Evaluation of the WordPress Highwind Theme

This hosted WordPress blog aaamazingsite.wordpress.com uses the free Highwind theme (sadly now retired I see; this probably means you cannot use this theme now).
View the Demo
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On this page we will evaluate this theme according to my criteria (also at the bottom of this page).

I have been using WordPress with this theme for almost two months. I am very happy with the functionality of my blog.

I am still not sure how much of the functionality of my blog is a result of WordPress, Jetpack (included free) or the Highwind theme.

Also see: 
Comparison of my current theme (Shoreditch) and my previous theme (Highwind)
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I am very happy with the Highwind theme. My overall impression is that the Highwind theme meets all of my criteria except for minor issues which no longer are important to me. Please note however that the Group blog criteria (9) has not been tested/ utilised.

The inclusion of Jetpack (free) was an added bonus and allowed me to see who my visitors were (Stats) and where they were coming from.

I have always liked ‘infinite scroll’ (extra pages appearing once the bottom of the current pages was reached). This worked well.

The large amount of space at the top of the page (graphic image) no longer concerns me.

cropped-ferns.jpg

The arrow that sometimes eventually appeared (bottom right) to move to the top of the page was useful occasionally.

The fixed menu (always at the top of the screen) was a good feature.

The searchbox (top right in black bar) was useful.

The monthly archives (below the searchbox) were useful on a few occasions.

My WordPress posts were automatically posted on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/alan.grace . A great feature. 🙂 I was not aware of this until my brother mentioned he had seen my Facebook posts.

 

Other functionality was tailored to meet my needs.

The size of the headings (text) was too large for my liking. This was tailored to be smaller. However the original size appeared at first and was made smaller.

The default background colours (style) had to be tinkered with a little. Originally I chose a black background but this made the ‘Continue Reading’ button hard to see, so grey was chosen instead for the background colour.

The ‘Insert Read More tag’ worked (once per page) but the cursor position (when I clicked on ‘Continue Reading’ was a couple of lines down from where it should have been. Extra blank lines were sometimes inserted in my text to allow for this.

The original date/time for each post was in U.S. time even though I had chosen NZ for my country. When I changed to NZ time, the original times for the first existing posts were changed to incorrect times (very early time of day) or remain unchanged from the U.S. times (I am not sure which). Subsequent posts had the correct time.

The process of creating a gravatar was somewhat cumbersome.

Some users found it difficult to make comments. ‘Likes’ could only be made by users with a WordPress login (Gravatar). Comments only appeared as links at the bottom of a post, unless the user viewed the post on its own page.

 

I conclude that the Highwind theme meets my needs and I have no reason to change it.

Below are my original criteria:

Getting Started in WordPress

My second and third posts were just put in to see how a few themes worked for me in WordPress. I had a few things on my wishlist. I wanted to be able to:

  1. Have a menu that only had the first letter of each word in Capitals. I hate seeing menu items with all the letters in capitals. I had to accept with my current theme that my name would appear in capitals sadly.
  2. I wanted to choose a free theme. (already this item and the previous item ruled out most themes).
  3. I wanted to have my first post always appear at the top of the first page. This meant my theme had to have “sticky” posts. I explored using widgets to have instructions in a separate column but found not all themes allowed this to be done easily.
  4. I wanted all or at least much of each post to appear on the screen the first time it was looked at.
  5. I wanted a simple theme with only 1-2 columns.
  6. I did not want too much screen real estate to be used up at the top of the page. The third theme I eventually chose (Highwind) was a little compromise but at least the menu items were always visible as I scrolled down the page (on a desktop machine).
  7. Since part of the reason for this blog was to help others learn from my journey, I wanted to be able to view posts in chronological order as well as the usual reverse chronological order. I discovered this was not theme dependent.
  8. Infinite Scroll. I wanted more posts to load automatically when the “bottom” of the page was reached.
  9. Group blog. I wanted a number of people to be able to contribute to the blog. It sounds like many themes have this feature.

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