How I learned to stop worrying and love the asymetric two-column layout
I'm working on a port of the popular Wordpress theme Kubrick. As you can see from the attached screenshot (a work in progress) or from the Wordpress Kubrick test site, two of the features that set this apart from most Moodle Themes are the thin fixed width (740 pixels) and the two-column layout.
This started off as something of an experiment but I must say it's going surprisingly well. Moodle's flexibility continually amazes me. However, I think I'm going to have to make some changes to Moodle to make this work as it should and was wondering if anyone else had played around with two column layouts?
For the time being the two questions on my mind are:
can you force all sideblocks to one side or the other via an Admin setting or via PHP code in your theme?
failing that, does anyone know why the empty left column of sideblocks grows larger in edit mode? (not the right column, where the Blocks menu turns up, but the empty side)
Besides being a pleasant theme to look at, there's a few serious reasons why I'm porting this theme:
there's a world of open source themes out there, waiting for the artistically challenged to steal/leverage them
my colleagues were worried that from a pedagogy/usability point of view, the course content was being usurped by sideblocks coming before them in the natural order of reading (which is left to right for English).
the wide screens of text were bugging me because of their lack of readability. This theme should be closer to the line length of an average novel or textbook.
many themes have sideblocks that are visually imposing beyond their level of importance. You can see this clearly but comparing my current screenshot (with big black headings left over from a previous theme) and the standard Kubrick side-column which is quite unobtrusive. I will also take this opportunity, if it is possible, to remove many of the sideblock icons which I think are superflous.
easy customisation. The Kubrick theme has taken the weblogging world by storm partly, I think, because it's major 'feature', the header, can be customised with ease, and the rest of it is quite subtle so people don't mind that part looking the same as many other sites.