What I'm looking for in Themes I purchase

First off thank you all developers that provide themes it is obvious a great deal of times goes into developing many if not most of the Themes found here. 99% of the themes offered are graphically awesome much better than I can do and the reason I buy themes here.

My biggest pet peeve or complaint i have with the themes that I have purchased (about 15-20 of them I believe over last 4-5 years), is the amount of work I have to put into discovering how to adjust things via css.

Most times I am incorporating dynamic content into the themes and I find there are just way too many css rules for every little thing done within a theme. I spend days upon days sometimes trying to track down what css code handles basic stuff like buttons, and form related things - field outlines, headings etc. (especially background css setting)

For example Forms - list and buttons seem to always be governed css wise by global css setting. Since I work dynamically in PHP I would like to see the following.

Instead of having to modify pages provided in themes please provide pages using these rules or guidelines.

  1. Use php includes for all menus, headers and footer areas within a theme. As this is the first thing I modify each time I buy a new theme.

  2. Provide stripped down pages that are blank and just need content but outline how a page is set up. i.e. temple_page.php - ( Header include - 1-2-3 or 4 Columns in the main content area - Footer include).

  3. If you’re providing php related forms also include the mysql to create the tables needed.

  4. Provide css layout snippets that can easily be inserted into a layout - i.e. a carousel, tables, Lightbox popups etc…

  5. provide individual css files to include within the templates that are easier to discern what it’s actually being used for - ie, forms.css, layout.css, backgrounds.css, color.css. Remember most of us purchase these themes for 2 main reason.

  • They offer or provide graphic design capabilities beyond that in which we have.

  • They are affordable.

Often times I will not purchase a theme here because I know I will have to spend anywhere from 1-2 weeks trying to figure out the css usage to make modifications I need. I doubt very few people use themes without making any modifications.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions - this all just my 2 cents worth too.

One last thing - all the reviews that Themes get and display on their pages are basically worthless since 99% of them are from other developers selling on the site - reviews from actual users who are verified purchasers of a theme would be much more valuable.


Ad CSS modification: are you using the object inspector when you are trying to override the theme’s CSS? because it sounds like you are trying to backtrack the CSS via source files which is completely wrong approach. If you know your CSS (and it sounds like you do) and can work with the object inspector, then unless the theme’s CSS is a complete mess (like lots of “!important” statements, or not enough classes to compose CSS selectors), it shouldn’t matter how theme’s CSS is written at all. You should be able to create any override in matter of minutes at most.

As for PHP changes, that indeed really depends on how the theme is written. I personally spend a lot of effort to make sure any frontend code in my themes is easily editable via a child theme, but I can imagine that some, maybe even most of the themes are pretty bad in this regard. That is unfortunately not something you can figure out before purchase, so the best advice is to stick to authors who you know create themes with great code. It is definitely trial an error thing.

The fact that you’ve went an extra mile to create this thread is great, but it is naive to think that it will actually inspire authors in any way. You are much better to contact authors of themes you are using and point them to issues you think exists in their themes. Some of them will ignore you, but some may take it more seriously.

Ad reviews: all rating are from the verified purchasers, you can’t rate a theme if you haven’t bought it. Also 99.9% reviews are from end users which have no affection to Envato beyond being buyers here. Sure some other Envato authors buy and rate something here and there, there are also some fake reviews from accounts affiliated to the item’s author (which is of course prohibited and the account and review will be removed if found), but huge majority by FAR is from regular users like you (usually much less tech savvy than you).
That said, reviews should be taken with a grain, as many people can rate 1* for the most petty things or 5* just because they like the design even though the code for example is a total mess (which they may not see if they are not coders). Comments section is usually much more helpful when it comes to general user opinions about the item, you just need to dig deeper.

css being written for most themes is too global in nature. especially as it relates to tables and forms.

Unless it contains “!important” statement, you can always just prefix it with “body” like this:

body table { width: 100%; }

Theme’s CSS would have to be really badly written for this to not work.

But that’s my point I don’t want global setting, only as needed in responsive layout options. And even then it would depend upon what the page was for or doing.

WordPress automatically adds a page specific classes to the body tag, so you can use something like this to target the specific page:

.page-id-1725 table { width: 100%; }

There is always more than one way how to approach stuff like this though.