Tools: WordPress & the Suffusion Theme

 Technology  Comments Off on Tools: WordPress & the Suffusion Theme
Mar 092013
 

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I first used WordPress for my first teaching website. I went straight into hosting the website myself. Back then I had no idea what I was doing and was just following the instructions and tutorials I found online. At that time, WordPress was also not the most user-friendly, lay-person kind of tool. Not for a complete novice like me anyway 🙂

However, when I took an MA course on Multimedia Courseware Design as part of my MA in EdTech and TESOL, I learned that one could do much more with WordPress than I had thought was possible and it wasn’t that difficult either. I used it to create this course for city planners, for example. So, when I decided to create a complete new presence for myself and my work online, WordPress was the tool I chose.

I was positively surprised to find out that the new WordPress version (3.51) was by far better, more flexible, and easier to use than previous version I had worked with. There is almost no limit to what one can do with it. And not only is it free but there is also a very large user and support community, and there are javascript banks, plugins, and themes for free (and obviously also paid versions) as well.

Themes

Now, for non-techies or people who don’t know how to code, the flexibility of WordPress is to a great measure related to the theme one uses.

I’ve tried many different ones but each time, there was something I wanted to change but couldn’t without going into the code (I understand some code and can manipulate it but cannot code much myself). Then, I stumbled on a different kind of theme…

Suffusion

When I was going through the themes on WordPress.org, I came across the Suffusion theme but dismissed it immediately. As you can see on the theme page, it does not look interesting at all. But then, I saw it being recommended on “best WordPress theme” lists and got curious. This is when I found out that there are regular themes and themes that are more like frameworks which allow one to build one’s own theme. This sounded difficult but it turned out that no need for coding was necessary. Suffusion simply gives one a huge amount of options to choose from in an nicely organised interface. It takes a bit of playing around to find one’s way around but the main “problem” is not the interface but deciding what one wants as there is literally no limit 🙂

Although Suffusion is free (donations are obviously welcome and well-deserved), support is great, by the theme designer but also by other users, of whom there are many.

Rather than searching for different themes each time, I will use the Suffusion next time when I need a WordPress theme again.

More on WordPress and courseware design

This was only to briefly introduce WordPress an the Suffusion theme. I am planning to write more detailed posts about WordPress and WordPress Networks, what one can do with it, and how it can be used to design courseware.