the post or page.

Room for improvement

Nothing bothered me too much about the theme, but a few things did leaving me wishing for more.

  • While the enhanced slider options were nice to have with the custom fields method, if I changed my featured posts a lot it could become a pain. Granted, most hotels or businesses would probably keep the same pages featured for some time.
  • I was slightly disappointed that when the custom logo image option was disabled, the site description wasn’t enabled under the title.
  • Also regarding the title, the space allowable for the image is pretty limited, so I would have to use a pretty small logo (under 70 pixels tall) to have it fit properly in the header.
  • One shortcoming that could be easily fixed was the lack of future proofing.  Specifically I noticed when viewing the theme in IE 9 that border-radius for div elements was not defined.  The theme uses -moz-border-radius and -webkit-border-radius many times to achieve rounded corners, but didn’t use border-radius for forward compatibility.  I’m sure this will get taken care of in the first update though.
  • The theme has built in shortcodes to use for different colored buttons. This was great, but it took me a while to get them implemented because the shortcodes are only styled to “a” elements, and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong until I actually included the link.  A brief note mentioning that in the documentation may save at least one other person a headache.  Also, a full list of the available shortcodes in the documentation, rather than a link to a demo, would be preferred.
  • Maybe it’s the framework fan in me, but I wish Opaline had some hooks built into the template files to let me take control of the theme a bit via my functions.php file rather than having to edit core theme files.

Overall impression

All in all I think Opaline is a nice theme. The design is unique and very fitting for the target audience.  A person unfamiliar with editing code could get it up and running for their site with the provided documentation in very little time.

For a standalone theme the price is reasonable, and could be used right out of the box by an end user or customized relatively quickly by a developer to use on client work.

WPCandy rated this 4 mints

More information

View the Opaline demo.

Viva Themes Opaline release post.