L.O.P |Theme Development

Line On Paper Magazine

L.O.P Series

Theme UX Development

  1. Organize Web Content
  2. Theme Development
  3. Magazine Platform
  4. Call To Actions
  5. Press Release

 Part Two

I want to begin by paraphrasing Marco Arment when talking to John Gruber in an episode of the talk show. Marco gracefully chanted the following:

“The load time on the server and compilations of making a modern web app these days is both hard and extensive. Specially between loading JS, CSS and dynamic files back & forth between the server and the front end browser.”

Developing Line On Paper magazine as a grassroots web project has taken many forms, shape and sizes but at the core, only five elementary particles are present. In part two of the series we will describe solutions for creating & modifying web content. We shall describe what a content management system is within the context of WP and its functions as a collaborative platform. Lastly, we delve into the idea of describing WP as a foundation with modifiable extensions for themes, widgets and plugins. For designers, DIY creatives and web site owners.

When this project landed on our incubator space, I immediately had a few questions which needed to be answered. From a content development & UX strategy side of the spectrum.

  1. Is there an audience for contemporary art these days?
  2. How will we find our target audience?
  3. What are their needs and expectations?
  4. Engagement best practices
  5. How will a multisite installation of WP behave for purposes of creating a collaborative DIY platform
Relax Neo; The Answers are Coming!
Multi-Level WP Installation

Multi-Level WP Installation


This is also common among web apps in that the main pages are fully connected with each other. But the sub pages or in the case of our project, the subdomains are fully linked with each other. The idea is to create a home page which acts as a central navigation container with only one or two jumps to get from one arbitrary sub page interface to another within the network of magazine issues.  Using drop-down menus, the Fat Menus pattern, or the Sitemap Footer within a multisite level using widgets and WPMU plug-ins we can convert the magazine into a fully connected social hub. Each issue will be a complete new and independent web app with a tailored url for the project. Connecting back to the home page which will function as the magazine “newsstand central hub“. To barrow a term from other existing pieces of technology.

With a combination of utility navigation design model found on every main screen containing links and tools related to other areas of the magazine. Such as social collaboration, commerce, podcasting series and essays on art history, contemporary art and sociology research from Japan. We will arrive at a complete web stack that is tailored to fit the needs of our community.

Creating & Modifying Web Content

Every idea begins with a series of brainstorming sessions which are aimed at developing core concepts for completing a web project; here at CTTDC. Thinking about a target audience for contemporary art lead us to investigate how to best design a suitable  HTML5/CSS static template theme. We want to create an experience that is structured or similar to that of an old newsstand rack. Displaying relevant content across issues using a web UX interface which functions well on mobile devices is a tall order.

The goal for Line on Paper magazine will be to showcase and focus on the culture of contemporary art. Exhibiting visual artist works: Drawings, photographs, prints, collage and art history for the masses. Similar to a traditional art gallery.


The publication will feature an issue base system with monthly online updates. With contributor and “curated” art shows featuring leading contemporary voices. In addition to a social layer component with built-in community and commerce platform connecting our creatives with a large pool of subscribers and art buyers. We began as the gallery image below displays with a basic comp1 drawing of a basic content structure & taxonomy rules. Following a basic breakdown between content boxes and menu structure for the web app. Our primary call to action for the magazine is as follows:

L.O.P Magazine-Content Structure

L.O.P Magazine-Content Structure

  1. Subscribe to our grassroots art letter
  2. Donate
  3. Read the publication
  4. Join our artist community
  5. Contribute
  6. Buy contemporary art

Our theme design must be flexible and adaptive to handle these kinds of tasks with an enormous amount of user complexity. We decided to create a “scroller” theme with multiple content widget areas for displaying an array of diverse information across the network of magazines. While using a multi-site setup as a fundamental element between the magazine culture, its users, backers and contributors. A word regarding WP multi-site shall be discussed in part three of the series:

Magazine platform and development.


However, it is essential to build a DIY social platform which allows for the inclusion of two fundamental concepts: Contextual branding and contributor driven content in terms of how the web app is developed moving forward.

Using WordPress As A Collaborative Platform

Early UX Strategy

Early UX Strategy

A content management system is described as web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to add, edit and manage a website, online product or app. Not only do content management systems help website users with  editing, they also take care of a lot of “behind the scenes”. The basic workflow for designing the scroller theme we are using for L.O.P is to create a basic UX usability concept design on paper. Follow by developing static HTMl5/CSS/JS files and add WP as a CMS hook into the theme.Our users are not web designers or developers. Thus we want to create a user interface which allows them to focus on content creation. WordPress presents itself as the ideal solution for resolving two fundamental functions of the magazine. The ability for users to sign in and create their own DIY magazines and  social collaboration.

DIY Culture:

If we can turn subscribers into active users who will create, modify and follow each other as participating contributors. We will have arrived at a sustainable business model for our startup. With a potential round one of VC investing after the release of our first beta product at the end of June.

Social Collaboration:

As we begin to develop the web app focusing on essential needs and actions for our target audience. Gathering user feedback from our early participating contributors in an effort to built a product that is fast and usable is a major benchmark. The ability to aggregate and display user roles in relation to how they create content with a social niche is a major target to consider. Creating a bridge between user feedback using built-in app functions is at the core behind our social collaboration efforts.

Creating Modifiable Web Apps Extensions

WordPress in an open source application and as such it allows web developers the ability to modify and create core functions on top of it. This concept of a modifiable open source framework provides several useful tidbits for: The DIY non-technical creative, web designers/developers and anyone wishing to publish things on the web. The DIY creative can easily download WordPress and install it using FTP to either a local or live server environment. Once activated (using the famous 5min install procedure) you can start using it to add photos, text and videos to your web template pages, post or any other desired content structure. With the ability to extend the application by using WP built-in open source API tools for theme modification and development. We can create truly sophisticated and original products which are reliable, secure and scalable.

These add ons to the platform go beyond the use of API tools and theme templates. They represent a complete open stack solution for us to create our lean startup from the ground up.


If you are a complete newbie to WP, below are a few guiding tidbits to get you started. As these rules are outside the scope of this essay:

  • Hire Us: CTTDC provides basic WordPress 101 coaching and consulting for small B to C clients including small business groups, individuals, startups and non-profit organizations. We can build a complete content management software solution to fit the needs of your organization. Including server config, team collaboration for work groups and consulting.
  • WordPress TV: An open depository of videos aimed cultivating and teaching WP. Each video session is taught by professional developers, designers and content creators. The core of a wonderful community.
  • The WP Codex: Learning the codex is where I graduated myself from novice to developer in just a few months of learning. If you plan on using WP as a modifiable open source stack for creating original products. The codex is a must for you.

Next Steps:

Subscribe Today

Subscribe Today


Creative Think Tank DC is a visionary design agency focusing on exploring the culture of creative ideas. Founded & developed by DSC: A  freelance web designer with a background in Fine Arts & Digital Media 

Our Services:

Front End Development | Blog Strategy | Contemporary Art | DIY Magazine Culture | Branding & Web Design | Content MGMT Systems | WordPress



Categories: Art, Design, DIY Web Design, DIY Wordpress, L.O.P Magazine, Line On Paper Magazine, Technology, WordPress, Wordpress White Paper/EssentialsTags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: