Dear readers, happy new year and thank you for continuing to support wpliving. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll be aware of the very recent changes I made to the design. I’m now running a brand new responsive WordPress theme called SlideSide developed by the excellent WPBandit aka Jermaine Maree and Alexander Agnarson. This marks the 4th theme I’ve used on the site.

So why the change? Well, it’s partly connected with the spirit of the new year and wanting to refresh things a little and partly in response to user feedback on my previous design which was based on the DeTube video theme. DeTube is a fantastic theme, but after some discussion with users by email and further comments in response to this blog post, I decided that the theme wasn’t working for me. More specifically, I realized that the scope of the theme was too ambitious for my purposes. It was really built for a portal or magazine type website that generates a large volume of content. It also had issues in terms of load times, particularly on mobile platforms.

Consequently, I wanted to find a theme that would support my sporadic blogging regimen and also perform well on tablets and smartphones. Having recently purchased a Google Nexus 7 tablet, I now understand first hand why responsive and light weight WordPress themes are paramount when it comes to mobile. Although I’m late to the mobile party, I was of course aware of the growing penetration in mobile sales and the subsequent trend in responsive designs. Indeed, I covered quite a bit of it on this blog! But until you actually really start using a mobile device, it’s hard to appreciate what’s at stake.

So over the winter break, I was doing my weekly round of the latest, greatest WordPress themes and came across the SlideSide theme on ThemeForest. Unlike my previous approaches to WordPress theme selection, I began my search straight from the Nexus 7, testing potential candidates to see how they perform out of the box. One of the key things I learnt from the process was that while most new premium themes bill themselves as being responsive, mobile friendly and increasingly retina ready, many are lacklustre in terms of the user interface and interactivity experience.

What I like most about the Slideside theme is the option to shut down the sidebar at a simple tap of the screen and bring the full body of content into play. I also like the attention to detail given to post formats. The flush rendering of image galleries and videos with the post body make this theme a pleasure to read and use. That’s just me though. As always, I’d love to hear what you think so please do let me know in the comment section below. I’m looking forward to 2013 and to bringing you new content on this blog.