In my last post, I talked about my project redesigning the Minneapolis Spokesman Recorder’s website. In that post I promised to review the Largo theme for online news sites.
Largo was developed by the self proclaimed nerds at the Investigative News Network led by Adam Schweigert, based on the work done by NPR’s Argo project who’s mission is to develop tools and best practices for online journalists producing content at member stations. It features a choice of three layouts with two different sidebar configurations, the ability to select base colors in the theme options and a plugin for tracking edit flow. Six menus give almost endless navigation flexibility, a custom taxonomy for post prominence so there are lots of choices for featuring articles, and there are lots of custom widgets for displaying the content on the front page and footer. All these features make Largo a uniquely powerful platform for online journalism.
Options are Good
Theme options are something that can certainly be overdone, too many of them can make it hard to customize the the site with a child theme, and they can be so confusing that rather than help you work faster, they actually can slow you down. Even a less than average coder like me learned a long time ago that sometimes it’s just easier to write the code. Also they cause problems if you ever want to switch themes.
This is one of my favorite options because it demonstrates the kind of attention to detail that INN put into making this a great theme for online news sites. Of course the WordPress default name for the content type you’re reading is “post,” but journalists don’t think in terms of posts, they create stories and articles. So Largo gives us the option to change the word to use for “Posts.” Just a little thing to help an ink stained wretch migrate to the digital world.
You can choose between a right sidebar or a two sidebar layout with a narrower one on the left. The top of the homepage can be either a standard blog loop, an area for featured stories with a featured image displayed by the “top story” as selected in the “prominence” menu on the post backend, or a slider which displays the featured images of the posts designated as “homepage featured.” The slider adjusts height to display the entire image so the image can bounce up and down as the slides change, which I found a bit irritating.
Largo also gives the publisher the ability to create a “Landing” which is a custom post type for keeping a series of stories together. You can use the standard WordPress method of posting to create an introduction and then use a custom taxonomy called “Series” to display content.