I’d been feeling a bit nonplussed for some time by the fact that I was using the WordPress default theme for the blog. But not nonplussed enough to actually do anything about it: I have other ways in which I’d generally prefer to use my limited free time, I don’t have strong design skills or a stack of photos lying around to select a header picture from, and whenever I browsed theme directories, I always found something to dislike in any theme that I saw. So I stuck with the default, with a few slight tweaks.

Over the last few months, though, I’ve run across more and more blogs and other web pages which took a very plain approach to layout. This is something I understand: I’ve read thousands of books that take that approach, why not use it on the web? So, last night, when I ran across one such blog that was using WordPress, I scrolled down to the bottom to see what theme it was using, and took a look.

The theme was basic2col. It’s a very plain theme; as the author says, “Basic2Col is just what it says – a basic two column theme for WordPress. The theme was created to have a basis for a new theme, but you can of course use it as is.” And I rather liked it as is, so I decided to download it today and give it a try.

After giving it more of a look, there were a few things I wasn’t thrilled about. Most notably, it sets the font size in the body to 70%. This is something that I see all the time, and I never understand: as a web user with aging eyes, I like to set the default font size in my browser to something that’s comfortable to me. So why do so many web pages feel compelled to disregard my preference? And, of course, they almost always override it to make the font smaller instead of bigger. Kids these days.

Fortunately, as mentioned above, the theme is designed to be customizable: in fact, the download page also contains a “customb2c” wrapper that lets you segregate your changes in separate files, for ease of upgrading. So one

body {
  font-size: 100%;

later I was off and running. As a bonus, that also made the body wider, which was another thing that had bothered be about the original design.

I did a bit more poking around: I increased the margins here and there, I did some header bolding to give a bit more of a visual separation between posts, and I changed the sidebar a bit. But I mostly left it as-is, and I was pleased with how easy it was to do the tweaking I wanted.

Yours in simplicity,

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