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Self-made HTML5/CSS3 template. Looking for feedback, please.


Sorry for asking for help before contributing to this community first, but I'm desperately looking for help.

Thanks to Treehouse, I was able to improve my web design skills and I'm planning to become a full-time theme and template author. I've been working very hard for 2 months on my first HTML5/CSS3 template, which got rejected twice at ThemeForest. Unfortunately, the reviewers don't provide any kind of feedback.

I'd be more than thankful if someone can kindly provide any feedback about possible reasons why the template was rejected and what I can improve to finally get my template approved.

I've spent too many sleepless nights and cans of Red Bull to get this template done, so I can't let it go.

You can view a preview of the template at http://dev.vibergy.com/elvado/

Thank you very much in advance! Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

14 Answers

Robert Niemczewski
Robert Niemczewski
4,560 Points

Honestly man,

I like it a lot, and in my opinion you did a very good job! Also, it is responsive and everything is nicely collaborated.

I have no idea why would it be rejected... anyone else?

They are changing there criteria for themes so check up on the latest terms and conditions. If not can't you ask them to at least tell you why? Seems a bit crappy customer service otherwise.

Thanks for the kind words, Robert, it's encouraging.

Suleiman, the terms have changed just for the themes. I only have a site template, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. I've asked the reviewer at least to sum his decision up in one sentence, but still got a canned reply:

The overall quality of your submission does not meet our aesthetic and technical requirements and will need to be improved before being resubmitted. Unfortunately we’re not able to provide more specific feedback for your submission at this time. Please consider taking some time to familiarise yourself with our current library and quality levels of popular items before resubmitting.

I am quite disappointed about their customer service, but I also don't consider quitting an option yet - not after so much work.

Robert Niemczewski
Robert Niemczewski
4,560 Points

Dont quit !!

If you can find any ways to improve it, and then they acccept it - you will feel like a boss!

Go fo it!

Don't quit, the design is nice. Maybe it doesn't have enough flat design for their liking :P Worse case scenerio try somewhere else like creativemarket.com

Thanks for the encouragement guys, I appreciate it! I'll take 2 days off to get a clear mind and then work on it until it gets accepted. I'm sure it'll be an amazing feeling if it gets approved after this long and bumpy ride.

I had a look at other marketplaces, but their sales are much slower than at TF. I've heard that at MOJO Themes (ThemeForest competitor), some themes spend weeks on the front page and hardly make sales.


You learned all that at Treehouse? Great job!

I don't know why they rejected this theme. It's responsive and visually appealing. Maybe you can sell it on your personal site or submit to another theme seller. I'm sure they will accept your submission eventually if you keep up the great work on creating new modern themes.

Thanks! I already had some amateur HTML4/CSS2 skills in the past, but Treehouse made me curious for more. The Treehouse courses helped me a lot by filling the gaps I had. I also read some books and tutorials that complemented what I've learnt at Treehouse: Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug The Web Designers Idea Book by Patrick McNeal webdesign.tutsplus.com

Selling the template somewhere else wouldn't be worth it. ThemeForest have a huge customer base and all competitors are far behind them. I think this is the only place where I see this template getting a fair number of sales (hopefully).

Michael Choate
Michael Choate
Courses Plus Student 3,528 Points

Hi Emanuel,

First off, kudos to you for throwing yourself into a competitive situation such as templates!

Overall, I like it. It's crisp and seems to behave well. My only thought is maybe it needs to be "tightened up" a bit. Some of your nice looking elements look a little "large." Does that make sense?

Then again, if bold is what you're going for then who cares what I think :-)

First of all, you should be proud! This is a very fleshed out and well polished template. There are a few things that I think could be improved upon.

  1. Some of the animations are a little slow. It makes it feel laggy and takes away from the smooth feeling that transitions and animation are supposed to provide the user. Specifically, the section for our specialities. The in-out loop that it does feels really slow and honestly, maybe just having scale larger on hover would be a better solution? The constant pulsing is pretty distracting and could be a problem if the user is trying to focus on that specific element and read the content.

  2. The home page is pretty full. There just seems to be a lot of information on that single page. Maybe it could be broken up into smaller chunks to seem less cluttered.

Overall, it's great! It definitely has a lot of the typical elements that templates on Theme Forest usually have. I think you did a great job and should definitely not give up.

Evan Leopold
Evan Leopold
Courses Plus Student 10,420 Points

Visually your template is on par with themes I have checked out on Themeforest. That said however, I do not think you need to animate everything. There is a lot going on in some of your pages (like the home page) and it is causing some areas to feel "laggy". Also no one has mentioned that perhaps the reason your theme was not accepted has more to do with the underlying code, than the visual style. (If you haven't already) I would do W3 checks on your source, ensure that you are adhering to current "best practices", and check compatibility with older browsers. Any time I have purchased anything the code has been very clean, well documented, and backwards compatible to at least IE8.

Thanks again for the feedback folks! :-)

I took a little time off to get a fresh view and I have to agree with most suggestions. I'm already back at work and changed a few stuff. It's a huge challenge to build a feature-rich template, but keep it simple at the same time.

As Evan already said, I think one of the main reasons why I got rejected was the zombie browser support. I've installed a Windows XP virtual machine with IE8 and the template looked quite messed up. I've been working 3 days just to fix the IE8 compatibility. Now I totally understand why all developers hate IE so much! As an ex IE user and fan, now I wish this browser would die!

I'll be back in a few days with a preview.

It's almost done! The template is now fully IE8+ compatible, I've changed the colors, migrated to Bootstrap 3, removed the excessive animations, and improved the sidebars, footer and some other elements.

Now I just need to add a few more pages (blog posts, portfolio items, about us page, etc.) and some alternative headers to give the users more options.

What do you think of these changes so far? I plan to re-submit the template tomorrow.

PREVIEW: http://dev.vibergy.com/elvado/index.html

Evan Leopold
Evan Leopold
Courses Plus Student 10,420 Points

I like what you have done to the template. I noticed a couple things though:

  1. The page (at least in Chrome) has a bit of horizontal content overflow around 770px browser width on any pages with breadcrumb navigation in the header. Perhaps add some padding to those elements or using overflow-x: hidden on the body.
  2. There is a 404 error for a "jquery-1.10.2.min.map" file on every page
  3. You load all of your js files on everypage, perhaps only load the ones you need to help with page load times and performance
  4. On the main landing page, when the navigation is not fixed, there is a white bar with a inset drop shadow that remains fixed across the top of the page and flows over the slider as you scroll down. Not really sure what is causing it.
  5. This is a semantics thing, but I would be careful using the term responsive for your template because technically it is only responsive below 768px window widths, above that it is adaptive.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your submission!

Thanks for taking your time to test all this stuff and for the kind words, Evan! :-)

Everything you've mentioned is now fixed (thus the delay). I'll try my luck tomorrow morning and let you guys know how it went.

Unfortunately, the template got hard rejected again without any concrete explanation (same as before). I'm starting to seriously have doubts about my skills...

If someone has any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them. Otherwise, I think I'll cut my losses and move on. I'll either start a new template from scratch, or start knocking on doors again for traditional web design.

Here's the preview link again: http://dev.vibergy.com/elvado/


Evan Leopold
Evan Leopold
Courses Plus Student 10,420 Points

I like the changes you have made to Elvado since I last saw it. Don't give up. Or at least find a client and use your theme for their site.

Simon Vrachliotis
Simon Vrachliotis
10,760 Points

Did you end up accepted on TF? I remember hitting the hard reject phase with a lot of doubts on my first template.

My next three got approved on the first try!

Don't give up, if you're still fighting!