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How I Used Divi To Help Bring Our Most Vivid Memories To Life

Posted on February 7 by in Customer Spotlight | 65 comments

How I Used Divi To Help Bring Our Most Vivid Memories To Life

This post is part of our Customer Spotlight series. If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share your experience with WordPress and Elegant Themes on our blog, please contact us!

From Poultry To Web Development

That’s right. Only 3 months ago I was still working as a hardcore trader for a large poultry exporter here in the Netherlands. Buying, selling, trading meat was part of my daily routine, but the greatest thing was to go back home, usually late at night, so I could get back to work on my internet projects. Before selling chicken, I worked at a postal company, before that I sold printers and desks. All fairly enjoyable jobs, but not at all what I actually wanted to do.

One of my greatest hobbies has always been creating websites. Not for money, not for others, just for fun. But at some point in 2009 I figured it would be great to actually share content and attract visitors. You may or may not know that getting visitors on your website is addicting as hell! Suddenly my gaze went from pure design towards creating content and it didn’t take long until I discovered WordPress and the great selection of free and premium templates that came with it. That definitely saved a lot of time towards creating something new. Several theme designers and marketplaces got my attention, but Elegant Themes has always provided such a high level of quality and support that I have always followed their movements.

Where Were You When..?

Ideas for new internet experiences have always raged through my mind, without much result other than some fairly successful websites over the years, but approximately one year ago it hit me: “Where were you when..?”

It struck me as odd that I couldn’t find any large website that focused on people’s memories of these large events that just get stuck in your mind and I felt it should be my quest to create such a site: “Memstories” was born! Well, conceived, because the actual beta version has only been launched last Tuesday.

This delay of 12 months was mostly due to my inability to accept that I should quit my job and start my own company. You know, the financial crisis and all, it just makes things more complicated. Or does it?

et_strapless-media

Because, when my boss at the poultry company told me that they couldn’t extend my contract in October, it took about two seconds for me to realize that this was the push I needed: I was going to start my own company! The official registration of Strapless Media followed and I could finally work on my websites full-time!

Memstories.com

“Who or what is Memstory?!” you may ask. It’s actually the word for that very detailed memory you have of a couple of key events in your lifetime. Think about it by asking yourself the following questions and trying to remember where you were:

  • Where were you when the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLII of 2008?
  • Where were you when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon?
  • Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell?
  • Where were you when the Twin Towers fell?

Depending on your age, where you live and other randomness, such events get stuck in your brain and you can recollect and visualize a huge number of details as to what happened around you.

Memstories.com is all about these recollections. Sharing your Memstory about key events in our lifetimes and socializing about it (I call it Memstorizing). Usually you have these conversations in the pub or at parties, why not converse about it online!

memstories

Each key event, which can be virtually anything between the year 1900 and today, gets its own page, some quick facts about what happened and four distinct ways to Memstorize. For example:

  • I remember where I was when…
  • I was there…
  • I could have been there…
  • I know someone who was there…

In this way you can even honor your grandfathers legacy by sharing his stories about how he fought during D-Day.

Luckily I had some help from my friend Mike (who owns a company called YearOne) who could help me with the comment system barriers I hit. He made the new system work so that each comment can be styled in a particular way, simply by clicking on one of those Memstorize buttons!

So the plan and functionality for the project was there, now for the design.. I worked with a couple of premium themes from other designers and it just didn’t add up to what I had in mind. The design was either not what I could get used to or the coding was so incredibly heavy that it was just not workable. Especially considering this site will soon attract about a billion daily visitors.

Divi, The Light Of My Life

It’s funny how I had been working with Elegant Themes as an affiliate for all this time, but never actually became a buying member. The selection of themes was already outstanding at the time, but it couldn’t be incorporated the way I wanted to. This all changed in December 2013 when these true geniuses released Divi, the most versatile, beautiful, solid and easy-to-use premium theme I have ever come across. Divi had to be mine and it had to become the new template to finally speed up and finish this slowing project.

Four weeks of tweaking and customizing later, I grew the nuts to finally release a beta version of Memstories.com, which I hope to help grow towards great heights. A large part thanks to the great people at Elegant Themes and the awesome support I have been getting in the support forums. Hats off for them.

65 Comments

  1. I always like reading customer spotlight series coz it inspires me! Memstories is a cool idea! Def going to share :D

  2. Love, love, LOVE Divi. I’ve been putting off creating my own site for a year b/c I’m a designer that struggles with code. Divi is awesome. In a week, it’s helped me look like I actually know what I’m doing. Thanks!

    • Ha, yeah man, I’m in the exact same boat.. Great theme elegant!

      • Me too! awesome!!

  3. Interesting site! I like how you’ve set it up.

  4. Great Share. All the Best, with this interesting concept …

    – The Canadian

  5. Inspiring story — how exciting that you now get to devote yourself full-time to web design! The Memstories website is very attractive and easy to navigate, in addition to being a great idea!

    • Just a quick note: Perhaps in future there could be a way to “edit” one’s comment after posting it on Memstories? I clicked “Submit” too soon, and missed a typo ;)

      • Hi Jamie! Thanks for the kind words. It’s truly great that I can now FINALLY work on the things I love full-time, instead of those late-night hours when you’re tired after a day’s work.

        As for future features: I’m working on a whole lot of extras, including an edit option. There’s going to be a large members section so to make it even more of a social experience.

        If you have any other ideas then please don’t hesitate to let me know! I’m just working on the fly here :D

  6. Awesome site! It’s always nice to see people coming up with creative ideas like this.

  7. Hello Sietse,

    You have a great idea for your web site. However, it does NOT render well with Internet Explorer 8. The Divi theme does not handle IE 8 well.

    IE 8 is the newest version of IE that users with Windows XP can run on their computers. Because it comes installed on their computers when they purchase them a lot of people get used to using Internet Explorer and don’t want to change. I have had a lot of interaction with them over the years and they want my web sites to change – they don’t want to be told to use a modern browser

    . I’ve noticed from my stats on most of my websites that about 20% of my web site visitors as reported by analytics are still running IE 8.

    You should really take a look at the site with IE8 you would be very surprised on how poorly it displays. Half of the graphics are not even showing. No video backgrounds – huge white spaces. Do you really want 20% of your visitors to not being able to see your site? I don’t think so.

    I know Windows XP is not going to be supported after April 2014 but I doubt that all those people with older computers are going to spend the money to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8 so they can upgrade their IE browsers. We are stuck with IE 8 for a few more years at least.

    I wish you luck with your new site, but I would address the issue of Internet Explorer 8. There are coding techniques you can use to help with some of the problems with rendering with that browser.

    • If you want to have a modern looking website, with the beautiful features that CSS3 and HTML5 provide, then it’s difficult if not impossible to make your website look great in older browsers that do not support such features. The alternative is to create a website that adheres to the old standards of IE8, in which case your website is going to look old and tired across your entire spectrum of visitors! At a certain point, older technology must be abandoned in order to move forward.

      • Whilst I agree that in a perfect world Internet Explorer 8 would be a thing of the past, in many cases the choice of browser is not in the hands of the visitor.

        Many companies are still using Windows XP, despite the fact that it is no longer supported. Obviously, this becomes especially problematic if your target audience is in one of the sectors whose I.T. departments move slowly … which sadly includes many larger corporations!!

        Until Windows XP is actually abandoned, we should be aiming to ensure that sites degrade gracefully on older browsers (or are at least usable, even if they don’t look great). This can be achieved by following responsive design patterns … but obviously would lead to more work and therefore more cost.

        My own approach is to create a child theme for Divi and to apply modifications specifically for the problematic browsers.

        Just to re-state my position: I am not condoning the use of old browsers, just recognising the potential worth of those visitors who are.

    • Is it possible to insert some code or plugin to detect IE8 (or older outdated bowers) and recommend to the visitor by means of RED text box if they want to benefit form what Nick has said, for them to use Chrome? or other options.

      Also from stats readily found online, IE8 users are extremely low 3.1%
      (http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_explorer.asp)

      • That’s actually a great idea. I’ll work on that!

      • Here is a plugin that I had the pleasure of helping build that does exactly what you are looking for. Check it out here: http://codecanyon.net/item/warning-old-browser-wordpress-plugin/3287536 The other thing to know is that w3schools reports on THEIR users, not global web users. If you look at other stat compiles you will see IE8 as the global leader at around 25% (depending on who you look at) Read more on that here: http://www.impressivewebs.com/browser-usage-stats/ The problem is that most lower income families can only afford older computers that support older browsers. This is especially true in less privileged nations. If these are not your websites demographic then I wouldn’t worry. My target audience is 35-55 year old males with an average income of 100k+, so I build attractive, easy to use, cutting edge sites using ET themes :-)

        With that being said I do agree with Nick in that you have to at some point abandon the old to make way for the new. That precisely why I helped build that plugin.

    • Charles,
      I just want to make sure you know I’m not here to start anything. While I would normally agree with you about IE and the need to support different browser versions. I am a Computer Techie / Developer / Internet Marketer. So in the past I was all about supporting the legacy applications. However, there are other options that are better than IE8. I understand XP doesn’t support more than IE8, but you have Firefox and Chrome that are not restricted by the OS version, and are much faster than IE8.

      If there is any advice I would give Sieste, it would be to put a disclaimer about his site not showing up correctly in IE8 or below, and recommend downloading newer version, or alternative browsers

      • @ Mo +1 and that’s it! The simple truth as pointed out by Nick is to move on. I know people don’t response to change fast enough. I used divi for a project where I’m working and one of the hardcore developer said the site doesn’t render well in i.e that i should fix that. Though he was also struggling for many weeks on his site he hardcoded from scratch but not on CMS though but the difference is clear when compare with WP+ET. I told him that if the site renders in all modern browsers beautifully, I will simply inform/educate the client and not fiddle css. He said NO! That it is my duty to fix that. I said no problem. Till date, he still battles with browsers accessibility because after fixing i.e 8 on his site, it looks awful in i.e9, and clients are waiting. I told him to inform the client and Mo advise just hit it now!

    • Hi Charles,

      Thanks for the great feedback.

      I’m aware of the IE problems, but I guess the focus should be more on what the future can bring. It’s such a shame that IE has been such a speed bump over the many years that I have been making websites. This is actually the first time that I’m ignoring it completely.

      Are there any specific problems you’re running into that you know how to fix?

    • Twenty years ago I started building my sites out to 960px widths. Sure, at that time 20% or so of visitors were going to have to scroll horizontally to see the content. It dawned on me then and I still believe now that users of IE8 (IE6! etc.) know when sites are displaying poorly, it is most likely due to their computing choices; they accept the ramifications of their choices.

      I’m building a website now to be launched this spring where one can signup and contribute money/expertise, then go out into the world and rescue those souls so helplessly stuck in the past.

    • No offense, but all decent web developers are leaving IE8 behind. Even Google does not support it anymore in their applications.

    • IE8. haha

  8. Great web, i’d like to know how do you set that social buttons on the event page and how did you set the pagination for next and prev event. Thanks

  9. IE 8 support will probably be dropped at the same time Windows XP support is dropped: April 14th, 2014. Moving people from platforms that will be vulnerable to exploits is not harming them, it is helping them.

  10. Wow, this post really inspired me and make want to do two things, 1. Use my Divi theme that I’d abandoned because I couldn’t get the CSS to work the way I wanted; and, 2. Be a part of Memstories immediately!

    Can someone direct me how to better put Divi to good use like this Memstories.com – I couldn’t even find where in the CSS to reduce the height of the slider!

    • Opt in to the support forum and you shall be bless with solutions asap!

  11. Sietse,

    What a great story. I wish you well on your new venture, but don’t forget to keep showing up at the pub! Omitting that as part of your lifestyle could be, well fatal. ; )

    I feel the same about the Divi theme, its flexible and robust functionality along with the support team make all of my ideas possible. All of my support tickets are closed as “Resolved” which says something. Just a bunch of kind and competent people that enable creative types to flex.

    I get a bit weak at the knees anticipating V2… Even a bit of a cold sweat!

    Frank : )

    • same here I can now complete a website without a problem. Divi is the best.

    • Sure won’t forget about that :) every Wednesday it’s pub-night with the guys. They must be getting tired of my Memstories ramblings :D

      The support for Divi is just fantastic, glad you feel the same! And V2…… *shiver!*

  12. Interesting to hear your story Sietse, and really like what you have done with the fantastic Divi theme! Memstories looks like a really intriguing idea, and hope it will be a great success :-)

    I must ask you Sietse, what kind of plugin have you used to get the social share panel in the footer of http://memstories.com/ ? I really liked that one!

    • I can answer that one for Sietse. It is the Ultimate Social Duex plugin and it is available on the Code Canyon site. Here is the URL for $12

      http://codecanyon.net/item/ultimate-social-deux/6556073

      Hope that helps. Interesting the author of the plugin states that it is compatible with IE8.

      • Yup, that’s the one!

        It’s a very light-weight plugin, unlike many alternatives. I haven’t had the time to make something myself yet so this is a great substitute.

        • Cool, I will check it out on CodeCanyon! One thing that bugs me, is that so many floating socials, also like ET´s on the left side here, don´t automaticly disappears when on mobile screens. It´s a pin in the …..to have to scroll up and down to avoid the share bar covering the text . any more having thoughts about that?

          anyway, thanks Charles and Sietse :-)

          • Yeah I know what you mean.. I’m actually really starting to dislike this whole responsive deal and sometimes yearn for the days when you just had to pinch and zoom in a bit, instead of getting a totally distorted version of the website :)

            It works on some levels, but a lot of elements on many websites are just not meant to be watched on a small screen.

  13. Thanks Siestse, you actually inspired me and I love your site!

  14. be sure to add where were you when Jim Morrison of the doors died and where were you when John Lennon was shot.

    • Great suggestions, will add those today and give you a shout!

      • And for the soon to come many norwegian followers; “where were you when Oddvar Brå broke his pole” – a very dramatic sports drama back in WM cross country skiing `82 in Oslo. “where were you when Oddvar Brå broke his pole” has become a typical frase in Norway since then :-)

        • great stuff! You know, at some point I want to make localized versions. I already registered .nl and .de and the Dutch version is slowly kicking off on Facebook (for now no translated version of the site ready yet, but getting there).

          Any others with such ideas are more than welcome to share or even contribute as a beta participant (small reward included)

  15. Great site. Would love to see some more customer showcases of the divi theme.

    How are the ‘highlighted text blocks’ created?

  16. Hi Jonathan, thanks!

    Which text blocks do you mean? The four quick facts?

  17. It’s the blue highlighted text inI

    The human brain has the funny feature that it can store an amazing amount of details ofkey events in our lifetimes. Everyone has such experiencesin life and thinking back, even many years later, can spark the brain to recollect many parts of the event.

    • Ah yes, that’s simply a CSS tweak for H2 text with the tag on the front page.

      This is how I did it:

      .home h3 { line-height: 1.7; }
      .home h3 strong { background: #25a7e1; color: #fff; padding: 4px 6px; }

      • I see it used my “STRONG” tag to make the rest of the comment bold :)

        It’s also the H3 tag instead of H2 hehe.

        So with this CSS code, if you have h3 text on the home page and make certain words bold with the STRONG tag it will make them a different background

  18. Firstly – great site!

    I was hoping you’d be able to share how the 4 quick facts have been created? I love the flat design of your site!

    • Thanks MrM!

      The “quick facts” are a combination between 4 simple text modules, basic CSS and the content is done through custom fields.

      For event (which is simply a Post) I only have to fill out a number of custom fields to populate the entire page (youtube video, summary, 4 quick facts.. I also had Google Maps point to the event’s location, but that slurped up too much loading time).

      Would be glad to point you a bit more in the right direction if you want.

  19. and also one more question – the floating “next event” and “previous event” buttons – is that a plugin?

    Thanks!

    • Yes, it’s a premium plugin called Advanced Post Navigator. Available on CodeCanyon for just 10 bucks!

  20. Divi is simply AWESOME!

  21. Hi Sietse,
    its nice page!
    Please, how did you do that articles grid layout in your categories?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Dave, thanks for the comment!

      Here’s what I did:

      .search article, .archive article {
      width: 30%;
      margin-right: 3%;
      float: left;
      min-height: 290px;
      }

  22. Nice review Sietse Smith . I tell you, I’m loving your blog more each day. I definitely will be featuring you in a blog post very soon.

    • That would be awesome, thank you very much! Don’t forget to let me know when it’s up so I can pay a visit!

  23. Hi Sietse,
    nice site! Did the links “older entries” & “next entries” work by itself or you had to fix them? If so, how? I am having troubles with these when the blog is in grid style, the “next entries” link does not show up.
    Thanks!
    D

    • Do you mean the floating PREV/NEXT post buttons on the far left and right of each event? Or do you mean the pagination for archives?

      If it’s the latter, I haven’t changed anything there yet. Try asking your question in the ET support forums, you’re bound to have a quick answer!

  24. Great site! How did you do those cool mega menus with submenu headers?

  25. Has anyone come up with a patch to make Divi work on IE8?

    I am specifically having issues with double column text > it wraps to one single column. Also, the Search Icon appears the letter “u.” I am assuming the font is not available on IE8.

    Thank you!!

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