The WordPress Customizer: Managing Your Website Just Got Easier

We are happy to announce that all theme configuration changes now happen inside the WordPress customizer. Check out this preview of the all-new slideshow options, including drag & drop sorting:

WordPress customizer
WordPress customizer

It’s been a long journey to this point. So, why should you care about this new feature? Here’s a personal story to illustrate how far we’ve come:

In 1999, I created my very first website by writing HTML (tables, mainly) in Dreamweaver. It was horrible. As a photographer, I always considered myself to be more of a “visual learner” – an excuse I used frequently to avoid writing code for the next two years. Creating static websites seemed inefficient and laborious.  And they were a fuc*$#^&% pain to update.

Thankfully, in 2004 I found WordPress.

After a couple years of building WordPress themes for myself, friends and a few commercial clients, I launched Graph Paper Press, a premium WordPress theme company. Unlike our commercial clients who had clearly defined requirements, the WordPress themes that we created for the masses at Graph Paper Press required a certain degree of flexibility to accommodate different applications for different users. And so we integrated a theme options control panel into all of our WordPress themes.

By 2008, theme option panels were commonplace in WordPress themes. Theme developers were building their own proprietary solutions, which gave rise to their own problems. Some theme option panels radically altered the WordPress admin panel by imposing their own branding and style. This caused serious problems for users, forcing them to relearn a new user interface within the WordPress admin interface.

It got really bad. And honestly, it’s still a big problem.

Two years ago, we started integrating our themes with a new experimental feature in WordPress called the “customizer.” The customizer was created with the goal of providing theme developers with a single API for controlling theme configuration and thus delivering a consistent and enjoyable user experience. The problem, however, was that the default customizer didn’t fully support all of the necessary fields required for things like slides, drag & drop, etc. So we buckled in and went to work.

Here’s a preview of our new color palette and color picker options:

WordPress customizer
WordPress customizer color palette & color picker integration

Key Features

  • Change color palettes and refine colors using color picker tools.
  • Choose between over 650 Google fonts.
  • Upload images including logos, favicons, backgrounds and headers.
  • Upload and arrange slides using drag & drop.
  • Change text, buttons and links on welcome messages, banners, signup forms, etc.
  • And much more.

Here are the key benefits that you’ll get out of using the customizer integration:

Key Benefits

  • Intuitive – Immediately see how your changes affect the design of your website.
  • Simple – One-stop shopping for all theme configuration changes.
  • Efficient – You’ll spend less time setting up your theme.

Usage Instructions

Visit the documentation page to see how to use the customizer.

We think that themes should be as simple as possible, requiring the least amount of configuration to achieve the expected results. Integrating 100-percent of all theme options into the customizer gets us one step closer to this goal.

Enjoy!

by Thad Allender

Thad is the founder of Theme.Works and Graph Paper Press. Previously, he produced online multimedia and documentary projects for USA Today including the inauguration of President Barack Obama and many others. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Abby.

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