Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring basic theme options, part of WordPress: Building Responsive Themes.
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When I built the Anaximander theme for this course I decided to build in some features that would make it more useful and easier to customize for you. Some of these features are standard in all themes and some are custom to this theme only. The features are also hooked into the new WordPress 3.4 theme customizer function for easier handling. Let's take a look at what options are available and how you can customize Anaximander to personalize your sites. By default, Anaximander ships like this. Off the top, you have a super header that has an RSS icon in it and a search box. You then have a blue main header that has the site title and site tag line, along with the main menu, and then you have the rest of the content.
At the very bottom, you have a standard footer with information about the site and the theme. If you want to customize this, you can use the theme customizer function. You can access it either by going to the backend Dashboard, going to Appearance > Themes and then select Customize, or, if you are on the front end, you can go to the WordPress toolbar and select Customize. The theme customizer is quite built out for this theme, so it has additional features that you don't normally find in the theme customizer.
Off the top, we start with the Super-header Icons. If you drop that down, you see here you can add your own Twitter handle, your Facebook page handle, and an alternate RSS feed if you want to use the regular WordPress RSS feed. If you enter information here--let's say I enter my Twitter handle--you see a little Twitter bird appears on the super-header and if you were to click on it, you'd go directly to my Twitter page. Likewise, if you enter the handle for your Facebook page--for instance, mine is pinkandyellowmedia for my company page-- you get a Facebook icon, and again, if you click on it, you jump directly to the Facebook page.
In the Alternate RSS Feed field, you can input another URL if you don't want to use the default WordPress Feed URL. If you don't have anything in these fields, the buttons will automatically disappear, and what you are left with is the RSS feed, which will always be there. The next option is Header and Link Color. If you look at the theme, you will see the header has this nice blue color and if we hover over any of these links down in the body, they also have the same blue color.
You can change this color to any color you want using the Header and Link Color option. You drop it down and you can pick any color you want. That color will automatically preview both in header and on the links so that you can see whether or not that color works. If you are going to change the color, I suggest choosing a darker color, so that you get good contrast between the background color and the font. Next on the list is Site Title & Tagline, and this is a standard feature with all themes.
Here you can change to Site Title and Tagline to anything you want, and you can also choose whether you want to display the header text or not. So if you want to change the Tagline, we can just type in something else and you see that takes place immediately in the preview. We can also change the Site Title and the same thing happens. So here you can experiment with different titles and different taglines and see how they appear in the theme. In this theme, the Display Header Text option is meant to coincide with the use of a header image.
Let me show you what I mean. First, let me add a header image, so I will go to the Header Image option and upload a new header image. So I will go to my Computer and find a file I want to use and upload it. The header image is automatically added under the header, and this is done on purpose. I wanted to give you some different options here. In the Anaximander theme, you can choose whether you want to have just the standard header, if you want to have the header with the header image underneath it, or if you want to only have the header image and that will move the menu.
If you want that last option, what you do is you add a header image first, then you go back to Site Title & Tagline and uncheck Display Header Text. When you do that, the header image is moved on top and the menu is slid in under the header image, as you see it down here. It's also restyled to fit more with this layout. To ensure that people have an easy time getting back to you homepage, the entire header image is now clickable, so you can click on it and go back to the front page at any time. I am going to turn the header back on so you can see all the content.
While I was showing you this, I skipped over this Colors option. The Colors option allows you to change two things. You can change to Header Text Color, which is the text color for the title and tagline along with the main menu. You can change that to any color you want, so this allows you to experiment and see whether or not certain colors work in this environment, and you can find the exact right colors. And you can also change the background color. I have to zoom out my browser a little bit for you to see this. If I zoom out the browser, you will see we have a gray background here and I can drop this down and select any other color for the background and we can again experiment to see what would happen if we have different colors for the background.
The last three options are standard options that come in WordPress. We have the Background Image option, which allows you to add a background image instead of just a solid background color. For this particular theme, I wouldn't recommend doing that because it looks strange unless you are very careful, but by all means, experiment and see what works. You also get to set to navigation. By default, WordPress will show the default menu, which is the Home button plus a list of all the pages in the site, but if you want to, you can create a custom menu inside the WordPress menu function and then assign out to the front page instead.
If you do, and that menu has submenu items, the submenu items will appear like you see them here, in a nice dropdown. Finally, you have the Static Front Page option, which allows you to choose whether you wanted to have your latest post on the front page or a static page on the front page. Once you have customized your site and you like what you see, click Save & Publish to save and publish those customizations. If you don't like what you see and you want to go back to the way it was before, simply click Cancel and you are back to the default setup.
And this customization option is something you can keep experimenting with throughout the course, and also after you have finished with the course, because nothing is ever final here. You can always add something else. I am going to cancel it out to go back to the default and then I want to quickly show you one more feature. Remember how I showed you the footer, where you see it's just a standard footer? Well, if you go to the backend, to Widgets, and add some footer Widgets--let's say we add Recent Comments, Recent Posts, Categories, and Archives, and we go back to the front page, and scroll down to the bottom--you will see that we now have an extra section with four different footer widgets, and those go on top of the main footer.
So again, this is an option that you can choose to turn on or off by simply adding or subtracting widgets. Anaximander is a fully built-out theme with lots of custom options, so you can personalize it to fit your liking. Now that you know how it works, feel free to experiment with these different settings and see what you can come up with.
- What is responsive design?
- Installing the Anaximander example theme
- Deciding what screen sizes to target
- Designing menus
- Adding responsive images and video
- Using CSS media queries to apply different styles
- Handling sidebars on mobile displays
- Dealing with footer widgets
- Installing jQuery Masonry