Heavy metal text that says "About bio/social"
Heavy metal text that says "RSS"

Redesigning DocPop.org

I’ve been running this WordPress blog for about 15 years and have gone through 4 major versions of DocPop.org site so far. I’ve documented those previous versions of the site and will share them in another post, but for now I wanted to brag about my hot new theme.

My first Block Theme

Block themes were first introduced to WordPress in WP 5.9. Since my day job for TorqueMag.io involves covering the newest trends in WordPress, I thought I’d learn how to use the new Site Editor and block themes.

A screenshot of the front page of DocPop.org as seen on a desktop.
A screenshot of docpop.org

What better theme to learn than Twenty Twenty Three, WordPress’s big new theme. One of the cool things about the new block based themes is the ability for theme designers to add “Style Variations” to choose from. These are like mini-themes within a theme. I decided to go with the “Whisper” variation, which was designed by my co-worker, Brian Gardner.

A screenshot of the WordPress dashboard. It is showing the options for editing the Twenty Twenty Three theme and shows the various Style Variations.
Style Variations within the Twenty Twenty Three theme

Although I started with Whisper, I’ve made several customizations to make the site standout. My goal was to have a minimal and quick loading site, with a big focus on the About page. Since social media is becoming more and more decentralized, I’m using my About page as an easy way to find my different hubs across the web. Sort of like my own Linktree page.

An interview with the theme developer

I mentioned earlier that I cover WordPress news professionally and one of my co-workers designed the Style Variation that I’m using, so I decided to ask Brian Gardner to join me on this week’s Torque Social Hour so I could ask him questions and get his advice. After years of using the old WordPress Customizer, I’m still not sure how to use the Site Editor, so this will be a fun way to learn how these tools work. You can watch my livestream with Brian Gardner this Wednesday, December 7th, at 3pm PST here.

Share your feedback

I’m happy with the re-design, but I know it could be better. So if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I’ll ask them, or any other Site Editor related questions, during this week’s livestream.

Here are some of the questions I have already:

  • Can I change/remove the white border along the edges of the theme?
  • Paragraphs seem to cramp together. How can I alter paragraph breaks?
  • How can I improve the About page?
  • Can I make the Social Icons block split into two columns? (as seen on the About page)
  • Can my site be improved on mobile?
    • When viewing on mobile, can I remove sections from the header and footer like the blog title and RSS symbol?
    • When viewed on mobile, the hamburger icon only has one item listed. Can I improve that somehow so it just show “About” in the header without the hamburger menu?
  • How can my Posts layout be improved?
    • On mobile, the Post titles seem really large. Can I make them more responsive?
    • Also on mobile, some images go wider than the rest of the post does. So images appear to run off the page. (this mostly just seems to be an issue with flickr embeds)
  • Should I change my fonts?
  • The text under images looks like the same as the text in paragraphs. Can I make it look different (ie italic and smaller by default)
  • What happened to functions.php

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