Building an Immersive Kingdom with WordPress

Here at WPMayor we like to give you  insights about how WordPress is used by developers around the world. We’ve recently gotten in touch with Troy from Snap Design, who was happy to share with us the whole process behind the building of www.kingdomofpatria.com. We’re sure you will find such an inside view interesting and inspirational for your own projects, and welcome you to leave your comments below. If you’re a designer or developer and would like to share your WordPress experience with us, please get in touch. Now, without further ado, over to Troy: 

A little background…

WordPress site developmentWhen Daniel McInerney (Author of The Kingdom of Patria Stories) contacted Snap Design in the summer of 2011 with a great idea and a great product we stopped as a team and smiled.

We read the first novel and immediately thought of our pre-teen years. Our imaginations ran rapid, and we all knew that we had to get into a brainstorming session, before one of the staff’s heads exploded.

We all got caught up in Daniel’s adventure and pondered: how are we going to showcase this level of talent in a way that will not financially hinder a pre-success project. Many entrepreneurial clients have fixed income so we find cost effective solutions with BIG end results. Daniel is a visionary; he understands the opportunity of self-publishing via online technology. E-publishing sites are becoming quite popular and we were tasked to give him a site that would lead the charge in self online publishing.

WordPress was chosen early on as a platform for his online marketing presence. We wanted to create a “sub-world” to Patria that coincided with the adventures. We wanted characters from the book to talk to the audience and banter back and forth, as well as give their critique on Daniel’s work.

WordPress site development

Of course we wanted the fans to be able to converse directly with the characters’ blogs to further immerse them into Patria. The bread and butter of all of this was that we wanted Daniel to maintain and update it all himself. Snap needed a platform to be customizable enough to utilize our independent coding talents and at the same time allow Daniel to create this sub-world on his own free time (all on a fixed budget).

How it was built

The Kingdom of Patria is the best of both worlds, Art and Technology. We have customized WordPress starting from the base Twenty Eleven theme to what you see online today. The site consists of HTML5, CSS, ColdFusion and custom jQuery applications all running down the yellow brick road with Worpress in harmony.

The site utilizes the standard widget tools along with some WordPress plugins (Really Simple Twitter Plugin and JW player). The Kingdom of Patria was set up with multiple posting pages and unique Category and Author pages, all using different page layouts and elements. The site was customized to pull in unique category posts depending on what page you land on.


WordPress site development

For example, the character Oliver Stoop has a unique bio page which pulls in his unique posts. Daniel, “a-hem … Oliver,” can simply write a post under the user account Oliver and voila! The post shows up in the respective areas of the site i.e. Cast Posts and Posts from Patria.

With a little know-how, WordPress really allows a developer to separate out content and display posts in a unique fashion. This allows you to get creative with how you utilize this powerful CMS. In the case of Kingdom of Patria, Daniel can write short stories, add audio files of his books and post these under ‘Read & Listen Online’.

‘Read and Listen Online’ has now become a hub for users and provides content beyond the books, which is just great added value for the fans. When setup correctly an administrator can hit “Publish” and multiple events are now live and cross referencing, it just works!

How WordPress fits in our projects

We are very proud of the way the project turned out. It is certainly not the most elaborate manipulation of WordPress we have ever seen, nor was it just WordPress alone that is responsible, but with the right developers, designers and programmers behind WordPress you can achieve some pretty amazing things.

In this case it gave Daniel what he needed: a unique online publishing tool with interactivity to connect to the fan base, a site that expands and can be upgraded. It gives him an online voice.

WordPress is a great platform to use, but it does have its drawbacks. Any heavy programming projects involving database queries, searches or e-commerce are doable, but would require extra time. It is not cost effective for us or for our clients when we are facing some heavy lifting programming.

If you want a site that isn’t focused on blogging, custom CMS options are usually a better way to go. Often we will build a blog section of the site, while the rest of the site is custom CMS. And the beautiful thing about WordPress is that it slides right into our design wrappers like a silk glove dipped in WD-40.

One thing is for sure. We are utilizing WordPress technology as much as possible. When using WordPress the only thing holding you back is your imagination.

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About Snap Design

Since 1995, Snap Design has been building strategically designed, customer-oriented Web Systems that are often part of a total marketing and communications service. Secure, custom software powers the interactivity. Visit their website at www.snapdesign.ca for more details.

7 Responses

  1. jzigbe
    jzigbe January 3, 2012 at 15:19 | | Reply

    Yes! The WordPress Twenty Eleven theme is the best starter theme there is. All those “premium” starter themes add unnecessary complications.

    1. Troy Stewart
      Troy Stewart January 3, 2012 at 15:54 | | Reply

      Thanks for the reply jzigbe, we tend to agree with you. Each project we take on is unique, and each client has different needs. While I am not our designer,(that would be Dan!) it turned out really well 🙂

      It was also easy to create due to the books being great, and the illustrations being fantastic as well. We really had a fun time creating this site, and look forward to the Kingdom of Patria growing 🙂

  2. Erik
    Erik January 3, 2012 at 16:20 | | Reply

    I’m a little bit curious how the extras on Olivers (and the other characters) bio page are done (age, height etc). Have you modified the user options page or do you use, for example, a custom post type or a page?

    1. Troy Stewart
      Troy Stewart January 3, 2012 at 20:24 | | Reply

      It simply utilizes the author.php template from the twentyeleven theme and php if statements. The If statement looks for the assigned id to the author and then outputs the respective content.

      PLOP OLIVER STOOPS STATIC BIO INFO ON THE PAGE

      The rest of the template handles drawing in the respective posts of the character (Author).

      So now instead of creating a whole bunch of unique pages and mashing together PHP get statements, we can utilize WordPresses Author template and keep the templates to one!

    2. Troy Stewart
      Troy Stewart January 3, 2012 at 20:35 | | Reply

      Well the post removed the code that I had pasted.

      This should make more sense:

      If the author id is equal to 4

      PLOP OLIVER STOOPS STATIC BIO INFO ON THE PAGE

      end if statement

      1. Erik
        Erik January 4, 2012 at 09:24 | | Reply

        Alright, so the bio info is hardcoded into the author.php then?

        1. Troy Stewart
          Troy Stewart January 4, 2012 at 17:32 | | Reply

          Yes it is.

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