Web Design Tools and Methods for WordPress

HTML/CSS and some manipulation of PHP and jQuery are the “languages” that I use to design WordPress themes. When I started as a theme designer, I tried Adobe Dreamweaver in CS4 but it was just uncomfortable so then after trying several editors, I got a good discount on Panic’s Coda and I haven’t moved away from it. For me, it’s what allows me to hand code. I know about Sublime Text and tried it but I’m accustomed to Coda for now.

HTML/CSS, I’d say that I know 90% of it but with jQuery and PHP, I still need the internet to figure out how solve my challenges. I enjoy running into those “problems” that need to be fixed and researching how to do it. I learn so much.

I had a client who emailed and said, “Can you do this for me?” I spent five days (noob) trying to figure out the jQuery and PayPal form and it seemed each day that I played tug-of-war with it, I’d solve one phase of it and I’d be looking for one solution and get a different solution. It took a lot to not get frustrated. When I reached those moments, I’d stop there and continue the next day. Don’t quit! Finally it was done and the chrome sparkled in the bright sun.

Five days of learning and I asked for an hour’s wage. That’s what seemed honest at the time. Maybe that’s highway robbery, but I’m the one who wanted to learn and raise the bar for myself. This is how I do business, if I’m learning, I’m not going to charge you for that time. Honest hours, that’s what I believe is right. I’d say that I’m not going to give up when I see a wall. I might take a while to climb it or find a way around it but I’m willing to give it my all until I’ve determined that I can’t do it. I’m hard headed, a little stubborn, analytical and a logical thinker.

Photoshop is the tool that is used when I need to make a fancy website. If I am just going to make boxes with background colors, then I don’t. Lately, I have been more interested in designing sites that work for the latest web browsers and I don’t even think below Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8). I use a Bootstrap or Boilerplate when it should just work for those older web browsers and I can build on top of it. In addition to those, Responsive Design has been another interest which uses Media Queries. That means that the theme will resize to your mobile’s screen size. But that’s a lot of work and it means you have to be able to test your sites on those devices.

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