During my Freshman year I’ve had the opportunity to work on the Knight Domains Community (KDC) site for my Domain of One’s Own fellowship. At the beginning of the year I knew the basics of web design but through this fellowship I have developed WordPress skills and learned about the possibilities domains and digital tools offer.

The goal of the KDC page was to exhibit websites built by the SNC community and to have people submit their sites without requiring a login. This presented my first challenge: finding a theme or plugin to do this. 

The first themes I tried were by SPLOT: SPLOT Writer and Tru Collector. Both of these themes created a “form” page that allowed people to submit content. The KDC page is inspired by a site that used SPLOT Writer to curate posts. Although these themes were not as customizable as I wanted, they helped me discern what was needed for the KDC submission form (the ability to customize field descriptions and capabilities).

In addition to the SPLOT themes, I tried using the theme Garfunkel by Anders Norén and the Post Grid plugin. The “SPLOT Writer Theme” picture above displays a combination of these aspects. Like the SPLOT themes, Garfunkel and the Post Grid plugin were limited in customization, but served as motivation to try to find a theme that would display posts in a grid format.

Throughout the year I tried several combinations of themes and plugins but, with guidance from Taylor Jadin, ultimately decided on the theme Neve and Ninja Form plugins. Neve is a great theme for two main reasons. The first is that the theme’s header has space for a secondary menu. This is where the submitted post category menu is displayed on the KDC home page. The second great aspect of Neve is that the blog/post layout included a masonry grid format. 

To create the KDC form there are two Ninja Form plugins: file uploads and front-end posting. Together these plugins enabled users to submit their own response and picture without having to login. The form also allowed me to customize the notification/confirmation emails and displays.

At the beginning of the year I made a brainstorm of what the KDC page could look like on the Jamboard. The live KDC site is not like my initial sketch, but I’m happy with the outcome and am excited to see how it will evolve.

Visit the Knight Domains Community page here.