Today we will take a step back and see what new stuff the cool kids are building. A quick search on the Themeforest marketplace revealed a cool new minimalist theme called Foundry. It sticks out with it’s few(ish) sales and high ratings.
Foundry is the child of tommusrhodus a power elite author (nice names TF) that has sold over 1+ mil in the marketplace. The number alone is a statement that this will be good and will have a strong word to say in determining the flow of sales. His achievements range from Featured author to community superstar and more.
His portfolio consists of 42 TF items and 1 CodeCanion file, that are worth checking out. He’s got some great stuff for the cheapest buck. One of his files that impressed me is the Waves video bg page template, a well rounded site page template that could use some love in sales.
However, there are some big claims to the theme considering this quote from tomm’s official facebook page:
“If you hadn’t noticed, I’m not great at the whole social media thing, however just wanted to let you all know we have a new theme coming out soon that’s set to beat the pants off most everything at Themeforest currently!”
Well, one thing’s for certain, there is a long road ahead, but I think it’s doable. It’s a long stretch to outperform X or Enfold, but we will see if the theme is as cool as we thought it is, and if it worth the ratings it got.
So the main features that are the selling point of the theme are the Visual Composer, which is Free! as in cherrypie, a regular WooCommerce support, custom PageBuilder templates and snippets and loads of other great stuff like Blog Layouts, Icons, Google Fonts and more…
All these are fine, but one thing that I love is the Concept areas where you get predefined and pre designed styles for your business like: Optician, Capital firm, Architecture and more. There are 15+ concept pages specifically designed and optimized for the actual business.
Let’s take some of the core features and have a look to see what we can find:
I love that a theme author integrates WooCommerce in the builds. It makes building a shop for your business so much easier without needing a third party expensive software, or dealing with the hassle of learning how to integrate an eCommerce feature.
So let’s look at the cart and checkout pages. I know these are WooCommerce but there are some guidelines that you must follow to have a killer shop solution.
Seems like we have all of the regular stuff like Pagination, Cart buttons, a fine CSS3 transition on hover for the product images, strikethrough price for discounts and even a popular items widget on the sidebar with some ratings. This is enough, simple and effective, the author is sticking to the minimalist approach.
One thing I would have loved is to place ratings stars under the price in the grid view.
Product detail page
Ok, so now let’s take a look at the product detail page. A simple designed page with a minimalistic feel that will work just great on any business surface.
There are some things that stick out like the additional images widget which is to close to the hero image. That could be easily improved and it’s not that of a big deal.
One other thing I don’t really like or should I say something that I would have improved is the quantity selector, I would love to see a select with 10 options (1 to 10) so you can quick select the quantity.
The page seem cluttered at one point and I think it’s because of the sidebar. The focus point here would be the product and not the additional categories. The sidebar would have to go and the page would be full width. There is already a option coded for this with no sidebar so I recommend using that for your shop.
Another cool feature I want to talk about is the page concepts feature that Foundry brings to the table. There are 15+ custom pages that range from Optician to App landing page. It’s a cool thing to have if you want your business to get up fast and smooth.
Let’s take a look at some of them in detail.
It features a beautiful hero image, and a intro video with some hero text and tagline. The feature video opens up a modal window that plays the video. I would have loved that when you play the video to play it directly in place of the hero image. That would have been a more immersive way of presenting your content.
The rest of the page is specifically designed with the business in mind, the main feature that “catches your eye” (get it? no? ok) is a nice eye test board with big letters on top and small ones on the bottom. That’s a cool way to present typography and structure the page.
One thing I don’t like is that the side widgets are not equally in height. This can be easily fixed by adding the official Bootstrap equalHeights solution documented here.
The rest of the page is perfectly done with a cart widget doctor info and contact info all right in center to catch your focus as you scroll down the page.
The next speciality page that we will look at is the fitness page. A well defined and all rounded solution for your fitness gym. At a first glance, it looks cool but the highlight color chosen for this will make your eyes bleed after a few minutes so I suggest changing this.
The page features a hero image with some hero text and tagline. Below the page there are some neat features like session booking (it would have been so cool if it was actually implemented and not only for presentation purposes) and a nice and clean weekly schedule block.
The rest of the page is self explanatory. You can have a look here.
Let’s talk a bit about presentation and what it brings to the table. For the presentation we have custom logos, fonts, page builder, parallax backgrounds, one click install demo and more. We will talk about each one separately to see what’s good and what’s bad.
This is a cool feature, and I say this because you are not forced to use your brand logo as a static text, or hacking away in the backend to add it to wordpress. It supports retina also and even the wordpress admin logo for the dashboard can be changed using the super easy to use theme options.
For the fonts, Foundry uses the Google Fonts stack which has over 900+ fonts. Of course the majority of those fonts won’t look good on your site, and you will be stuck with a few of them.
The hero text is done in Raleway a beautiful skinny font that sits just right on the page. And the content is presented using Open Sans. I think that these 2 are enough for your content and adding additional fonts will cause your page to slow down.
If none of these options appeal to you, there is always the collection at Google Fonts that you can choose from, but remember to choose wisely. Here is a nice detailed article on how to choose your web font.
Everybody loves Page Builder, me not so much. I actually prefer hacking it to the point of no return or hardcoding everything, but I guess this is a production ready theme so spending time finding the code you need to change will be a hassle. If you’re not so tech savvy then this is for you. It lets you change and structure things on the fly.
One more thing to add here is that Foundry comes filled with predefined custom blocks specifically made for the pagebuilder so you can customize your environment much faster than before.
To tell you the truth, I’m no fan of this, in fact I hate the idea of something moving without me having an action over it. I know that it looks cool and hip but it becomes impractical if you overdo it.
Here the parralax is barely noticeable on the hero images. You can see on the homepage that the foreground of the image (hero text) moves independently from the background image.
One click install demo
This is a cool feature that the author featured because most of the time, we like the presentation and we want to set it up just like in the demo. That often is much more difficult than it sounds. Here we have a one click install which will set everything up like in the demo so the only thing you will be left to do is customizing the pages and the build.
That is for the presentation, there are far more features on the build that are cool and nice but we won’t get into detail here. I will let you discover the rest of them on the TF feature page or after you buy the template.
Performance and responsive design
First off I want to have a look at the performance of the build, then we will have a look on how the content is presented in a mobile environment. I’m not that interested on the specifics of the code like variables, best practices and so forth because the theme has undergone a few acceptance tests by the TF admins so no point in going there.
The reason behind this is that we would like a near perfect optimization of the build before production, nobody wants a slow site so if we can squeeze even the last drop of performance it’s worth it.
Ok, so first we’ll have a look at desktop and mobile performance using Page Speed Insights. You can check your own site for performance blockers here.
So for the desktop, the results are not ok, the page scored 36/100 which is a low number for today’s standards. There should be improvements made first to the images which are not optimized, then minifications and caching.
For mobile the score was a little higher, some of the things worth fixing are the elimination of render-blocking Js and CSS in the above the fold content and images (adaptive images), also all of the stuff from desktop as well like js minification, concatenation, caching and so forth.
To a surprise, the theme scored 99/100 for UX which is good to have something in the green :).
In gaming, we stride to achieve in-between 60-100 fps for our need, in web-apps we only need 60 so that the animations look crispy clean and smooth. Here is a nice article detailing why is it good to have 60fps animations.
Now I want to look if the app has a silky-smooth 60fps on various elements on the page that present animation.
I’ve made the test using my Nexus 5 with the Chrome dev tools FPS meter on, so the max frames per scroll were 23-24, which is very low. This means that the composite layer and painting is taking a long time.
Let’s take a closer look to see what is up.
Just as I suspected, the build and scroll look cluttered and has a lot of jank. Besides that most of the frames are below 30 fps which is not good. The scrolling on the actual device looks laggy and should be improved.
Ok, let’s see some responsive view. Since the build uses Bootstrap, I won’t look in detail on the page, as I know the theme was accepted. There are some minor bugs that I would like to see fixed like double borders on the main navigation opened state.
There is a serious problem on the optician page, the menu, play button and everything else in the hero area is overlapping. I think a next update will have to address these issues.
Also below the page, some blocks need alignments.
I haven’t found any major issues beyond this so this is not concerning. Having a good experience on mobile is mandatory nowadays so if you are not that tech savvy and like to fix things by yourself drop a line to the author on the TF comments section or the support forum to fix these issues.
For my conclusion, this is a overall very nice theme that will help you in the long run. A great design, awesome features and as I understood good support. I recommend you to buy this if you are looking for a minimalist wp theme to skyrocket your next business project.
It looks like this will show some of the old timers it’s broad shoulders, and I expect high sales and ratings.