Why choose a framework based WordPress theme? There are many reasons. If you are a web designer that works for a company, or if you own a business, or if you want to get your feet wet in the world of web design as a student, then you need to know the benefits of using a professional framework based theme for your WordPress site.
In this article we’re going to talk about WordPress frameworks, understanding how frameworks are used, and how frameworks are built using modern web standards. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a framework?
A framework is a standard for the way a website is formatted. For example, the main body of a website could have different layouts, with a sidebar on the left hand side displaying different forms of content or a small bio section of a site, then the main column could have the article on it. That would be considered a sidebar-content layout. If the content is on the left, with links on the right, then that would be considered a content-sidebar layout. If there’s bars on both sides, that would be considered a sidebar-content-sidebar, or 3 column layout.
No matter which layout you choose, a framework can help you to create a standard look and feel for your site so that the graphics or the ‘skins’ of your site can be altered without changing the layout. Studiopress has developed the Genesis framework for their theme base, for example. The Genesis framework is an excellent example of a quality framework that you could implement for a WordPress site.
Frameworks are like blueprints
To further illustrate the point, think of a framework like the blueprint of a building. Let’s consider the example of the blueprint of a 10 story apartment building. A building design could call for 10 floors, with 10 apartments per floor. The blueprint could call for 10 windows per side of the building, with 400 windows total from top to bottom. This is similar to the way that a framework operates.
A framework calls for a layout of columns on a given website, just like a blueprint calls for a layout of floors. The apartment building could have a wooden board and batten exterior, or a brick exterior, or siding. The window frames could be white, or blue, or brown. The doors could be white or blue or green. The color of the exterior, and the color of each individual apartment has no bearing on the structural layout of the blueprint. The same concept is true for a website framework.
It doesn’t matter if your website background is white, or black, or blue, the framework creates a standard for the way a website layout is set up.
Frameworks are implemented in professional theme designs
Professional design companies choose to develop themes around a framework because it delivers a consistent experience for their audience, the blog owners, which in turn delivers a consistent experience to the audiences of those blog owners.
If you can train your users to look in a certain place for information on your page, and prevent them from having to think, then you will see a much higher conversion rate for joining the mailing list, or clicking through to your affiliate site, or whatever your trying to get them to do.
Frameworks conform to modern web standards
Because frameworks are always designed to conform to a standard, design companies will work hard to confirm these frameworks to modern and strict web standards.
In the past, different companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, and many others all had a different standard of displaying web pages, based on the way their browsers worked. (Actually this was mostly with Microsoft and IE.) This made things difficult for web designers, because you had to create an Internet Explorer version of a page, and a version for firefox, and for Safari on a mac.
A framework that’s confirming to XHTML standards is an effective way to take out the confusion of web design and apply a new skin from a theme that conforms to the framework, without destroying the whole look of the site.
How to choose?
No matter what frame or themework you choose, be sure to test your designs out on different machines, and be sure to get feedback through a form on your website. Entice your users to fill out a survey for a chance to win a new phone, or an iPad, or cash or something appealing to them, and deliver a consistent rich web experience to your audience with the survey results.