I’m happy to announce that my newest WordPress theme, Gillian, is now available to download and install from the WP theme directory!
Theme summary: Gillian is focused on organizing and presenting large amounts of content in a logical, useful, and visually appealing manner. Fully responsive and accessibility ready, Gillian is suitable for education institutions, blogging platforms, libraries, and more. Gillian ships with a header image ready for use, which you can keep, delete, or replace as you see fit. Some other features of Gillian include: three layout templates, optional locations for additional menus, an optional social media menu with Font Awesome icons integrated, widgetized areas (two sidebars and in the footer), and color customization options to make the theme uniquely yours.
I’ve already talked some about the process behind designing and developing Gillian, and I’m excited to finally have it available to the public.
Reflections on the theme review process
The review process for Gillian was mostly similar to my first experience submitting a WordPress theme to the directory. A big difference was the time simply waiting for the review to actually start. My first theme, Heidi, took three months from the time of submission until the time it went live in the directory; Gillian, on the other hand, took seven months.
The folks behind the theme review process are, as far as I’m aware, all volunteers, just like many of the theme developers are doing their work on a volunteer basis. So it’s certainly understandable that they might get swamped with submissions and not have enough experienced reviewers ready to take them all on in a timely manner. I know they’re currently in the process of improving upon automated checks and potentially developing some new ones that should hopefully help streamline things, as well.
The actual review process once again was mostly painless. There were some clean-ups and fixes to make throughout the code, but as with my first experience with the theme review team, the reviewers were very helpful in providing examples of what sort of changes could/should be implemented.
In addition to the standard review, Gillian was the first of my themes to go through the audit for inclusion in the accessibility ready tag. I fixed some small contrast issues and added some updates to keep the theme in-step with the current release of Underscores. I also played around with some aria attributes (namely, aria-controls and aria-expanded) to make sure that the optional menus in the top navigation bar were linked correctly to the appropriate toggle button on mobile screens. I was not familiar with these aria attributes prior to the review, so I’m happy to have learned some more about it in the process! I really appreciated the input of the accessibility reviewer on my theme, and am glad to have this opportunity to get to learn more about building accessible themes/sites for the web.
I’m really excited that Gillian is included in the accessibility ready tag in the WordPress theme directory. I worked really hard to incorporate a different color scheme that’s pretty… well, colorful, to prove to myself that I can make accessible designs that meet color contrast standards and use more than just a very basic black-and-white color scheme.
It should be noted that the default colors in Gillian have been tested by myself and the accessibility reviewer to ensure that they meet the WCAG 2.0 4.5:1 requirement. But Gillian also provides users with the ability to easily change colors via the WordPress Customizer. If you take advantage of this feature and you would like to retain accessibility-ready contrasts in your site, you should be careful to test any new color contrasts you use! WebAIM’s Color Contrast Checker and Tanaguru Contrast-Finder are two that I’ve used, and there are plenty others out there that work great.
More info on using Gillian
I hope that users of Gillian will find the theme to be straight-forward and easy to use. However, I also have some additional documentation written up for my themes, when needed. If you have an issue that is not addressed in the documentation, please feel free to read through my support page for my WordPress themes and/or leave me a comment here!
Finally, if you’re interested, you can keep an eye on my GitHub profile, where I hope to have the chance to upload the source code of Gillian soon! Any interest in providing contributions such as translations are always welcome.