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I would like to use a 960 grid system master theme to create my own custom Drupal 7 subtheme for generic audience.

What should I consider when designing professionally looking Drupal themes ?

What is the most important when designing with end user experience in mind ?

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All you need is a consistent architecture and good planning. I think getting started on a HTML5 foundation is a good beginning. I suggest you build your project on a subtheme based on Omega or Fusion Theme kits.

Omega has a based on 960 grid system (12,18,24 columns, 20px gutter). It uses the zone/region relationship for a better block handling. Of course is a responsive theme, it starts mobile to desktop (not viceversa) which is very good.

You can even copy Omega subtheme page layout settings, alter it and save it under a new template with Delta module (created by Jake Strawn). Your settings can be then used in various context using the Context Module.

This is a good architecture to start with.

As a UX designer keep in mind Drupal is jQuery and jQuery UI ready, so learn to manipulate widgets via a module or a js (added in your info file).

Keep a consistent architecture and never mess with modules that are not necessary and only bloats your site.

In additional a good knowledge of Views module, contextual filters and relationships is a must.

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  • Thank you for your answer. I think yours is the most complete one. – Refineo Nov 3 '11 at 23:40
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I would highly recommend looking into using Responsive Web Design as suggested here for creating themes for mobile devices. That would be my top suggestion at least: A clean theme that would port easily from one system to the next, e.g. from desktop to phone, would probably be my most installed theme, especially since I am absolutely horrible at theme building.

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  • ^_^ No problem, I realize that it probably wasn't as helpful as others, however I was trying to speak from the perspective of someone who doesn't design worth crap and what my needs typically wind up being. It is difficult to find a theme that 1) works out of the box 2) is compliant to both desktop and mobile applications without installing a separate module, theme, or workaround. – Angel Brighteyes Nov 4 '11 at 0:47
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I think Omega takes a good modern approach to a Drupal Theme, check it out for some inspiration. Omega mixed with Delta and Context is a very powerful combination.

I would also try and use HTML5 and maybe check out the HTML 5 boilerplate

If you are looking at designing polished and finished themes as opposed to a starter theme, some good examples can be found at at the rocket theme demos

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+1 For your answer and +1 for the Accepted answer.

Here's some supplementary material to consider - these would help answer your question as well.

I've favourited your question as I may consider creating an Omega subtheme and I am including my own research here too.

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