Shopping for Just the Right Look

On March 17, 2011, in Thinking Out Loud, by Jody Ewing

We at Iowa Cold Cases might like to spend a lot of time digging around in the past, but every so often we’re reminded we can’t get there without first taking a ride on that information superhighway called the Internet. For example, we were plenty happy just to get the last of our old html pages folded into WordPress, but then WP bumped things up another notch with a major update (a very good thing, really), and in its wake left us with a bit of road construction.

Anyone who takes pride in presenting an aesthetically pleasing (and easy to navigate) website takes due notice when a highway worker waves a flag at Internet Explorer travelers and advises they take either the Firefox Blvd. or the Safari St. detour. It’s especially cringeworthy when one suspects (okay, knows) she was the hit-and-run driver who side-swiped one too many php codes in this perfectly good WhiteHouse theme when first learning to drive through WordPress Park. I think I got lost somewhere between Sioux City and Scott County.

So, what with the number of individual pages we’ve already created here (649 not counting blog posts — and we’re not done yet), I figured the time had finally come to trade up for a better WP template model. Free Advice Ahead: Trust your instincts.

WhiteHouse Pro 3

WhiteHouse Pro 3

I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve spent more time trying to find a template to replace this one (made by PageLines), than I’ve ever spent trying to decide on a new vehicle. I wrangled back and forth between PageLines’ WhiteHouse Pro and their new Platform Pro — and then on to other sites and eventually back to PageLines — for what felt like five days in slow moving traffic. I knew I had to make a decision soon (lest those IE users run me over), but since I couldn’t decide between WhiteHouse Pro or the newer Platform Pro, I finally settled on a less expensive “package” from another company where 50+ themes (for the price of one, but due and payable each year) would surely squelch my indecisive nature.

Yes, I found one I really liked. I actually downloaded it and then uploaded it to my server. I even spent a few hours going through all the gizmo settings via my Theme Test Drive WP plug-in and thought I’d have the website fully switched over by tonight (i.e. Wednesday night), but then the strangest thing happened; just like cars that seem to miraculously drive themselves home with owners half asleep at the wheel, I suddenly found myself skulking not just around PageLines’ website, but their Twitter page… and their Facebook page, for heaven’s sake!

Pagelines' Platform

Pagelines' Platform

I leaned in closer to my computer screen, clicking on the links of all the wonderful sites others had put together with their PageLines templates, instinctively keeping my chin posed just high enough so that the sponges beneath the nose pads on my new eyeglasses didn’t fall out and down and bounce off my keyboard and disappear under my desk. Eyeglasses — I might add — I got two weeks ago on Friday and only took me 8 minutes to pluck from EyeMart’s rack. I’d spotted the perfect pair almost immediately. I’d trusted my instincts.

We’ll see how those instincts play out tomorrow when I humbly return my 50+ new templates (I had 30 days, but used less than 3 hours) and start putting the ICC’s IE page back together with either WhiteHouse Pro or its Platform sister. I’ve still not quite decided between the two. Perhaps I’ll be forced to flip a coin, but I think the website will win either way.

In the next few days, just try to steer clear of the potholes as I tour around and put up our new road signs. And if you happen to drive by and witness another bad IE or php accident but see help is on the way, remember what your mother always told you: it’s not polite to stare so just look the other way. Hopefully, the tow truck will have come and gone by the time you return. If not and if the wreck is still there, you may want to send for an ambulance. I’ll make sure they turn on the sirens; there’s just nothing like riding in a shiny new vehicle when someone else knows exactly where you’re going.

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