Dec 7th, 2010
I had the pleasure once again of working with Matt Hill of MacGroup. I had previously rebuilt the Profoto-USA blog for them and this new project was a blog for another of their clients in the world of photography: the Sekonic Company, a premier manufacturer of photographic light meters.
It was a rather quick project thanks to the detailed Photoshop document provided as a spec for the front and single post pages. I started by creating a child theme from WordPress’s default Twentyten theme. The advantage of using a child theme is that all of your theme modifications are isolated in the child theme directory and are preserved when the theme is updated. Knowing that the way WordPress handles images in due for a revision in an upcoming version, I wanted to position Sekonic’s blog to take advantage of any new image handling features WordPress introduces via the default theme.
This was the first blog on which I implemented a Featured Post capability and I combined that with one of my favorite theme mods: the excerpt switch, to provide the post author with finer control of what appears on the blog’s front page. If a post has a featured image, then the medium-sized version of that image appears on the front page above the post’s body or excerpt. A featured image can be one of the images appearing in the post, an image from the site’s Media Library or an external image referenced by a URL.
Matt also gave me the freedom to use CSS3 on the blog to create the rounded corners and drop shadows in the design spec. To achieve these kinds of effects without using the CSS3 border-radius and box-shadow properties, a designer must create three overlapping division elements with different background images for the top, bottom and sides of a box. With CSS3, only a single element is needed and no background images have to be loaded. The disadvantage is that border-radius and box-shadow are recognized by the current versions of Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome but not by Internet Explorer. IE9, now in beta release, does support these properties so it’s only a matter of a few months time before IE users get the full design treatment.
Then, just for fun, I added CSS3 transitions to the navigation tabs. The idea behind CSS3 transitions is that when an element’s property changes (e.g: the background and text color of an navigation tab when the mouse hovers over it, ) the duration and other aspects of the transition can be controlled. For the Sekonic Blog’s navigation tabs, I specified a 1.5 second duration from the base state (dark background, light-blue text) to the hover state (gray background, white text with drop-shadows) to visually reflect the blog’s tagline: “Control Light”.
I hope you enjoy the Sekonic blog. Building a website with such good writing and compelling images was a real pleasure for me.