Oops. Time has gotten away from me as I focused on my other blog (and my job). Sorry.
Today’s post is intended for my fellow WordPress bloggers. I hope I can save them the time, sweat, and tears (okay, for me it was fun) of figuring this out on their own.
Media can be presented in a number of ways in one’s blog. A single picture, an album (array) of pictures, a slideshow, a video, or a soundtrack. It quickly becomes more complex when one considers that there are a number of means of hosting and displaying the media. For example, the source picture could be from your own collection on your computer, a Picasa web album, a Flickr set, someone else’s web page, etc. That picture could be displayed in various sizes, justified in various ways, have a special effect, shown with or without a border, include a caption, etc. An album could be in single or multiple columns with thumbnails of any size and with a variety of actions assigned when a viewer clicks on a thumbnail (go to the source picture, a designated url, start a slideshow, etc.).
For a consistent style and friendly user interface, standardization of these approaches is recommended.
After extensive experimentation, I have come up these guidelines for my Life Adventures blog.
Life Adventures focuses on the travel and social events enjoyed by my spouse and myself. Because of this, there is a heavy emphasis on visual media versus text. The blog begins with a left justified thumbnail 180px wide. Clicking on this thumbnail will either produce the full scale image (if there is only one) or hyperlink to the source Gallery2 album. In my case, all of my Gallery2 albums have the same theme and format (Floatrix). Pictures can be seen, slideshows watched, and anything downloaded from Gallery2. Tomorrow, I will give a tutorial on how to make this work – complete with html code.
Alternately, the thumbnail could be replaced with a flash video, typically of a slideshow. In this case, the width is expanded to 226px because the play arrow in the middle of the picture diffuses the graphic impact of the thumbnail.
The summary text is to the right of the thumbnail. The reader can then decide whether he or she wishes to read or see more.
The full page may include a video. This video is tucked into the default width of the main post at 580px. The post is an embedded YouTube, blip.tv, or Vimeo video with Autoplay disabled. No plug-ins are required in WordPress to implement this layout.
To see this layout in action, simply use the hyperlink to Life Adventures.
Long Story Short
Because Long Story Short is more of an ideas blog, my focus is on words rather than visuals. Since there are fewer images to manage, I have opted to employ the NextGen Gallery plug-in. This allows me to have the option of a slideshow instead of a thumbnail, but requires that all of my pictures be saved on independent blog pages. Those pages are not as feature rich as a Gallery2 album, but I’m not expecting anyone here to want to examine my camera settings, download my pictures, see where they were taken, leave comments, etc. Albums (arrays of photos) can be displayed using NextGen, which is not possible without a plug in when using WordPress.
As in Life Adventures, the main body of my text and (on rare occasion) videos appear after the break. Videos may become more prominent, if I get back into preaching or music. Long Story Short is meant to focus more on being a journal than anything else.
I am far from done experimenting, but, as of this post, these are my plans for standardizing the look and interface with my blogs.