Matt 2.0

I’m happy to push this new look on my site. I created my old site from scratch and I actually got really good feedback from it. And yes, I’m planning to tidy up the old design and release it as a free theme on the repo (eventually!). But for now, I really felt something was… Read more Matt 2.0

I’m happy to push this new look on my site. I created my old site from scratch and I actually got really good feedback from it. And yes, I’m planning to tidy up the old design and release it as a free theme on the repo (eventually!).

But for now, I really felt something was missing: Widgets!

My old site emphasized the root navigation really well. I wanted to highlight the various things I do. But in the end, my web development articles are the main reason folks are coming here, and I didn’t have a pronounced place to enable the blog subscription options. Thus, I went looking for a slick and easy option. And I was willing to pay for it. But what amazed me was that I didn’t have to.

Why I Love Hueman

This theme is freely available at the WordPress repo. It’s called Hueman. It is by far the most flexible, lightweight, mobile-friendly, customizable, and well documented theme I have ever seen coming from the WordPress Repo. I am thoroughly impressed. Honestly, it beat TONS of premium themes I’ve experienced too.

So here’s a few highlights:

  1. Fancy Popular posts widget: See that thing on the left that has 3 “tabs” so you can see the “Latest”, “Popular” and “Recent Comments”? That’s a widget, and you just drop it in a sidebar and you’re done. It’s super slick, smooth, quick, and intuitive right out of the box.
  2. See the Social Icons at the top left? They’re from “Font Awesome”, they’re icon fonts, so they’re going to look sharp and smooth on any pixel-depth device. Hueman came pre-loaded with Font Awesome and had great directions for adding the icons (which honestly, isn’t the easiest task for beginners. But with this, you can do it, I know it!).
  3. Are you reading this on a phone right now? Then you probably DIDN’T see the things I just mentioned. That’s because you have to “pull” them out of their “drawer”. That’s right. This bad boy comes with sidebar “drawers” so that your content is full width on mobile devices, but the sidebars are still totally accessible. A lot of “responsive” designs hide that stuff completely to avoid clutter. Here you get the best of both worlds.
  4. See that fun pattern in the header? Sorry, you don’t get that out of the box. But because Hueman has a pre-loaded child theme, I was able to add that pattern from Subtle Patterns, and I know that whenever Hueman gets an update, I can update without fear of losing my customizations.

All that to say, it’s a great theme, highly recommended, and it’ll be my new “home” for a while.

What’s Your Favorite Repo Theme?

There’s really a ton of great, simple, and free themes in the WordPress repo. It always amazes me to find amazing theme developers who just love creating stuff and get their work accepted in the WordPress Theme Repository. Then they also end up providing continual support for them too. It’s really a major service to the WordPress community.

I’d love to hear from some readers, though. Post some links to your favorite WordPress Repo themes. I’m always looking for great themes to recommend to friends or non-profits that just need a leg up into the WordPress world. Thanks!

UPDATE:

I totally failed to mention the author of Hueman. Turns out, when he created the theme he requested a simple act of kindness to be done in order to download the theme. Of course, that was BEFORE it got listed on the WordPress Repo. Now it’s been downloaded over 180K times! Read his full post here about it.

So, my act of kindness will be releasing my old theme for free here, then testing it out in the Repo eventually as well. Watch for that!

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