Studying TextBook

We’re pleased to announce the launch of TextBook in the WordPress.org directory. Created by Allan Cole, TextBook helps schools, colleges, and other non-profit organizations to distribute and archive information in an easy way. Supported by Jetpack, it includes a Featured Content area for highlighting key posts or pages, a social menu, and Testimonials, ideal for showcasing quotes from alumni, staff, and students.

When designing TextBook, Allan researched some of the challenges facing schools when creating their sites, and noticed that many educational sites had little access to good photography. TextBook minimizes that problem:

One of the main goals for TextBook is how it’s designed to look great when you only have a limited amount of content. Even if images are smaller, or low quality, it doesn’t take away from the design.

Check out the TextBook demo, peek at the setup guide, or download and take it for a spin.

TextBook screenshot

The Developer’s Guide to Supporting Your Themes

At this year’s WordCamp Europe, some members of the WordPress.org support team brainstormed how we might be able to share support skills and strategies with the broader WordPress community. We decided to offer some workshops to share support knowledge, and the first one –  by yours truly – has been announced. Details are below.

Hope to see you there!

Update: The recording, slides, and notes are available.

The Developer’s Guide to Supporting Your Themes

Providing support for your themes offers tremendous opportunities to educate WordPress users, from explaining how to make a child theme to offering simple CSS customizations. It also presents challenges, like figuring out how to help people who aren’t tech-savvy or need support beyond the scope of what you can provide. While many developers dread doing support, with some concrete strategies and techniques in hand, helping users doesn’t have to be a chore – and can even be fun! This session looks at how to make your themes’ users happy while feeling a sense of satisfaction from your own support efforts – a winning combination in the world of theme development.

When

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 16:00 UTC. It will last for an hour and include Q&A.

How

The session will be run via videoconference and will be recorded and posted later for those who can’t make it. Please download the free Zoom app ahead of time. You can run Zoom on most desktop and mobile devices.

A link to the Zoom teleconference will be provided in the #forums WordPress.org Slack channel about 10 minutes before the session begins.

Who

In her role as Theme Whisperer on the Theme Team at Automattic, Kathryn Presner provides support for hundreds of themes. She began helping people as a volunteer in the WordPress.org forums back in 2011 and was immediately hooked.

Featured image by Pixel Fantasy (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Delightful Dara

Meet Dara, a beautiful new theme crafted by Caroline Moore, now available for download via WordPress.org. Dara has its roots in a popular theme called Sela. Caroline tells the story of how one theme led to another:

Sela, designed and developed by the Automattic Theme Team’s Ola Bodera, remains one of our most popular themes — and for good reason! It has a softer, sweeter quality not often seen in business themes.

With Dara, I wanted to refine the user experience and include some of the things Sela users regularly asked for; moving the social links closer to the top, for example, or replacing the static image in the hero area with a slider.

As someone who hangs out in the crafty space, I see Sela and Dara as perfect for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want a softer look for their sites, but the themes’ flexibility and attention to detail make them lovely for personal blogs as well.

Dara supports several handy features for business users, like testmonials that let you highlight customer feedback — available through Jetpack’s Custom Content Types module.

Explore the Dara demo or check out how to set it up.

Dara screenshot

Introducing Ixion

Meet Ixion, the latest theme to join our WordPress.org collection. Designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Caroline Moore, Ixion is a clean and professional theme geared to schools, non-profits, and organizations.

Put your most exciting news front and center with a custom header image and a call-to-action button, highlight three noteworthy accomplishments on the homepage, and – with Jetpack’s Custom Content Types module – use Testimonials to showcase your organization’s satisfied students or customers.

Visit the demo or take Ixion for a spin.

Ixion screenshot

Rebalance, Karuna, and Sidespied

We have three Automattic-made themes now available on WordPress.org.

Rebalance is a fresh take on the classic Imbalance 2 theme. Designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Allan Cole, Rebalance is a contemporary portfolio theme for photographers, artists, and graphic designers looking to showcase their work, and features an elegant Masonry grid for displaying both blog posts and Jetpack portfolio projects.

Rebalance screenshot

Another Mel Choyce-designed creation, Karuna is a clean business theme crafted with health and wellness-focused sites in mind. With bright, bold colors, prominent featured images, and support for customer testimonials via Jetpack, your business’s brand is sure to shine with Karuna, which was developed by Caroline Moore.

Karuna screenshot

Child theme Sidespied puts a new spin on Espied, a classic portfolio theme. Created by Tammie Lister, Sidespied shows off photos and images of all kinds in a clean grid layout.

Sidespied screenshot

Scratchpad

Created by Automattic’s Laurel Fulford, whimsical Scratchpad showcases your writing, photos, and drawings. Full of bright colors and illustrative details – courtesy of fast-loading SVGs – the theme pays special attention to styling post formats for visual variety. A perfect fit for sharing projects, recipes, and stories, Scratchpad is now available for download on WordPress.org.

scratchpad-ss

Theme-o-rama

We have a November treat for theme-lovers – a slew of new free themes by Automattic designers and theme wranglers have made their debut on WordPress.org. Meet the fabulous five:

Crafted by Caroline Moore, Affinity features an elegant multi-panel scrolling front page. Geared to weddings and family announcements, it’s flexible enough to suit a wide variety of sites.

Affinity screenshot

Thomas Guillot designed Shoreditch especially for businesses who want to easily combine multiple panels on any page.

Shoreditch screenshot

Looking for a fresh new blogging-focussed theme? Check out our trio:

  • A modern blogging theme that shows off gorgeous photography, Revelar is designed by Filipe Varela and developed by Ola Bodera;
  • Tammie Lister‘s Cols features a minimalist multi-column text display; and
  • Lyretail, designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Caroline Moore, is a clean single-column theme for personal bloggers with prominent social links in the header.

Take your favorite for a spin today!

Revelar screenshot

Cols screenshot

Lyretail screenshot

New Themes: Escutcheon & Toujours

Two new themes are available for download in the WordPress.org theme repo: Escutcheon and Toujours.

Escutcheon (pronounced ess-KUH-chun) is a bold, typography-driven theme for long-form writers to showcase their work. Designed by Mel Choyce and developed by Caroline Moore, Escutcheon — an unusual word referring to a type of shield — supports a social icon menu and displays post excerpts on the front page.

Escutcheon screenshot

Laurel Fulford crafted Toujours (French for “always” — pronounced too-DJOOR) as a responsive remake of the popular Forever theme. Geared to weddings, it features a large slider (available via Jetpack Featured Content), a unique layout for three recent posts, and a special guestbook template.

Toujours screenshot

Whether you’re planning upcoming nuptials or getting down to serious blogging, we welcome you to take Toujours and Escutcheon for a spin.

Sleek Pique

Pique (pronounced “peek”) made its debut in the WordPress.org repository this week. A spiffy scrolling front-page theme crafted by Automattic’s Sarah Semark, Pique lets you add up to eight panels to the homepage by choosing static pages via the Customizer.

Designed with coffee shops in mind, Pique is a great fit for many types of small businesses. It supports a logo or customer testimonials with Jetpack and can display a custom menu in both the header and footer. Check it out!

Pique screenshot