Storm HTML and WordPress Theme Review

Review of: Storm Theme
Price:
40

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On November 20, 2013
Last modified:November 20, 2013

Summary:

Stormmain
Summary

Storm has quite an offer for those of you who want to show off your media in a stunning full screen background.  Created by ThemeCatcher, Storm comes in the HTML and WordPress versions respectively with the latter being the most updated and most purchased.  Its primary focus is your content on the background of the webpage, but is also a great choice to show your video and audio work as well.  The Storm theme comes with a fully customized control panel and supports video streams from YouTube and Vimeo.  And lastly, the theme comes complete with Quform, a ThemeCatcher built form building plugin that specializes in streamlining programming-free form development.


Designer’s Opinion

I like the Storm theme layout somewhat, mostly because it reminds me of the Web 2.0 era cerca 2009 with the transparency and rounded edging that came with that period. And of course I still take a liking to the black and dark greys with a single color contrast.  Though if not for the explanation given on the Storm theme’s webpage on Themeforest I would point out that the background sort of makes things busy.  Mainly because it’s transition between pictures is too fast and becomes a distraction even with the playback controls on the footer.  And then there is the width of the page, I feel like I am back in the early 2000’s where 768 pixels was mandatory, but there is no reason why the body of the Storm theme has to be so small apart from the given excuse of showcasing the images behind it.

Quirks as of November 18, 2013:

The UI is difference between versions – A minor quirk and mostly a personal opinion, but there are slight changed to the user interface between the HTML and WordPress version.  For example, on the HTML version you are given an option to hide the UI on the main navigation.  This in the WordPress version is moved down from the main navigation to the footer navigation next to the playback button.  I understand why moved it, but it seems as though they want to keep the buyers focused on the WordPress version.  It would probably be better to just remove the HTML template if that is the case.


Highlights

Stormintro

Intro Homepage

The intro homepage option of the Storm theme is a simple display of the background.  It is more or less the main page without the top navigation and is instead replaced with a skip intro button.

 

Stormvideo

Video Background in HD and SD

A nice feature that comes with the Storm theme is its full screen video background display in either high definition or standard definition.  There are very minimal controls for the background play back which are all located at the bottom and replace the normal background controls with a pause/play and mute/unmute button.

 

Stormaudio

Audio Background

The Storm theme comes with an option to implement a very limited audio playback.  There isn’t much of a visual difference from the default homepage.  The audio playback controls are at the bottom next to the background controls, and they are a simple pause/play and mute/unmute button with no variable control to speak of.

 

Stormblog

Blog with Variable Columns display

The blog layout of the Storm theme comes in many different column layouts that go up to six columns.  This setup is easily built with the use of shortcodes at hand.


Portfolio Layout

Stormfullport

Full Screen Portfolio with Variable Column Display

Of the three portfolios that come with the Storm theme, two of them comes with similar options to the blog with respect to the variable column controls.  The major difference is defined by the way the pictures are displayed one you select an image up close.  The full screen portfolio does just that by displaying each image at the full height and width of the browser.

 

Stormfancyport

FancyBox Portfolio with Variable Column Display

FancyBox is another Storm theme portfolio option with variable control over the number columns you can display on a page.   The difference is one you click on an image you are given a different method of viewing the individual pictures.  In this case the images are displayed with similarities to a light box jQuery plugin when the picture dead center and the background dimmed.

 

Stormgalleriaport

Galleria

The last portfolio option in the Storm theme is the galleria.  The galleria is a straight forward layout that displays all the pictures via thumbnail with no text with a large viewer above the group of pictures. Once clicked, the individual image display is similar to a light box.


Features
HTML Template

•    Full screen background
•    Custom full screen gallery
•    25 gallery/portfolio styles
•    Bonus Ajax version – see here for preview
•    Transparent content areas to make the most of your backgrounds
•    Extensive documentation
•    Background switcher controls allow the user to change background image which is saved across pages
•    Smart background preloading for improved user experience
•    Minimise button to show background only
•    Multiple page styles
•    Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict
•    Works in all major browsers
•    Multi language UTF-8 ready
•    Background maintains aspect ratio at any resolution
•    Our popular Quform Ajax contact form included
5 amazing galleries with 6 layout options:
•    Full screen
•    Colorbox
•    Pretty photo
•    Fancybox
•    Galleria
The full screen background and custom full screen gallery have been designed to look great in most screen resolutions by automatically resizing the image to fit within the browser window. The images are cleverly pre-loaded to reduce loading time when switching between images.

WordPress Template

•    Full screen background images and slide show
•    YouTube and Vimeo video background
•    Audio background music
•    Quform plugin included
•    25 gallery/portfolio styles
•    Transparent content areas to make the most of your backgrounds
•    Background slideshow with control buttons
•    Smart background preloading for improved user experience
•    Full screen button to show background image only
•    Background maintains aspect ratio at any resolution
•    Includes a new simplistic landing page
•    Image and video overlay styles
•    45+ shortcodes with builder UI
•    9 theme widgets + 2 Quform widgets
•    Post format support
•    Multiple page styles
•    Valid HTML5
•    Works in all major browsers
•    Translation ready
•    Fully compatible with WordPress 3.3 or later
3 amazing galleries with a choice of 7 of layouts
•    Full screen
•    FancyBox
•    Galleria


Price
HTML Template
Regular License: $15

WordPress Template
Regular License: $40

It is strongly recommended to get the WordPress version, if not for a better user interface then certainly for customization.   But is it worth $40? No it is not, on the basis that the design of the Storm theme is not really up-to-date.  The layout is too narrow with respect to modern design and Themeforest standards and gives off the appearance that ThemeCatcher simply copy pasted their layout from HTML to WordPress without considering a wider design.  This is even more obvious when you realize the Storm theme is not responsive at all.  And most likely the reason for the $40 price tag is because of the features and the ThemeCatcher’s elite status on Themeforest.


Conclusion

The Storm theme had an interesting idea but sadly it wasn’t fully realized when it came to WordPress.  It lacks so many aesthetic factors that are now considered standard for WordPress themes on Themeforest. And it’s not like the Theme couldn’t be updated.  While the HTML template was published back in 2012, the WordPress version was Published in 2013 which means ThemeCatcher had a whole year to put more effort is improving aesthetics.  Then again, this was their first WordPress theme on Themeforest while the rest of their creations are HTML templates and plugins.  So it is likely that this was just an attempt to get into that particular market, but it didn’t really pan out as their purchases for the Storm theme would suggest.

2013 Blogrid