News to Live By

Custom Wordpress Theme

In 2014, I interned at a small agency called Lookthink in Washington, DC. While I was there, I was asked to make a wordpress site for the first time. I first made a static site, and then converted it to a custom wordpress theme. This meant I had to pick up PHP. As the only intern on a small team, I picked up most of the development workload for this project, and was able to use the other devs as resources when I had questions.


News To Live By

Our client was a high-traffic news blog with a primarily millenial audience. We had to meet their needs as modern on-the-go readers. We implemented a bolder responsive layout to make reading seamless from any device. A lot of emphasis was on social engagement because that was the driving force behind most traffic.

Development Cycle

Wordpress Development

This was my first time writing a custom theme using Wordpress. While I was familiar with the CMS interface, I had never written any PHP or WP themes.

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Comp Matching

I created a static site based off the comps handed to me by the designer

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Mobile Responsive

We utilized an off-canvas menu and reduced unnecessary content and clutter for the mobile and tablet versions.

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Wordpress Development

I started templating all of the dynamic content

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Infinite Scrolling

We used Jetpack's infinite scroll plugin with some customization to enable the click to load more content feature.

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Custom SQL Queries

For some pages, I had to utilize custom SQL queries to get specific content from the Wordpress database.

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QA Period

We used BrowserStack to do a lot of our QA, along with Edge Inspect, and tracked issues via Trello.

Final Thoughts

This was an awesome project because it really pushed me. I learned some PHP, learned some Wordpress, and had to utilize some of the command line MySQL I learned in my Database class.

If I could do it again, I would probably redesign the CSS architecture with more'abstract modules to get rid of some bloat. I would also try and do more traditional wordpress techniques, like taking advantage of 'the loop.'