Changes from the UU 2011 & Faith 2012 Themes

While this theme was designed to mimic most of the look and feel of the UU 2011 & Faith 2012 themes, there are some differences you should be aware of:

  • In UU 2011 / Faith 2012, there were multiple page templates and a different menu was maintained for each template.  This caused several problems:
    • Expanding the number of sections in your website required website maintainers to create new page templates in PHP.
    • Different page templates had completely different sidebar menus and it was very easy to miss a menu if you were restructuring your website.
    • Adding widgets to your sidebar would possibly involve changing many widget areas since each page template had a different widget area.
  • To eliminate this work, the UU2014 theme is designed with only two page templates (Default and No Sidebar) and you maintain a single menu for both the top and all sidebar menus.
    • The sidebar menu will automatically expand and contract depending on the context of the current page to recreate the same look and feel as before.  This approach means that it is now trivial to reconfigure the number of tabs in your website.  Since implementing this on the UUCK website, we have re-arranged our menu several times to improve usability.
    • There is a single sidebar widget area that is displayed consistently on every page in your site.
    • There is also a new footer widget area that allows you to easily add links, text, or pictures to appear at the bottom of every page.  Previously you would have needed to manually edit the footer.php file to add items to your footer.
    • There is a floating widget area that can appear to the right of pages and posts
    • There is still a way to maintain multiple different menus on different pages and to add and remove content selectively but it involves a WordPress plugin.  Automattic, the company that maintains, much of, and the Underscores Theme that UU2014 is built on, has a very popular plugin called Jetpack.  This plugin is highly recommended and has a number of good features that you should consider enabling.  One of it’s features is “Widget Visibility” which provides the ability to selectively display or hide widgets on different pages in your site.