WordPress Theme Review: TV Tranceful 1.0

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TV Tranceful 1.0 popped up on the Theme Viewer this afternoon. Check out that orange glow. Calling it vibrant hardly does it justice.

TV Tranceful 1.0

  • Validation: 5/5
  • Look and Feel: 3/5
  • Theme Completeness: 2/5
  • Editability: 4/5
  • Total: 14/20

Validation 5/5

As far as I can tell this theme checks out fully valid (XHTML and CSS) with a Transitional Doctype. Great work, Mr. Ray.

Seriously. Validating your theme is a great thing.

Look & Feel 3/5

As far as consistency goes, Tranceful is all over it. Whether orange works for you or not, there are some cool things going on here. Notice the comments quote bubble to the right of the posts—not only nice because it looks cool, but it’s also nice to know there are comments without scrolling to the bottom of the post. The comments also show up with alternating colors (odd, even) which is a nice touch.

Some things stick out as a little crowded/messy. When browsing between posts, the navigation links are shoved off to the right and end up looking very awkward.

Unfortunately the top level headings (h1-h4) are colored a red that makes it easily blend into the background. This might be something worth adjusting to increase readability.

And, of course, depending on your designs tastes you may or may not go crazy for the wet reflection in the header and the various gradients throughout the design. Points for being Web2.0-ish? Why not.

Theme Completeness 2/5

Most elements are taken care of. There is a solid category and archive browsing setup which fits in well with the site as a whole. But two things worry me about this theme:

  1. No search bar.
  2. Broken 404 page.

What’s interesting is that while there is no visible search bar (anywhere) the search page does work well; in other words it was formatted. I guess the search bar just never made it into the design.

Note: If you would like to test the search on your WordPress site, or you are on a WordPress site without a search bar and would like to run a search anyway, add ?s=yoursearchhere to the end of their URL.

A 404 page is arguably the most important page on anyone’s site. Assuming a user wants to find your site but due to no fault of their own doesn’t. If they get a crappy 404 page, i.e. a broken one, they step back a page and forget about your site completely. Having a 404 is very, very important. In fact, it’s so important it bears repeating.
Having a solid 404 page is very, very, important.

So it worries me that this theme was built without one. The author probably just forgot to format it. If nothing is changed before you download this theme and use it, be sure to format your 404.

Note: Any updates/corrections to themes made via the theme author will be updated in this thread as soon as we know about it. If you are a theme owner/designer and you correct your theme, please let us know.

Editability 4/5

Thankfully Tranceful allows for sidebar widgets, something that is quickly becoming an expected standard among themes. It bides well for them to include it (which goes for any theme designer). Using sidebar widgets makes it extremely easy for users (even the least geeky) to quickly make adjustments to their sidebars.

The rest of the code is pretty much based off the default WordPress theme; this should make it easy enough for the standard WordPress user to mess with the code. It’s nice that the original commented headers are in place to separate the code, but it would have been nice to see some original stuff make it in to help the user change things which the author created. That’s the real reason for a -1.

Closing Comments (14/20)

There’s some cool stuff happening with this theme. If orange is your thing (or the structure of the site, of course) check it out. Starting out with a validated and widget-ready site is a great way to begin customizing your site. Overall, nice work Ray.