29 Aug 2016

Latte: A Free One-Page WordPress Theme to Showcase Your Profile

Latte is a new parallax style WordPress portfolio theme created by Hardeep Asrani. The 19-year old developer from India already has 17 plugins and four themes to his credit on WordPress.org. We recently featured his work on the Advanced CSS Editor plugin, which allows users to write CSS in the customizer.

Latte follows suit with extensive customizer options for every section of the one-page scrolling theme. It was created for developers, designers, and freelancers who want to feature their work in a visual resume format with a profile photo, short bio, services, newsletter subscription, and more. Each of these sections are optional and can be turned on/off with a simple checkbox in the customizer.

latte customizer

Latte theme users can choose to highlight different skills, portfolio items, blog posts, and/or services they provide. It is geared towards individuals who want to lead with their profile and keep all their relevant information on the home page.

skills portfolio

In many one-page scrolling themes, blog posts become somewhat of an afterthought that don’t receive the same design attention. Latte, on the other hand, includes a simple, tasteful single post design that is harmonious with the rest of the site. A blog header image can be set in the customizer to be unique or match the rest of the site.

latte single post

If you’re not a fan of the preloader or the scrolling parallax animations, you can disable them in the customizer. The theme supports a slide-out navigation menu, which can also be disabled if you plan to keep all the content on the homepage without posting any blogs.

Asrani built 100+ color control options into the theme and prides himself on its customizability. Latte’s homepage states that if you find something in the theme which is not customizable, then he will work on adding it to the theme.

The services, skills, and subscribe sections are widgetized areas where the content is generated by special widgets that are included in the theme. Documentation for setting up the various sections is included in the theme’s zip file. If you want to add pricing tables, a contact form, portfolio section, or a map, you’ll need to purchase the pro version. To Asrani’s credit, the free version is not cluttered by pro version “teaser” controls in the customizer.

Check out the live demo to see each of the available sections in action on the page.

Latte offers a welcome alternative to clunky, confusing page builders or drag-and-drop editors. With everything in the customizer, the user doesn’t have to hunt around for how to edit its many sections. If you want a simple one-page theme to showcase your profile and services, you’d be hard pressed to find one more customizable than Latte. Download it for free from WordPress.org or via your admin themes browser.

Source: WP Tavern

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29 Aug 2016

WordPress.org UX Research Begins as Part of Long-Term Plan for Redesign

WordPress Theme - Photo credit to Lukasz Kowalewski
photo credit: Lukasz Kowalewski

WordPress.org is second only to WordPress.com in Google search results for “WordPress,” followed by the project’s download, about, and featured themes pages. Unfortunately, visitors to WordPress.org land on an outdated website that doesn’t accurately represent the vibrance of the WordPress project and its strong community. As the face of the open source project, WordPress.org is in desperate need of a redesign.

Designer Hugo Baeta is currently gathering feedback on the user experience of the site as part of a long-term plan for its improvement. WordPress.org is a slow-moving machine when it comes to updates and design changes, but Baeta’s research is a solid first step towards action.

“As we take on efforts of documenting and creating more polished and art directed design foundations for the WordPress project as a whole, the .org sites need to get some love as well,” Baeta said.

He posted results of a lengthy 55-question survey, summarizing anonymous feedback from 32 of WordPress’ most active contributors – project leads, team reps, and highly active community members. The survey asked open-ended questions to encourage honest feedback on the site’s biggest pain-points.

“This survey will help us get a better idea of the direction we need to go on a long-term plan to make improvements to WordPress.org, building a more solid and thought-out foundation so the community can grow and thrive for years to come,” Baeta said.

For 81% of respondents, the primary reason they visit WordPress.org is to contribute to WordPress. Nearly all agreed that the design feels tired, old, outdated, and inconsistent. It’s not surprising, given the sample’s demographic, that most respondents rarely (if ever) visit the WordPress download page, the themes directory, hosting, or showcase pages.

Overall, the survey’s participants find the current design to be inconsistent and confusing to navigate unless you are an insider. Several responses communicated frustration that the site isn’t 100% WordPress and that its underlying code prevents it from being easily updated.

Survey participants offered both sharp criticism and constructive feedback. If you have the time and inclination, the results are worth a read.

WordPress.org serves two different types of users: contributors and the millions of people who use and the software. Baeta did not indicate his next step in the UX research, but it would be worthwhile to sample some first time visitors and users who frequent the pages that contributors don’t often visit.

While open source software websites aren’t usually known for their cutting edge designs, many inspirational examples can be found at BeautifulOpen.com. Browsing that catalogue, it’s clear that WordPress.org could greatly benefit from a brighter, more user-friendly design.

Companies like Wix and Weebly, some of WordPress’ commercial competitors, could never get away with having websites that don’t demonstrate the quality of their products. If WordPress is going to continue to grow past its current 26% market share, the project’s website should reflect its reputation of being easy-to-use software for creating beautiful websites.

Source: WP Tavern

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