Say hello to Artificial Intelligence. It’s a WordPress theme we created specifically for the needs and demands of FRC, and we’re giving it away for free. A late Christmas present of sorts, from the Lightning Lancers to all the other FRC teams out there.
We hope you enjoy.
The content on your site is what keeps people coming back. If you just throw out a random picture of your team, a paragraph or two on its history, and a quick list of accomplishments, I’ll read it once and never come back. There’s nothing there to make me come back.
The secret for turning those one-time visitors into committed readers lies in the content you produce. And so that became our focus in developing Artificial Intelligence: making sure that your content is great.
With AI, we started with the typography. For starters, it has to have the right line length. Too long, and you’ll lose your place between lines; too short, and you’ll tire from skipping back and forth so fast.
It has to have a certain distance between lines. Too far, and you’ll tire from jumping the great distances; too short, and the lines run together.
And font size. That was a doozy. Too big, and your content appears insincere; too small, and it’s impossible for anyone to read.
Then throw in images. Because that’s what people really want to see. The popular saying goes something like “A picture is worth a thousand words”—and it’s not kidding, either. And that’s why featured images hold such heavy emphasis in AI; they mark the start of any post, automatically resizing to occupy every pixel of the user’s screen.
It’s common knowledge that the homepage is the most important part of any marketing site. Though it often contains the least amount of actual content, it’s the part that gets visitors hooked for more. Content turns new visitors into repeat ones, but getting new visitors is in the domain of the homepage.
Again, the photos are the key here. You can either read a long, boring article (like the one I’m writing now), or you can look at the pretty pictures that fill your entire screen.
Customizing the homepage is easy with AI’s built-in slides post type. It’s very much like creating a new blog post—except instead of choosing what words to write, you’re choosing a photo to show off.
Last of all, you can make the homepage fade into sight—slowly, dramatically. It’s great for showing off your team’s latest project.
The homepage function of AI is pretty awesome. In fact, it’s so great that we’ve extended it into a different feature that we like to call showcases.
At the end of the build season, every team wants to show off their robot in all its glory. They take all the photos in the world, but there’s no way to show them all off effectively. True, we have Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, but there’s no good way to organize those photos and caption them effectively.
With AI’s showcases, you can display all the photos you take, with short captions to match. You can organize them into pages with their own navigation menus. And just like the homepage, you can fade showcase pages in. They’re perfect for everything from advertising your sponsors to showing off your brand-new robot.
One of the big reasons why websites are so hard is because they’re all so different. Most of them follow similar structures: you have the logo in the top-left, you have the footer at the bottom, etc. But each site has different branding. Different colors, different fonts.
But AI is different. We came up with this idea of skins. Basically, it’s like a theme within a theme. Skins have complete control over the colors and fonts of AI, and with a simple Sass configuration file, you can completely change the appearance of AI. I’ve done it myself, and it’s really awesome. It looks very much like Brandon Sander’s blog.
AI comes prepackaged with five skins, but we’re in dire need of more. If you come up with a skin you like, submit a pull request to the AI GitHub repo and we’ll see about getting it into core!
Artificial Intelligence is designed to be completely responsive and mobile-first; it works well on all screen sizes.
AI supports fairly recent version of all major browsers, as well as Firefox ESR and Internet Explorer 9. It does not officially support IE8, though we’ve included a couple libraries to help with backwards compatibility.
As it’s hosted on GitHub rather than the WordPress Theme Repo, AI does not have the ability to pull updates on its own. For that to work, you’ll have to install the GitHub Updater plugin.
We have a lot of features on the roadmap, and many of them are intended to help your team work more effectively. First on the list is a communication tool to allow team members to effortlessly communicate with each other. We’re also looking at adding support for a merchandise store and social media integration. Maybe we can even add our dream of automatic scouting.
That’s all for now! You can download it at its GitHub repo; just make sure to grab the distribution release. We hope you enjoy AI.