Love ‘em or hate ‘em, WordPress default subject matters are vital.They get mechanically put in on each and every upgraded and new WordPress web site, gaining huge publicity.

For 2014, WordPress have damaged clear of earlier defaults to supply a theme for a selected use, particularly magazines. And now not simply any mag theme however a “stunning mag theme”.

And it indisputably is gorgeous. However if you wish to use the theme you’re additionally going to must deal with its flaws.

Screenshot of a TwentyFourteen home page
The brand new WordPress default theme is gorgeous however has some important flaws

TwentyFourteen is formally “a beautiful magazine theme“. A daring declare however there’s for sure that visually it packs a a ways larger punch than the impartial TwentyTwelve and appears a ways higher than any of its predecessors, specific the quirky TwentyThirteen.

For those who haven’t noticed it, go to the demo site now and spend 5 mins taking part in with it.

Proceed studying, or bounce forward the use of those hyperlinks:

Nuts and Bolts: TwentyFourteen Theme

The format of TwentyFourteen is a straightforward header, left-hand sidebar and footer configuration with an not obligatory right-hand sidebar that aligns itself with the content material. The skinny header is mounted and completely visual.

The colour-scheme is black, white and inexperienced and the web site uses the Lato font from Google.

Screenshot of the featured content options
Featured Content material drives
the slider and grid

The theme customizations are just about the similar as all different subject matters with the addition of the Featured Content material serve as which permits content material to be featured at the house web page in both a slider or a grid. Content material is chosen both by way of specifying a tag or by way of making the content material “sticky”.

There are two menu places, one within the header and one within the left-hand sidebar and 3 widgetized spaces – Number one Sidebar, Content material Sidebar and Footer Space. The footer lets in for limitless widgets to be added however the 4 is perfect. 

The theme supplies an extra widget to the usual record: TwentyFourteen Ephemera. That is in truth relatively an invaluable widget and is used widely within the Content material Sidebar within the demo however is let down slightly by way of offering no choices to regulate the output.

Scressnshot of the ephemera widget
The brand new ephemera widget is an invaluable addition

What’s Excellent About TwentyFourteen

There’s a lot to be admired about this theme:

Screenshot showing menu and featured content in grid
Nice use of fonts implies that even white textual content on a black appears to be like just right!
  • Colour scheme – regardless of reservations of black backgrounds, the black, white and inexperienced aggregate works. The liberal use of white-space within the layouts is helping significantly
  • Typography is very good right through, with transparent, crisp, professional-looking fonts that paintings effectively even if displayed as white textual content on a black background (now not my favorite aggregate)
  • Photographs additionally glance just right, specifically the huge featured pictures at the publish pages
  • Styling at the tags – they seem like tags developing an immediate visible cue
  • Screenshot of post and tag navigation in a post footer
    Tags that seem like tags
    And easy efficient publish

    Put up navigation styling – merely stacking the navigation is far cleaner and aesthetically gratifying than the standard left and correct alignment

  • Put up metadata styling – sensible icons paintings effectively with the capitalized textual content
  • Fly-out menus paintings effectively within the left-hand margin and once more the white textual content at the inexperienced background is unusually efficient
  • Featured symbol grid – extremely efficient and easy mechanism for highlighting posts
  • Ephemera widget – this may well be much more helpful if only some extra choices had been to be had
  • Seek habits – while it’s arguable whether or not a person will have to be made to click on to expose a seek enter field, I do just like the textbox showing beneath the quest icon relatively the hot stressful development of showing a textbox subsequent to the quest icon

However There Are Drawbacks

Now and then the sweetness is simplest pores and skin deep and the theme isn’t with out its flaws:

  • Screenshot of fly-out menu outside of page boundary
    Menus can fly-out of the web page limitations

    Slider – must have massive pictures (larger than 800px) to paintings correctly on desktop which would possibly make the use of the theme on an current web site tricky

  • Slider – doesn’t have autoplay capability!
  • Grid – would really like in an effort to specify the configuration of the grid (i.e. choice of pictures in keeping with row) relatively than leaving it to the responsive design
  • Featured Content material does now not strengthen customized publish sorts – simplest posts are decided on even supposing the customized publish kind helps the Tags taxonomy
  • Fly-out menus can’t be used for the right-most choices within the height menu another way they “fly” out of doors of the limits of the web page
  • Content material sidebar is implemented to all content material – if you need it at the house web page you get it on all posts and pages (even supposing on pages you’ll make a selection the full-width template to take away the sidebar*)
  • Massive hole on the height of the “inside” pages – that is to house the quest bar however I’m now not certain why it couldn’t have overlayed the quest enter because it does at the house web page
  • Mounted max-width design however left-aligned relatively than focused
  • Header is relatively brief – becoming a tight sized brand in there would possibly end up difficult!
  • House web page – When record posts and the use of the grid, the featured symbol of the primary publish is fights for consideration with the grid
Screenshot of the home page with a grid and featured image
The featured symbol of a publish record is actual eyeball pageant for the grid

Tangent : Why Don’t Posts Have Templates?

While this isn’t particular to TwentyFourteen it did crop up while I used to be taking part in with the Content material Sidebar and hiding it on pages by way of settling on the full-width template.

Why doesn’t WordPress permit for Put up Templates love it does for Web page Templates? It will be truly helpful in an effort to choose templates for exhibiting posts in precisely the similar means as with pages and but that is recently simplest conceivable by way of plugins.  A feature-request for TwentyFifteen, possibly?

TwentyFourteen Theme Responsiveness

Again to TwentyFourteen. It’s, naturally, a responsive theme however how effectively does it reply and what possible choices does it make? You may ask why will we care so long as it responds however how the web site responds to non-desktop shows would possibly affect in your content material choices.


Screenshot of the slider homepage next to a grid homepage
Slider is arguably a more sensible choice for a pill house web page

In responding to pill shows, the theme hides the highest menu, changing it with the usual three-bar menu icon. Clicking at the icon, unearths the menu thru a elementary increase and isn’t as efficient or as aesthetically-pleasing as the quest enter textbox overlay expose.

The grid responds seamlessly, reconfiguring itself to be two pictures however you want to needless to say in panorama simplest 4 pictures will likely be to be had, in portrait mode a customer will see six however this is all.

The content material appears to be like nice, with the typography and massive function pictures excelling at the smaller display screen and making the studying enjoy an actual excitement.

There are 3 problems regardless that, all brought about by way of the shifting of the left-hand sidebar to between the content material and the footer.

Originally, the efficient disappearance of the sidebar implies that the menu within the height bar might be the place customers cross searching for navigation. This nearly forces you to make use of that top-menu because the web site’s major navigation which now not simplest reduces your choices however might also in finding you operating into the fly-out factor highlighted up to now.

Secondly, shifting the left-hand sidebar totally adjustments its context when shifting between gadgets (once more now not a subject matter confined to TwentyFourteen). At the desktop, it’s crucial piece of actual property (all of us be mindful our ‘F’ reading patterns) so content material is picked accordingly, however transfer it to the footer and that content material appears to be like decidedly misplaced.

Thirdly, with the web site’s tagline residing within the left-hand sidebar, it’s now not instantly visual to pill customers because of this that new customers will simplest have the web site’s name and the 4 or six featured pictures (or only a unmarried symbol in the event you go for the slider) to resolve the aim and usability of the web site. That moves me as being relatively a job.

An answer can be to cover the left-hand sidebar altogether and for the menu icon at the height bar to slide-in a selected sidebar (or on the very least the left-sidebar) permitting the web site proprietor to made up our minds what will get published on clicking the icon. This can be a methodology that works effectively on pills and is turning into extra prevalent. It’s unexpected that TwentyFourteen didn’t additionally take this trail.


Screenshot of a menu on mobile
Huge menus may
take in greater than
one display screen on a cellular

As with the pills, the content material appears to be like nice on a cellular instrument and on the subject of the natural mechanics of responding to the smaller display screen, the theme has no issues.

Alternatively, the similar problems highlighted above with pills also are skilled on a cellular. In truth, the navigation factor is in truth accentuated because of the restricted display screen dimension and the very actual chance {that a} menu of any duration gained’t are compatible.

As well as, exhibiting featured content material within the grid layout isn’t well-suited to cellular gadgets the place the grid is decreased to only a unmarried symbol. With just one symbol becoming on a display screen, there may be numerous scrolling concerned to get previous the featured content material to another content material, that means that even supposing you employ a static web page as type of “welcome” then it customers would possibly effectively surrender ahead of they get there.

The slider, alternatively, works truly effectively each on mobiles and pills (higher in portrait mode because the content material underneath the slider is visual) presenting one thing of a quandry for TwentyFourteen homeowners with the grid appearing a ways higher at the desktop than the slider however the slider the simpler selection for pills and mobiles.

Screenshots of the slider and grid home pages on a mobile
As with pills, the slider is arguably a more sensible choice for the house web page for cellular customers

Is It A Mag Theme?

It’s known as the “stunning mag theme” however is it in truth appropriate for magazines?

There’s no doubting that TwentyFourteen has a shiny, high-production glance which might paintings effectively specifically for a writer with a in a position provide of top of the range pictures.

The design is indisputably extra minimum that many of the mag subject matters round, an means I love, and it could appear that the in all probability customers can be the ones publishers who center of attention on high quality (possibly longer shape) relatively than amount. I do marvel how tricky it may well be to insert promoting with out breaking the high-production really feel of the web site so possibly this may be of maximum passion to those that post totally free or use a subscription fashion.

The house web page is a matter regardless that, particularly on non-desktop gadgets. A web site has in an effort to inform its tale, its objective, its raison d’être nearly instantly and my worry is that the design does now not permit this.

Publishers may additionally be do away with by way of how the theme responds to pills, specifically, as it is a rising and an increasing number of vital phase in their target market.

Attainable Enhancements

It’s slightly harsh to discuss enhancements when the theme hasn’t even been launched but but when I sought after to make use of TwentyFourteen, right here’s an inventory of what I’d be customizing:

  • Including customized publish kind strengthen to the Featured Content material
  • Permitting person to specify the choice of pictures in a grid row
  • Including the facility for the slider to mechanically transfer to the following slide
  • Skill to assign the Content material Siderbar to house web page simplest
  • Strategy to specify a featured symbol element for every platform (i.e. grid > desktop, slider > pill, cellular)
  • Centering the design
  • Changing the left-hand sidebar to a slide-in sidebar and hooking it as much as the menu icon within the header

The Washup

TwentyFourteen is gorgeous. The colour-scheme, the typography, the prominence given to photographs, the liberal use of whitespace all give a contribution to a sophisticated, high-production feel and appear.

Whether or not it will possibly used successfully out-of-the-box, regardless that, is arguable. The best way the theme responds to pills and cellular gadgets is a matter, particularly at the house web page, and the slider searching higher at the smaller monitors while the grid searching higher at the greater monitors forces web site homeowners make an needless compromise.

It will sound harsh however I believe that TwentyFourteen falls slightly wanting expectation. It’s indisputably a limiteless development on TwentyThirteen but it surely’s under no circumstances top rate and it’ll effectively combat to fulfill Matt Mullenweg’s want to have “a complete 12 months of a default theme, to be loved for a 12 months”.

In fact, it is a unfastened theme and WordPress default subject matters have by no means aimed to push the limits of theme design and building.

TwentyFourteen does now not truly be offering an answer that may be successfully used out-of-the-box. What it’s does do, regardless that, is be offering a vital leg-up for the ones with get entry to to WordPress theme technology who wish to construct a top of the range mag web site and are ready to iron out its kinks and paintings round its flaws.

WordPress Developers

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