It’s been a couple of years since cStreet Campaigns designed and released Publish, a public theme available from NationBuilder. That theme was intended to be used by bloggers and writers, a blind spot in the ecosystem that we hoped to fill after working with clients like Press Progress and The New Civil Rights Movement (NCRM) who were looking to blend news and activism. We didn’t know then how popular Publish would become but we’ve seen a lot of exciting groups use the theme to do incredible things.
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Last summer, we began our second collaboration with NationBuilder. Action is, in a sense, the embodiment of what we pride ourselves on: complex themes with a dead simple aesthetic. We’ve taken the lessons learned from building dozens of themes for clients over the past 4 years and folded them into this project. Our intention is to use all the out-of-the-box tools of NationBuilder in a flexible and exciting new way. Here are some of the features of the new theme:
The “header image” in the site settings activates a splash page that users see the first time they come to the site.
The featured content slider is designed to be easy for small organizations to make look great. Instead of having to have enormous hero images with awkward overlay text, the image and text sit side by side. If you don’t have text at all then the image becomes full width. To get that impactful header look, the “background image” in your site setting become the background to the featured content slider when activated.
The homepage widgets have a simplified design. The action-oriented widgets like petitions and volunteer forms are also simplified, with the forms themselves popping up in modal windows. The result is a truly mobile first design, with each widget like a card on the page.
The supporter nav is a dropdown in the top navigation available to logged-in people only. By default it includes “log out” and “settings” links as well as shortcuts to the backend for logged in admins.
The top navigation includes by default a “donate” button when you have a default donation page assigned in the backend, an oft-requested feature from NationBuilder clients.
The blog and suggestion pages have a card-based design with cards for each blog post. For the sake of simplicity, the cards simply have a headline and click through to a full post. This allows organizations that don’t post often to have blogs that are not stale with old backdated posts. If you add an image to the social media settings, it also shows up here as a background to the card.
We also created “squeeze” pages which are pages without a header or footer, optimized for conversion. You can use these for campaigning or advertising landing pages.
Action comes in 5 colour variations including one in black and white, but if you’re looking to customize it, the way we’ve seen a lot of people customize Publish, then we’ve tried to keep the CSS clean and well annotated. We hope you’ll enjoy developing with it as we have!
We haven’t provided an exhaustive list here of all of the small design features and details, but have a look around and let us know what you think in the comments below!