Two projects that I’ve done work with have been online for several months.  I feel this is enough time to get the “newness” factor out of the way (not to mention all the speed and optimization testing to “fall off”).

The data below is taken from the Google Analytics Dashboard, same time frame (Feb 21st to May 21st, or 3 months).  I actually delayed installing analytics on Guilford GOP’s site until March 5th (don’t remember why), but here’s the data:

Phoenix Academy Mobile Visits

Phoenix Academy Mobile Visits

Guilford County GOP Mobile Visits

Guilford County GOP Mobile Visits

42% to Phoenix Academy and 26% to Guilford County GOP came from “mobile” devices (phones and tablets).  Both of these sites have an overall “bounce rate” below 40% (the mobile only bounce rate is at 50%, tablets is in-line with overall).  The general consensus is that a bounce rate of 50% or lower is to be desired.

I’d be interested to see the stats from before I took over the sites, but I don’t have access to those.  Needless to say, it’s encouraging to know that I’m doing something right with these two sites.  I’ve done my best to ensure that there’s a “uniform” experience across devices and that the sites load quickly (all things being considered).  I’m sure that there’s room for improvement.

I’m a creature of habit.  I’ll admit it.  And I’m willing to bet that anyone reading this is too.  It’s human nature to find comfort and solace in repeating patterns.  Which is why I can’t for the life of me figure out the appeal of the “Boostrap” framework from the folks at Twitter.

I’ve done a lot of reading lately on two major “trends” (if you will) in web design.  The first being a “flat ui” (which is another discussion entirely) and “responsive design”.  To boil down “responsive design” won’t really do it justice, but it basically entails creating a website that will maintain much of the same look/feel/design when viewed on a smartphone screen as well as a huge monitor.  A lot of this is created with some additional coding on the back-end, nothing too dramatic, but still somewhat complex in practice.

To ease the burden, there are several popular frameworks to get started.  The most popular right now is Bootstrap from Twitter.  Behind that is Foundation by Zurb.  I won’t bore you with the technical details of each one, but they’re both very similar.  How they accomplish the tasks is obviously unique, but I’ve found a preference for Foundation over Bootstrap.  The main reason being the “top bar” navigation.  Both frameworks feature this, but Zurb seems to be the only one that adds in the ability to actually move it so that it’s not the “top bar”.  Maybe it’s just that Bootstrap’s documentation is lacking to show me how to accomplish it.

Which gets back to my original point – I’m a creature of habit.  And I don’t feel right unless my design is structured header image, nav menu, content, etc.  Not nav menu, header image, content.

The “top bar” of these frameworks is designed to neatly collapse once the browser size falls below a pre-defined break-point.  I’ve spent more time with Foundation than Bootstrap, and I do know that there’s an alternate navigation menu with Foundation, but it doesn’t shrink gracefully – it basically turns into stacked boxes.  And I’m sure at this point that if Foundation has it, Bootstrap has something similar as well.

So that puts me in the process of creating yet another framework for WordPress.  There are a couple others out there already, but they use either the top bar at the top, or use the alternate nav.  I’m currently using the “starter theme” from the Themeshaper team available at for that.  Hopefully, if everything goes well, I’ll eventually have a “first draft” done by the end of the weekend and make it available on GitHub.