( Note: If you read the article, it will give the massive amount of images time to load for you. Unless I’m really boring the life out of you, in which case, please feel free to scroll down. )
So I was browsing around looking at WordPress themes (again) and I decided to conduct an experiment on my ‘reaction’ to the themes. I ended up collecting a list the 13 most eye-catching, reaction causing (good and bad), non-traditional theme headers I saw yesterday.
Consider this ‘inspiration’ for the non-advertising specialist. Or just use the images as ideas of what you could possibly do with your own site. As a web designer I’m often expected to know what kind of images and text are best for marketing and advertising etc.. Well, I don’t know about you, but my knowledge of that is fairly limited. That’s what advertising and marketing people are for. I know people who work in advertising – they practically have an encyclopedia of "what images cause what reactions in people" and "what works get people to do certain things" and probably lots more I’m unaware of.
However, even with my limited knowledge, I think most people have heard about the ‘above the fold’ importance. That need to grab people and make them at least move their eyes around and possibly stay a bit longer. Attention getting top areas of your site. Something that makes the speed-browser in all of us slow down. All the screen-shots are above the fold for me – only what I could see immediately. For reference, I’m on a wide screen monitor with high resolution, but I also have 7 Firefox toolbars (don’t ask) taking up space at the top.
I look at theme houses (sites that are mega-lists of themes) ALOT, and I realize there are actually a couple of stages you have to go through to get someone to actually look at your theme:
1. The first is that you have to get them to take notice of your design from a little screenshot.
2. Part two is to get them to click that all-important ‘demo’ link so they look closer at it.
3. Part three is getting them not to hit the back button because they hate what is above the fold on site.
If you can keep them there a few seconds, you might actually get them to like the entire theme and consider downloading it.
So, back to the experiment.
I decided to write down what I thought about as I was browsing. I wanted to see which ones got the most reaction out of me based on the header section. Obviously the themes I’m going to show you got me to click on the little thumbnail, but I’m going to share my first impression of some of the themes I looked at yesterday.
Now, hopefully by the time you’ve gotten here, all the images have loaded. So have fun, and feel free to try out the demo links so you can see if your ‘up close’ reaction was anything like mine.
Disclaimer: I am not advocating these themes as great themes. In fact, I don’t like most of them as entire themes. Some are actually just plain broken beyond the header. These are just examples of eye-catching header designs, nothing more.
Odd Note: Some of these themes actually ended up having the same author. This was not intended, I merely bookmarked the designs that got the most reaction and then when I was writing this up I discovered some had the same designer.
#1 – Forbidden Forest
#2 – A Good Catch
#3 – Cherry Swirls
#4 – City Slicker
#5 – Desktop
#6 – Dreaming Off
Thoughts: "Lots of color, but I like how it is hanging on the sides like that. It makes a major impression above the fold, but its actually not the ‘header’ that does it but everything that’s around it.
Links: Theme page. Demo page.
#7 – Fleur
#8 – Kukufall
#9 – Lover Paradise
#10 – Orange Kitten
#11 – My Gerbil
Thoughts: "Eep! What a way to freak out your viewers and get their attention. I literally leaned back when this loaded up. Just the thing… a rodent with beady eyes staring at you!"
Links: Theme page. Demo page. Designer.
#12 – She’s Got Style
Thoughts: "Ooooh… I love that drawing! I wish I could illustrate like that.. I need to find that artist."
Links: Theme page. Demo page. Designer.
(Note: There is a separate artist of the graphic. She has a deviantART page here http://vikifloki.deviantart.com/ and has a great looking gallery of other illustrations.)
#13 – Summer Holidays
That’s all folks! Hope you were inspired, and at least not too creeped out by the rodent 😀