User Experience of Artisteer 3 vol. 1

Alex says: I did it my way! Alright, actually, it is not what Alex says but Alex quotes. I bet you’d never heard it from me, because I always say it in mind.

Ok, this is the first experience sharing post of Alex, just like the very first step that leads to the goal of thousand miles away… I still find it difficult to tell the word “idiom” from “idiot”… alright, don’t beat around the bush. Now, everybody, please welcome, the powerful automatic website and blog theme creator, Artisteer 3!

Artisteer 3 is an idiot product that creates stylish and trendy themes for websites or blogs. With Artisteer 3, you can create themes of different kinds of websites or blogs including application, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla in just a few minutes, even if you do NOT know anything about html, css, php, asp, blah blah blah… The latest version is 3.1, there are two different editions: home and academic edition and standard edition, and the respective price is $49.95 and $129.95 (so expensive!)  For more details, click here to browse its official website. There is a cracked version on the internet, but the process is a little bit complicated; if the mechanism is not fully deceived, you can only export your project as theme scripts but cannot save your project as a .artx file for future modification. Here Alex uses v3.1.0.48375 for demonstration. Alex respects the IP codes and copyright, so will NOT provide any information of the cracked version here. If you really like the application, go purchase a legal license.

Artisteer 3 "About" dialog

The installation is easy, agreement, installation path, viewing update logs, etc. You will come up with a dialog like below:

Artisteer 3 "New" dialog

Let’s start with WordPress for instance. Hit “WordPress” and you will see the main window of Artisteer 3 like this:

Artisteer 3 main window

It is similar to the UI of Microsoft Office 2007 or Microsoft Office 2010, don’t tell me that you’re not familiar with it. Every tab in the Ribbon handles different parts, so let’s get to know the tabs one by one from left to right (actually you just need to go it through from left to right and you can make your own theme, seems like playing stereotype FC game?).

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Ideas" tab

The first tab is “Ideas”.

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Ideas" tab

This is really simple, stupid. The application suggest all parts of the theme to you. Maybe you can see if it can aspire you indeed. A simple click of the the left button can change the whole world… Automation is good?

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Ideas" tab

The big button on the right is Export to WordPress Theme, but I don’t think you can meet your ideal theme so quickly, let’s move on:

And we arrive here: “Colors & Fonts”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Colors & Fonts" tab

Just like that previous tab, the bulb on the left is the suggested style for colors of the whole theme or fonts used in all parts. You can switch color sets using “Color Themes”, tuning colors with “Paints”; and change font sets in “Fonts”, setting the details of fonts one by one using “Typography”. You can see there are different style color sets in “Color Themes”, choose one you like, or choose the closest one and then fine tuning using “Paints”. And then we move on to fonts. I am very picky with fonts and use “Microsoft YaHei” because it has sufficient faces of both simplified and traditional Chinese characters, and the aesthetic features are just fine. It is not perfect, but it is a real good font because it is good for digital publication and printing. (This font is the product of, ok, this is a free ad!) However, if your computer has not this font installed, you cannot see how this font shows and it just shows the default fonts of WordPress, as I just find them good, too. You just need to set the fonts for headings and body text. Also, you can save your font sets if want to. “Typography” is all detailed settings of fonts for the whole site. You can browse to see what will be configured here and you will be able to change the detailed settings in respecting tabs later. Have you got your favorite color themes? Or we just move on and if you change your mind, you can come back here and modify later.

Here we are at “Layout”

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Layout" tab

The first button on the left is “Suggest”. (Again! Tell you what, you will be afraid of those stereotype bulb after mastering this application!) See if you can find your preferred layout by clicking “Suggest”. If not, check the column beside “Suggest”. This tool can change the layout of the whole sheet, including the header, navigating menu, main body of the sheet, footer, etc.

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Layout" tab

The settings are not complicated, but you need to pay attention to the width of the sheet and consider you should use fixed width or flexible width. You can choose either one by dropping down the “Sheet Width” menu. I suggest a flexible width, so that your reader’s devices can calculate the best visible width. Of course, this setting is subject to your design and you know which is better for you.

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Layout" tab

And then we come to the columns, using single column or multi-column just depends on how you design. I will share more experience of columns in my next post User Experience of Artisteer 3 vol. 2.

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Layout" tab

Layout options for blocks is just on the right, you can order your widgets here, or re-order them in WordPress after installing. Let’s move on.

Next tab is “Content”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Content" tab

You have a few options here, but they are quite complicated, just like defining in a real webpage editor, but please be patient to set up them, you don’t want your pages look weird, right?

Next one is “Background”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Background" tab

You can set up the background image/texture/color, gradient, and fashionable light effects. It’s cool, right? Alex likes not these stuff, so, you can’t find some of those effects here.

The next tab is “Sheet”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Sheet" tab

Yes, you must have found some repeated options from “Layout”, now you understand more about the relationship between each part of your theme. I don’t believe you would have any trouble here.

The 7th tab is “Header”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Header" tab

There are quite a lot items to be configured in the “Header” part, because it is an important part you attract your reader, so just make a fancy one. There are lots of background banners, light and gradient effects, and you can also apply fore picture according to your website’s subject. Yes, you can even use flash animation here in the header… Make it more garish splash if you wish… (Alex seems to be not for this kinda style…) Can we move to your headline and slogan now? After entering them you can also modify their style, font size, and position.

The 8th is “Menu”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Menu" tab

I’d like to call it navigator, or navigating menu, the “Layout” column has some function like the “Layout” tab, you can modify it, again, if you like. Just like the “Header” tab, there are lots of preset style and effects, you only need to go from left to right again.

Now we come to the 9th tab, “Blocks”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Blocks" tab

I am sure you will not have any problem here to find your desired design.

The 10th is “Vertical Menu”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Vertical Menu" tab

This menu is one of the most outstanding features of Artisteer, which provides one more menu to you to sort your contents more specifically. This vertical menu can be enabled or disabled in “Widgets” in WordPress. It can show “Pages” or “Categories” by default, but if you wish to use other menu recourse, make sure you have a customized menu, and then choose it after enabling vertical menu in “Widgets”.

The 11th tab, “Buttons”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Buttons" tab

Set up your preferred style and effects for buttons. Alex find some buttons unnecessary, Artisteer 3.1 even omits the “Search” button and just leaves a magnifier in the search box. Neat!

Here we arrive the last tab “Footer”:

Artisteer 3 ribbon "Footer" tab

There are not many items in the footer section, but there are quite a lot options. For example, “Text” may have several appearance. You can also store html or other scripts in “Text”, I will share more in my next post User Experience of Artisteer 3 vol. 2.

Now, if you get everything done, your own theme is not far away from you! Can’t wait to export, right? Go to the quick access toolbar, hit the “Export” tool, and another dialog pops up:

Artisteer 3 "Export" dialog

Yes, you can still change your mind if you want to export to other type of scripts like Joomla or Drupal and so on. Let’s stick to the one for WordPress, name a path, and see if you need to include a .artx file in the .zip file.

Wait a minute, don’t forget to check the options on the bottom right!

Artisteer 3 "Export Options" dialog

An “Export Options” dialog pops up after clicking “Options”, I like setting it this way. As for why now show the homepage, I will share my experience with you later. As mentioned before, you can choose either one of the menu resource, it can be altered in “Widgets” of WordPress after installing. You can set other options according to what you need, and, just some simple clicks before getting your own theme!!!

Alex’s summary: Artisteer is a very simple and stupid theme generating software, and all suggested designs can intelligently styling all preset patterns, and can smartly recognize dark or light color to prevent the fonts sunk into the background. It is easy and handy for personal or commercial blog or websites. Moreover, you are not required to master html, css or other skills before using it, and the fast and efficient productivity is valuable to those small or medium firms that have no IT department and wish to setup a website on the Internet. Alex would like to remind you guys: content is king! Only the content reveals the core value of a blog or website, while the appearance is the polish. What Artisteer can do is to make a theme for you and save your valuable time, so that you can be free to create more better contents! That’s why you should purchase a valid license if you need it!

Below is the link of the theme I am using, if you are too busy to modify, just download it and upload to your own site.

[wpdm_file id=1 title=”true” ]

So, you need anything more? Maybe my next post User Experience of Artisteer 3 vol. 2 can help you. I am planning to release my own Chinese translated string xml file for Chinese Artisteer fans, wow, can’t wait for that…








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