If responsive web design is defined as the art of developing websites sites in order to provide an optimal viewing experience with minimal resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices, then Circles Retina responsive multi-purpose theme can only be described as the most convenient way to accomplish this goal. There are so many easy to use “point and click” design choices available within this theme, it is eerily intimidating and begs the question, “Why does anyone really need a web designer?”
Four main page layouts, three different header styles, eighteen blog variations, parallax scrolling, and a number of pre designed ready made content pages barely scratches the surface of what this theme has to offer. It is a power packed fully customizable Retina WordPress theme created by ThemeSmack and is currently available for purchase on ThemeForest.
With features like calls to action, teasers, testimonials, promotional boxes and tons of shortcodes, what is not to like about this theme? Not much, I hate to admit. In fact, the Circles theme has so many fabulous design options available, you might end up spending a great deal of your time playing with the theme instead of creating your site. Overall, it is a clean, responsive, colorful and effortless scrolling theme that provides impressively fast performance. Integrated with social media and completely SEO ready, it is a excellent choice for today’s modern web designers. Perfect for mobile viewing,with cross browser compatibility, it also has the ability to create unlimited parallax scrolling backgrounds. Technologically speaking, this is its biggest and most valuable feature, but certainly not the most desirable.
The main highlight of this theme is a handy custom page builder that compliments the pre designed ready made pages and templates. This page builder is so easy to use and understand, the developer’s boast that you will not need to read the documentation in order to use it. I have to agree, it is pretty straightforward, you simply click on the option, choose the desired item and add it to the page to achieve the desired results.
When using mobile type devices, displaying images properly in posts and pages is much more effective with the use of animation because it often takes time for the entire page to load and come together. Circle’s developers pulled out all the stops when including this dynamic feature as part of the theme. The images flow naturally from the left or right, scroll up and down and even fade in or out in order to fill the viewing area of the post or page quite adequately.
Following the lead of popular social media platforms like Pinterest and Google plus, the theme provides a variety of different image and post display options that gives the theme a familiar look and feel. My personal favorites include the circular promotional boxes and the boxed blog template.
The Circles theme has three blog templates that display featured posts in very distinct formats including large view, thumbnail view or boxed style, however there are over 18 different design variations when you consider the fact that each of these can be used to display text, images, videos, galleries, sliders and/or a combination thereof. The content area is neatly spaced with simple typography and menus, but there are of course a multitude of design options and shortcodes for designers wanting to create a more personal touch.
The widget area is rather plain and unassuming, but the full width twitter footer widget adds a surprisingly nice touch.
As you can see in the images above, the author display closely resembles the circular profile images in Google Plus and is most likely the inspiration for the theme’s name.
Sadly, the most lack lustre part of this theme happens to be the portfolio section. The three available choices for displaying portfolios are boring in comparison to the rest of the theme design and they do not offer much in the way of customization. Like most portfolio displays, they offer a convenient way to group media and showcase your recent work however, the ones included in this theme do not really enhance the design in any significant way, they only display the content in 2, 3 or 4 column views.
For novice users they would be considered sufficient enough to use, but for advanced users wanting to showcases large amounts of visual content, they simply will not do. In this particular instance, using the page builder might prove to be a bit more effective.
Full list of Features:
- 4 Main Layout Preferences (1170px Full-Width, 1170px Boxed, 960px Full-Width, 960px Boxed)
- 18 Blog Variations
- 3 Header Designs
- 3 Portfolio Templates
- Amazing Page Builder & Shortcodes Manager & Shortcodes Pack
- Easy Installation & Super Easy to Use
- Built with HTML5 and CSS3
- Unlimited Colors
- One-Click Install
- Responsive layout
- SEO Ready
- Built-In Translations on Theme Options Panel
- Translation ready
- WooCommerce Support
- Lots of different premium features and plugins
- Sortable Layout
- Lots of Custom Pages
- Pricing tables
- Photo Gallery Variations
- Google Fonts support (500+)
- Dynamic PHP Contact form
- Built-in Prettyphoto Lightbox with autopopup
- Built in styles
- Lots of Useful Shortcodes
This design is so easy and quick to use and set up, even a first time or novice designer could create beautiful rich responsive websites and for a small investment of 55$, I think this design is a valuable resource in any designer’s toolkit.
Less is definitely more when it comes to the Circles Retina responsive multi-purpose theme and while it does offer a huge amount of customizable display options and other nifty bonus features, it is not what I would consider to be a high definition image ready theme for video blogging or displaying huge amounts of image rich content. What it is, is a simple clean effective theme that can be used for designing a huge variety of modern Web 2.o websites.