I’m finally at the third step of my mini-theme exploration that I promised to finish within one month but that has run for three months and counting. If you don’t know what a WordPress theme is you can catch up, or not. The main thing to know is that the site looks different than it did a week ago because I activated the Björn theme by Anders Norén (switching from the theme Wei). I immediately liked it, although, like all theme switches, getting it to where I wanted was not without some work.
Here is what the site’s homepage was looking like with the previous theme Wei, and then with Björk (after some tweaking, more on that in a sec).
Here is a summary of the things I needed to do after I switched themes to Björk:
- Redo the homepage – the homepage template (my site was set to show the posts page by default) was filled with static content from the site demo. This was kind of expected and something I had to do when I switched to Wei as well.
- Update the menus (multiple menus actually) – the navigation blocks (there are multiple in this theme’s templates) didn’t automatically switch to the menus I was using on the previous theme so I had to go in a select them again. No biggie really but certainly an annoying aspect of switching themes.
- Update my post/page templates – This one feels like it is too hard and needs to be fixed. Here’s the thing: I like to use a post template that doesn’t include a featured image sometimes, but because templates are specific to a theme, I need to now re-create that template AND I need to update ALL those posts that were using the no-featured-image template on the old theme. The thing is, there is no way for me to search/filter posts by the template they are using (or were using). So rather than opening all my posts from the past year to find the ones I need to update I’ll probably just leave it and fix ’em as I see ’em.
- Fix the mobile navigation template part – I think this is a bit of bug or a conflict with the Gutenberg plugin that I’m running on the site. For some reason the navigation block in the mobile navigation template part was broken/not displaying (it even displayed a “spinning” behavior in the editor block settings such that I couldn’t select a menu for it) so I had to remove it and re-add and that fixed it.
Headers, footers, and templates
The most unique thing about this theme, aside from the trademark style of it’s creator (I used to use Eksell on the site and there are a lot of similarities), is the use of two different template parts for mobile and desktop views.
On the site’s templates, there is both a header template part, which is called “Header (Mobile)”, and a sidebar template part, which is called “Sidebar (desktop)”. One or the other is hidden via CSS depending on the size of your viewport. Very clever.
Aside from that, there aren’t any “special” page or post templates included with the theme.
Pages, posts, and patterns
All of my pages and posts, for the most part, look great in the new theme and I didn’t really need to do much of anything. The theme includes a small selection of patterns but nothing crazy. All of the layout elements in the theme demo are here and easy to get at.
I really like the Björk theme. It’s worked really well “out of the box” and I like the design a bit more that Wei. The experience of switching between multiple themes has been a good exercise to better understand some of the nuances of the new full site editing features of WordPress and how different themes work in this new system. There is always going to be some work to make a new theme personalized, and the newer themes and features of WordPress make this easier than ever. I’ll continue to make some small tweaks but I think I’m going to stick with this theme while I look to explore more features via new projects in the new year.