Menu Editor For WordPress 3.5

#1: From the WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Appearance’, ‘Menus’ to reach the ‘Menus’ screen.

#2: Choose any name for the menu, feed it in the ‘Menu Name’ field and click on the ‘Create Menu’ button.

#3 Under ‘Theme Locations’, choose the menu you just created from the ‘Primary Menu’ drop down. Save.

Theme Location For The Custom Menu

#4:   Find the ‘Pages’ panel ; here you will find a list of pages that you have published on your site so far. Click on ‘View All’ tab of the ‘Pages’ panel to get the option of adding the ‘Home’ page to the menu. Check all the pages that you want to add to the navigation bar and click ‘Add to Menu’.

Add New Pages To The Menu

#5: Now, all the selected pages will appear as tabs on the right hand side in the ‘Menus’ screen.

Menu Items

#6 Drag and Drop each page’s tab, up or down depending on your preference. The top-most tab will be the first menu item in the navigation bar and so on.

Save the menu when you are done!

Put The Menu Items In The RIght Order

Refresh your website to check out your brand new navigation bar.

To add blog posts, categories etc. to the custom menu use the ‘Screen Options’ on the top right corner of the ‘Menus’ screen to check the boxes for Posts, Categories etc. Scroll down the ‘Menus’ screen and you should now be able to find the ‘Posts’ and ‘Tags’ panels as well.

Checking the ‘Automatically add new top-level pages’ in the ‘Menus’ screen will make sure that as and when you publish pages, they will automatically find their way into the navigation bar.

Create Sub Menu Items

You can also create sub menu items by dragging a tab below any tab and to its right, like so:

Create Sub Menu Items

Renaming Menu Items

Expand the tab for the menu item that you would like to rename by clicking on the tiny down arrow on the right hand side of the tab. Input the name you’d like to give it under “Navigation Label”

Rename Menu Items

Additional Custom Menus

Click on the “+” icon to add another custom menu and follow instructions given above

Additional Custom Menus

 

The ‘Genesis’ of my website

New theme on my website

I resisted it for a long time.

But it HAD to be done.

So, I steeled myself up, bit the bullet, took the plunge and changed the WordPress theme for this website to Genesis (by StudioPress).

Much drama over a theme change? What can I say, I don’t like change! And I was sort of attached to the old theme i.e. Thesis.

There was something so wonderfully expansive about Thesis.

It didn’t exactly look spectacular out of the box, but under the hood there were SO many options to work with that literally, you were limited only by your imagination as far as your site’s design goes.

That’s why I loved it so much: Thesis gave you a blank canvas that was full of possibilities.

Genesis works a bit differently. They have a whole slew of child themes to choose from that look pretty damn cool without doing much to them. So you can select a theme that’s closest to the design that you have in mind and use it as-is or tweak it around to your liking. And that’s a good way to go about designing your website too. But I personally prefer the starting-from-scratch approach. Just a personal preference is all.

Reasons for changing themes:

Several reason for it. The most important one being that I wanted a theme that was responsive out of the box. I went with Lifetstyle Pro child theme

With more and more people using their cell phones, tablets, Ipads and such to browse the internet, a responsive website is no longer a choice.

More like a necessity.

Now there are ways to make a Thesis website responsive as well. In fact, I have seen some gorgeous websites that run on it and show up beautifully on my phone. But I wasn’t too comfortable doing that, what with my site running on an older version of Thesis i.e. 1.8.5. I just wasn’t too sure about how long 1.8.5 would be supported. Also, I was in no mood to figure out the latest 2.0 version, which was meant to be wildly different in terms of usage.

Another reason why I moved is because I got sucked into the whole herd mentality and jumped on the bandwagon as well. A lot of people, many of who were hitherto Thesis loyalists, changed over to Genesis when Thesis 2.0 was released. As I explained above the latter is not very user friendly like its predecessor, 1.8.5.

So I guess I saw Genesis as a safer bet over the long run. And I saw now as a good time to make the change since there isn’t too much content on my site.

But the good news is that I am quite happy with my decision for I have managed to make my site look pretty much like it used to, even though there was a learning curve involved. And the places where it looks different are those that needed change anyway.

But I ain’t done with it. I still need to set a few things right, especially for smaller devices and of course the graphics need a lot of work.

All in good time!

Are you a font fiend? Check out the free downloadable Google fonts!

I love fonts image

Are you a font fiend trying to find free fonts fitting for your fabulous website? Okay enough with the alliteration!

But read on if you want a low down on a few things typographical.

While I’m inclined to use one of the default typefaces such as Arial, Verdana etc. for all the written content on a website, when it comes to graphics and design, more often than not none of those ever really fit the bill. And that’s when I go looking for more.

While there are many resources that you could use, usually my first stop is: Google fonts. A personal favorite, if I may add.

And they are so easy to use! Simply visit their website, go through the huge collection that they have (and are constantly adding to) and hand-pick your favorite ones. The “Preview Text” feature (see #1 in the screenshot) gives you a glimpse into how the exact text that you are looking to pretty up will show up.

So, for example, let’s say you are creating a website header which contains the text “My Pretty Website Header”. That’s the text you’d want to preview:

Choose They Style From The List

A quick scroll down the results will help you narrow down the list; hit the “Add To Collection” button for all the fonts that you think are suitable for the job. Just don’t go too crazy. Or what the heck, knock yourself out. But if you are in a hurry, you could use the filters to the left to hasten the selection process (#2 in the screenshot).

Once you are done shortlisting, click on the “Review” button the in the “Collection” panel that you will find on the bottom of the page.

This will bring up the shortlist side by side for your comparison pleasure.

All right. It’s time to get a bit ruthless now: do away with all except that one font, the most perfect of them all for the task at hand. Actually, it might be a good idea to have 1-2 backups as well.

Let me explain.

The problem with free, downloaded stuff is that when you use it in an image editor, there’s an outside chance that it will not render as expected.For example, if you take your gaze up to the image right at the top of this page and look close enough, you will notice that the “?” shows up a bit weird. That’s okay with me, I don’t need my graphics totally perfect. But if you are a graphics purist, it might be absolutely unacceptable to have that irksome “?” on your website! So just to play it safe, have a back up or two.

When you have whittled down your list (say you chose “Diplomata” and “Niconne”) and ready to download, click on the tiny arrow button on the top right (#3 in the screenshot). Choose the option that downloads as a zip file. When the download is complete, look for Diplomata and Niconne on your computer (the “Downloads” folder or similar), unzip and paste the unzipped “TrueTpye” files into the right folder. If you are on a PC, you should find it here:

C:\Windows\Fonts

That’s it! Now the two latest additions to your typographical treasure should be available for use through image editors such as Photoshop, GIMP, Pixlr etc. You might have to restart the editor for them to show up though.

Now get designing that gorgeous header, will ya!

The All New WordPress 3.8 Dashboard

With the release of WordPress 3.8 the dashboard got a major facelift in terms of color; the components stay largely the same however. You will find a quick before and after comparison down below.

The dashboard prior to WordPress 3.8:

WordPress 3.6 Dashboard

The brand new WordPress 3.8 dashboard:

WordPress 3.8 Updated Dashboard

I remember when I updated to WordPress 3.8, initially I found the all black left hand menu a bit jarring, but gotta say that it has grown on me these last couple of weeks. In fact, now in comparison the older dashboard looks somewhat dated (I guess it is!) and somewhat dowdy.

But dowdy ain’t always bad. Especially when it spells comfort! So if you are resisting the new look and prefer the familiarity and comfort of the WordPress 3.6 dashboard, you can actually go back!

No time travel needed.

What is needed is the WP Admin Classic plugin.

Note: This tutorial lays out how to retain the look of the 3.6 dashboard while running WordPress 3.8. That is to say we aren’t touching the WordPress version, that stays at 3.8 (as it should). Just thought I’d point that out to avoid any confusion.

And here are the steps:

(1) Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins>Add New
(2) In the search box, type in “WP Admin Classic” and click on the search button
(3) Click on “Install Now” for the wp-admin classic plugin (author: Mindo Mobile)
(4) Once installed, activate the plugin and your dashboard will magically go back to what it used to look like before WordPress 3.8
Note: You can always deactivate the plugin if and when you want to switch to the new look.

But there’s another option. Did you know that WordPress 3.8 gives you several color choices for the admin panel? If you go to Users>Your Profile, you will find various options under “Admin Color Scheme”. If you select the “Light” scheme your dashboard will look a lot like the 3.6 days. Take a look:

Color Options in WordPress 3.8

And here’s what the menu panel will look like with the “Light” theme:

The Light color scheme for the admin panel in WordPress 3.8

Pretty close to 3.6, I’d say!

WordPress Updates And Default Themes Explained & How To Update To 3.8

WordPress released its latest version, that is version 3.8, in December 2013. Accompanying WordPress 3.8 is the very cool Twenty Fourteen theme. To commemorate the new theme I thought it’d be a good idea to provide a brief explanation about WordPress updates and default themes.

To begin with, each version of WordPress will have a default WordPress theme associated with it. The table below lists the default themes associated with different versions of WordPress.

WordPress Version

Default Theme

3.5

Twenty Twelve

3.6

Twenty Thirteen

3.7

Twenty Thirteen

3.8

Twenty Fourteen

 

How often does WordPress provide updates?

WordPress updates are released several times a year. A  jump from WordPress 3.7 to 3.8 represents a major update. If the update is a minor one, instead of jumping a whole gargantuan 0.1 the update will look like 3.8.1, 3.8.2 etc.

What is a WordPress theme?

While the WordPress version refers to the version of the software that’s running your website, the theme is simply the design template that your site dons. Also get this: while each version of WordPress will have a default theme, there is no obligation to remain tethered to that theme.

So let’s say you have installed WordPress 3.8 – in this case your website will show up with the default theme i.e. Twenty Fourteen. But if you feel that Twenty Twelve is more a more suitable choice for your needs, you can choose the Twenty Twelve theme for your WordPress 3.8 website at Dashboard>Appearance>Themes.  Of course, you can go back to Twenty Fourteen (or any other theme) at any point.

Will updating WordPress impact your theme selection?

Another point to note is that the default theme is of consequence only when you install WordPress for the first time on your website. When you are just updating your WordPress website, your theme selection remains intact.

For example, say you are currently running WordPress 3.6 with the Twenty Twelve theme and you update to WordPress 3.8, in this scenario your website will continue to use the Twenty Twelve theme till you decide to switch to another theme. But if you are installing (as opposed to updating) WordPress 3.8 on your website either manually or using an auto-installer such as Quick Install or Fantastico, in that case, your website will automatically show up with WordPress 3.8′s default theme i.e. Twenty Fourteen.

In short, applying an update to the WordPress version will not have an impact on your theme selection.

How often does WordPress release new themes?

As is evident with the information presented in the table above, every major WordPress update is not necessarily accompanied with a new default theme; WordPress 3.6 and 3.7, both, have Twenty Thirteen as the default theme. In fact, the release of a new WordPress theme is an annual event and since the year 2010, the tradition has been to name each year’s theme after the year itself!

How to determine the WordPress version and theme of your website:

When you install WordPress on your website for the first time, using the manual installation method will ensure that the latest version of WordPress is installed.

However, if you choose to use an auto-installer such as Fantastico instead, it will not necessarily install the latest version. In order to determine the WordPress version and theme: log into WordPress, scroll down the dashboard region till you find the “At a Glance” panel (called the ‘Right Now’ panel in some versions of WordPress):

wordpress-version-and-theme

This panel will give you information about the exact version and theme installed on your website.

WordPress update notification

When a new version of WordPress is released, users are notified through the dashboard. Keep a lookout for a notification along the top of the dashboard:

Update notification in the dashboard area

How to update WordPress to the latest version:

You can easily update to the latest version of WordPress by clicking on the “Please update now” link in the notification. Alternatively, go to ‘Updates’ in the dashboard and then click on the ‘Update Now’ button:

wordPress_updates-button

Note: If your website has content, please create a backup before attempting an update.

How often should you update WordPress?

Theme selection is purely a matter of personal preference; it’s perfectly okay to run the Twenty Twelve theme even if we are in 2014 (as long as the theme is compatible). But for security purposes, it is best to update to the latest version of WordPress available.

When You Open Yourself To Art…

Street Art For Design Inspiration

One of three things can happen when you drag an out an out tropical person (read:me) into one ski store after another. The said person can grow crazy, throw whine-y tantrums or start to hallucinate about the sun, sand and blue waters. Since it was too freaking cold to even hallucinate about anything warm and since I am trying really hard to “harvest the good” (very wise words by I don’t really know who) in any situation I wondered what I could do to keep my sanity.

Then it struck me..

I was in this really scenic place, surrounded by quaint little shops embellished with charming artwork. What better place than this to get some design ideas?

Now even though I like to build websites, I have to confess that designing doesn’t come naturally to me. I am more into the geeky side of website building. Very rarely does a super design emanate from my imagination alone. More often than not, I need to look at great designs already out there to get a burst of creative inspiration.

And so I decided to pop out my trusty iPhone and capture any design, logo, pattern, color- anything at all that could serve as a design inspiration. Once I started to look around, as in really look around I couldn’t believe the sheer creativity that I found myself surrounded with. I even found a couple of art galleries and some really cool street art.

Who da thunk it eh?

Really, when you open yourself to art, art opens itself to you.

So, as experiment here is what I am going to do. In this post I will put up a couple of designs that I really liked (you know all those images that I clicked) and give a short explanation of why I liked them and then in a subsequent post I will use one (or maybe more) of the designs to make a website header or a logo or any other graphic.

And guess what, you can do something similar the next time you’re feeling all design blocked!

Alright! Ready for some wicked designs?

This was one of the first pics I clicked and I was in a bookstore then. At first glance it might not be obvious why, but take a closer look and do you see the lovely use of colors on the mug? I loved it! A great example of how too many colors don’t always spoil the design.

I also like the notebook cover with its dark colored background with bright text over it.

colorful-design-ideas

This next one is one of my favorites. I remember reading somewhere that one should never use more than 3 font styles in a piece of design. For the most part I do agree with that, but there are always exceptions as demonstrated by this cafe display board. 4 fonts and all of 2 colors = simple yet striking!

cool fonts on  display board outside a cafe

This next one looks eerily familiar, does it not? Heck ya! Take your gaze up to utterly web’s header and you will see a similar graphic. That’s the only reason I clicked this one!

Utterly Web's Header Design

These next two were also taken in the book store. I thought the flower pattern embossed on the journal cover was really pretty.

Journal Cover Pattern

What colors! Pattern on a bag

Hows that for some inspiration huh?

Stay tuned for some more interesting clicks in the next post!!