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Commons Bloggers Get Visual

Cincopa WordPress plugin

Animated GIFs, Sliders, and Cool Header Images…

Bloggers on the Commons are working their themes to create sites that pique reader interest, advertize content, and which are just plain fun.  Here are just a few examples.

Rowena Li has been using the Commons to manage her hybrid graduate library classes at Queens College for two years now, and she’s doing some amazing customization with the Atahualpa theme and adding animations at GSLIS 720 Digital.  Fresh on the scene this week, the South Bronx Review  is getting ready to publish its premier edition, and already has some really nice graphics to pull you in.  Another example of visual creativity can be found at the Caribbean Commons, which features a stunning header image.  The Advanced Research Collaborative is just getting started, but it’s hard not to sneak a peek at its sliders, logo, and 3D cloud swirl and wonder how this site will build out.  Loud Paper‘s imagery is minimalist, spare, and perfectly pairs with its scholarly content and tagline – “Not  Loud, No Paper.”  Manuel C. Co has been hard at work customizing the Hunter College’s Bellevue Graduate School of Nursing website, using unique header images on each page to bring the reader into the content.  The new CUNY Math Blog hit the ground running last month and its bloggers are already displaying images that reflect their mathematical bent.  The York College Communications Technology is using the Arras theme to create a magazine-like site with a content-rich slider and featured student posts.

So How to They Do It?

Most themes provide an fairly easy way to personalize the header image – the hard part is finding the right image.   But what if you have a set of great images you want to display?

There are (at least) three approaches: (1) the header image changes each time you refresh the page (order may be random or sequential); (2) the header image is specific to a certain page or post (a default image is displayed if no specific image is assigned); and (3), your home page has a “slider” that displays a rotating set of images that advertize and link to your content.  So here are some theme suggestions:

  • Rotating Header images – check out themes like Atahualpa and Twenty-Eleven that can be configured to display a different image in the header each time you refresh the screen (usually can be set to random or sequential).
  • Specific Images for Pages and Posts – themes that do this will often use the “Featured Image” option in the dashboard – if this is not entered, a default image will be used. Read about this in the Codex documentation for the Twenty Ten theme.
  • Sliders – some themes let you create and design slides.  Other themes select posts that are specifically categorized to appear in the slider, and provide a way to attach an image.  Most provide settings for size, duration, image fade or slide, etc.   Here is a list of some of the themes on the Commons that provide slider functionality: Arras, Modularity Lite, most Woo Themes (Canvas, Simplicity, Fresh News, Spectrum, etc.); many Elegant Themes (eNews, eVid, ePhoto, Glow,eBusiness, Professional); and of course the ultra-configurable Altahualpa.

Other Ways to Use Dynamic Images

  • Looking to display rotating images in a page or a post (slideshows, galleries, etc.) ?  Check out the plugin called “Post video players slideshow and photo galleries” that uses a service called Cincopa. Check out information on this and other image plugins and options here.
  • The Tagline rotator plugin is available on the Commons to let you vary your header tagline each time a user refreshes the screen.
  • You might want to display rotating images in your sidebar –There are some plugins for that.
  • Check out WP-Cumulus for 3D, swirling tag clouds.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Lookin’ Sharp | Ground Control - March 10, 2012

    […] and how he goes about picking his subject matter.  Scott Voth has a fantastic post that’s loaded with resources for anyone who wants to spend some time improving the look and function of their own […]

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