ThemeForest Week In Review

This week we have a great interview with rockstar author Kriesi. We’ve also seen the launch of CodeCanyon and a new marketplace “Buy Now” option, along with lots of spectacular new items.

Interview with Christian (Kriesi)

Christian is one of ThemeForest’s most prolific authors with nearly 7,000 sales and a growing portfolio of nearly 20 items. This week I’ve asked Christian to answer a few questions and here’s what the 27 year old rockstar author had to say.

Kriesi's Profile

Q #1: When creating a new template for Theme Forest, what aspects are top priority and why?

A: “My 3 Main concerns are”

  • Design – of course this is one of the main reasons why customers purchase a template.
  • Quality of code (php, as well as HTML Markup, CSS and JavaScript) – I believe once you get a customer to purchase a theme, he will only return and buy if he was able to easily adapt the theme to his needs. This means that clean coding is mandatory.
  • Features – Build a good amount of features into your theme. Slideshows, Lightboxes, Additional option Pages, Multiple Skins etc.

“Most customers wont need every feature you build into a theme but you can make your files more interesting (and also increase the price) by adding some valuable features. Just be careful to not overdo it. No one needs an WordPress option page for selecting one of 8 Lightboxes and 12 different jQuery Slideshows :)

Q #2: Can you briefly walk us through your process of creating a theme or template and the time it takes from start to finish?

A: “I almost always start with designing in Photoshop. As most of my fellow designers have experienced themselves, this can last anywhere from a day for a whole template if inspiration strikes me, to 1 or 2 Weeks till I am happy with a layout. When I am done layouting the front page as well as 1 or 2 sub pages, I start coding the HTML only Version.

Depending on the Template and the JavaScript involved, the whole PSD to HTML step usually takes around 20-30 hours. Sometimes a little more since during this step I still tend to play with the design a little bit and add or remove details. Thats why my HTML version almost never looks exactly like the Photoshop File :)

This is one of the things I like most when working for ThemeForest projects. Without a real deadline, these Steps always last longer than with a normal client but most of the time I am way more satisfied with the outcome :)

Then the HTML theme hits the Marketplace and if people like it I start building the WordPress Version. Again depending on the theme I would say my average HTML to WordPress step lasts 20-40 hours.

So as you can see I am not especially fast when creating themes, that’s why there are almost never more than 1 HTML and 1 WordPress template per month, but I try to deliver my absolute best with every new release.”

Display 3 in 1 - Business & Portfolio HTML Theme

Q #3: The review process can seem tricky at times. As you’ve had quite a bit of experience with it, what are some tips you would give to authors just starting out?

A: “If you are new to one of the marketplaces chances are high that your first few submissions will get rejected. Don’t take it personally, it happened to most authors here, including me. Everyone knows that it’s not particularly exciting to get a theme rejected that you have crafted with passion, but you need to take this as a chance to step up your game. Do the improvements suggested by the reviewer and also make use of the marketplace community, which is VERY helpful (more than I’ve ever seen in any other forum). If you ask, you will always find someone who helps you out with some quick tips.”

Q #4: What are your top five pet peeves in design or web development?

  1. Should I even name it? IE6 of course is the unrivaled #1 :)
  2. Clients who want everything for nothing and
  3. Customers who use you as their pixel pushing tool of choice :)
  4. Unstable programs – Hi Photoshop
  5. “13-year-old arguments (e.g. liquid vs. fixed width) that will never be resolved because the right answer is, it depends on the project.” (by Jeff Zeldman, so true)

Q #5: What are three of your favorite features used in websites?

  1. I love the rise of unobtrusive javascript and the possibilities that came with this. The things I love the most are features that make my browsing experience faster. :)
    Javascript/Ajax Tabs, Image Tooltips or Lightboxed Gallerys for example.
  2. Social Bookmarking/Retweeting – cant even count the interesting articles I’ve read because others discovered them for me… thanks ;)
  3. I also love CSS-only tricks. Those which when you see them for the first time are so mind boggling that you would bet any amount that there is some sort of javascript involved. :)
Levitation Wordpress Business & Portfolio - 4 in 1

Q #6: What do you usually use purchased items for and what are a couple tips you can share, from a buyers perspective, to help authors increase sales?

A: “I buy marketplace items for 3 reasons:”

  1. To save time
  2. To get something which I couldn’t do on my own, which leads to #3
  3. To learn

“If a customer asks me for a feature for his website I would always consider buying it for a cheap price here, but only if it is well documented and if the author offers support. There is no point in spending 20 bucks and then needing to wade through undocumented code without any guidance, maybe in a script language that I barely understand (like Actionscript for example) and wasting my time.

So saving time is in any case an absolute necessity. I often buy stuff like flash files and after effects projects, most of the time for non- commercial projects, and I buy them because they are so stunning that I would need to spend 2 years of learning to do something equally amazing :)

And whilst I am working with these files I improve myself and most of the time also get new insights on how others work, that’s pretty near. :)

Q #7: What are some tips or words of wisdom you would like to share with our readers?

A: “I consider myself to be to young to spread wisdom, especially because I think I had more luck than judgement when I look back at the last year :)

I can only repeat what I already said when talking to Jeffrey for Nettuts: Learn from your mistakes, listen to reviewers and customers and improve with every file you release and you will succeed. It happened to me, it can also happen to you :)

- -

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Kriesi!

Kriesi's Portfolio

Notable Additions to the Forest

This week we’ve got seven great new items to check out, starting with Email Templates. Don’t forget though that there are boatloads of amazing new items each week just as worthy of your attention, so be sure to check those out as well.

[Email Templates] Versatile Email Template – 7 layouts + 5 colors

Versatile Email Template - 7 layouts + 5 colors

“Versatile is a professional HTML email template!”

This email template has 7 pre-built layouts, 5 color schemes, layered PNG source files and many more options and features.

[Email Templates] TechOffers – Multipurpose Minimalist Newsletter

TechOffers - Multipurpose Minimalist Newsletter

“TechOffers email template has been specially crafted with a clean and neat newsletter template in mind.”

[PSD] #1 Business layered .PSD template // adaptable.

#1 Business layered .PSD template // adaptable.

“This is a COMPLETE layered .PSD template with Web 2.0 look & feel for business companies.”

[HTML] Durable Business & Portfolio Html Template

Durable Business & Portfolio Html Template

“The home page includes custom 3d style slider that allows you to change the slides using different transitions which can be editable via config.xml file. Highly customized About Page, Blog Page, Portfolio Page and Services Page, you are able to edit each block as i have well commented each code.”

[HTML] Chapter 26 – Minimal HTML theme

Chapter 26 - Minimal HTML theme

“Chapter26 is a minimal, clean and fresh HTML /CSS theme geared towards portfolio/marketing, although the layout can be used in many different contexts. This theme is packed full of features and subtle effects that really make it fun to use as well as view.”

[WordPress] Centivio – Business Wordpress Theme – 10 Colors

Centivio - Business Wordpress Theme - 10 Colors

“Centivio is clean web 2.0 style wordpress theme for business, company and corporate website. This theme comes with 10 color options for this theme for you can easily choose the color base on your business brand.”

[WordPress] Delicious photography

Delicious photography

“This theme gives a nice flash-like experience while browsing the site. Theme will suits best for photographers or other artists who want to showcase their work in a very modern and unique way.”

More Great ThemeForest Items

These are some seriously great templates, themes and scripts but don’t forget that there’s lots more! View them here!

all-files

CodeCanyon

CodeCanyon

If you’re wondering where all the JavaScript and PHP Scripts ran off to, take a peek at Envato’s new marketplace – CodeCanyon. They’ve taken the popular and rapidly growing selection of scripts and programming related items and given them their own fantastic new home. Make sure to check it out and get in on the action!

blog-screenshot

Blog Review

This week’s fantastic blog posts (and last week’s review ;-) ).

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Chatter In The Forest

Here’s some notable forum threads you might’ve missed.

Web Roundup

There’s a tremendous amount of information on the web and it’s not always easy to find the cream of the crop. Here are some great tutorials and articles from around the web that are definitely worth checking out.

Top 15+ Best Practices for Writing Super Readable Code

Top 15+ Best Practices for Writing Super Readable Code

Code readability is a universal subject in the world of computer programming. It’s one of the first things we learn as developers. Readable and maintainable code is something to be proud of in a finished product. We can share it with others, contribute to other projects, and reuse code from applications we wrote months or even years ago.

This article will detail the fifteen most important best practices when writing readable code.

JavaScript from Null: Video Series

JavaScript from Null: Video Series

Thanks to the wide adoption of libraries like jQuery and Mootools, JavaScript’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years. However, in the process, an interesting thing occurred: many newer developers are learning these libraries without taking the time to actually learn about raw JavaScript techniques. What percentage of jQuery users don’t know how to fade out an element with only raw JS? My guess is that it’s much higher than many would think.

If you want to truly understand the library you’re working with, and improve your skill-set, it’s vital that you learn the fundamentals of raw JavaScript.

This screencast series focuses exclusively on JavaScript, and will take you from your first “Hello, World” alert up to more advanced topics.

33 Must Read CSS3 Tips, Tricks, Tutorial Sites and Articles

33 Must Read CSS3 Tips, Tricks, Tutorial Sites and Articles

Since previous article about CSS text effects got really big attention I decided to research and find more interesting articles and websites just focused on CSS3, teaching you how to use it, showing pros and cons and much more. To be honest it’s hard for me to keep up with technologies myself, but we really cannot not to use those new great selectors to make our designs even more beautiful, user-friendly and lightweighted. However since HTML5 is sort of tied with CSS3, I will soon continue with HTML5 article as well, so don’t miss it and keep coming back! Enjoy!

Best of CSS Design 2009

Best of CSS Design 2009

Since 2007, every year I do a round up of best of CSS from Best Web Gallery (check out 07 and 08 collection). Well, it is the time of the year again — Best of CSS Design 2009. This year I’ve selected another 50 nicely designed web sites. Among the list, I notice a lot of them are minimalistic design with beautiful serif fonts. The grungy and sketchy styles are still strong. However, the large background is no longer as hot as in 2008, instead, texturized background is popular in 2009.

Letting Go of John Hancock

Letting Go of John Hancock

As competition strengthens, every step is vital in making or breaking a deal. Because clients expect everything to be faster, better, and simpler, web professionals must take an instant, foolproof, paperless, modern approach to how clients approve proposals and sign contracts. These documents speak volumes: After all, they are often your first chance to showcase your approach to doing business. I have a way to allow clients to submit legally binding signatures through a web page or PDF file—preserving the classic “signature” aspect while eliminating the most archaic requirements of many modern proposals and contracts. Let’s see how it works.


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