Tag Archives | twenty fourteen

Getting Started with Twenty Fourteen

t14 slider

When first installed, Twenty Fourteen doesn’t look much like what you anticipate from its pictures.  Here are some quick steps to make it to shine:

Accessing the Settings

t14 customizeOnce you’ve activated Twenty Fourteen, go to your dashboard, to Appearance>>Customize.  Click on Customize (circled in red) to access the theme’s settings.  You should see a panel like the snapshot pictured below.t14 panel

All the the theme’s configuration settings are found here.  You can set your site title and tagline and instantly see a preview of what it will look like.  Likewise with the background color, the title font color, and the background image, should you add one.

Be sure to click on “Save & Publish” if you are happy with the way your changes look.


The Navigation settings are very similar to what you find on your dashboard.  But here you can preview changes before saving them.  You’ll still need to set up your menus in Appearance>>Menus.  The theme provides two menus and you control where (and if) they are displayed.

Static Front Page

This setting probably looks familar to you if you’ve gone to the Settings>>Reading in the dashboard.  But here you can use it to preview how such a change would affect you site’s home page.  Basically, you decide here if you want your home page to display a number of your latest blog posts, or if you want it to display a static front page.t14 featuredContent

Featured Content

This is where you control what the featured area on you home page looks like.  It could be totally non-existent, or a grid of boxes, or a slider.  It will display your latest blog posts if they are tagged to be shown.  The default tag –  “featured” –  can be changed to whatever tag you want.  You can change your home page’s entire featured content area by just changing the tag name, and by deciding whether to display a slider, or a grid.

Featured Images

featured imageThe theme relies heavily on featured images.  The boxes in the grid will display the featured images of each post along with the post title, tags and other links.  The slider will display your post’s featured images as well.   Slider images need to be big, or else you might see a black area on the right (depending on device and monitor size).  If you are using a full width page template to display your slider, the featured image’s width needs to be at least 1200px to look good on desktops.  If you are using a template that also shows a sidebar, the width should be at least 1000px.  Slider images scale down, but do not scale up.  This might make transitioning from previous themes difficult.

If you choose to display your featured content in a grid, featured images can be smaller, but you still probably want them large enough to span the width of your page or post (at least 640px), when your readers click to see the actual content.  (You can also experiment with different post formats to see how they display the featured image.)

You can set the featured image on both a page and a post.  They display quite differently on different devices.

Dynamic Magazine Functionality

Twenty Fourteen offers a lot, but you can customize it further by changing its CSS or by creating a child theme (contact the Commons Help if you elect to go this route).

Some drawbacks – the slider does not animate, and you have to manually advance it.  Some studies suggest this is a better user experience.  (If you make a child theme, here is a way to make it animate.)  There is no easy way to change color scheme.  If you like the black background, you are in luck – if not, polish up on your CSS skills.

Hope you have fun with this theme!

WordPress 3.8 Now Available on the Commons

WordPress WordPress 3.8 (nicknamed “Parker” in honor of Charlie Parker) offers many improvements:

admin themeFirst off, the Dashboard looks very different.  Although everything is basically the same, the layout is much more attractively styled, and you now have the option to choose between seven different color schemes.  Go to Users>>Your Profile and find the “Admin Color Scheme” settings, pictured at the right to make any changes.  The Dashboard looks especially great on mobile devices and tablets and has a “fresh, uncluttered design that embraces clarity and simplicity.”   (I was not a big fan of the default color scheme and chose the “Light” option which I found easier on the eyes.)

Theme management has been refined.  You can more easily flip through the themes that are available on the Commons.  Sit back and use page up and page down keys to view available themes (we have hundreds).  Find one you like?  Hover over the theme and two things will happen.  You will see a box in the center (circled in red, below) that, when clicked, provides “Theme Details.”  This provides information that will help you decide if the theme will meet your needs.  You will also see the “Activate” and “Preview” buttons (highlighted by the red arrow).  Use the  preview button first to get a sense of what it will look like.  If you like it, you can click “Activate.”


widget changesWidgets are now easier to manage, especially on smaller devices.  Just click the widget you want to embed and a dropdown list of available widget areas is displayed.  Select the widget area, click the “Add Widget” button, and the Widget Area is auto-populated.  You can drag its position up or down to get it in the right place.  Then you need to click the “Save” button.   You can still use the old method of dragging and dropping too.

The new Twenty Fourteen theme is now the default theme on the Commons.  It is a sleek and responsive magazine style theme with three widget areas and two page templates.  Here is a link to its demo page and below are some screenshots of what it can look like.  On larger screens, the number of boxes on the rows increase.  You can also substitute the grid of boxes with a manually advancing slider.  For some quick start information, see Getting Started with Twenty Fourteen on the Codex.


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