These 13 features will make the wordpress default theme awesome

Taking first steps with twenty seventeen default theme, some interesting observations are worth pointing out and possibly inspire creation of custom plugins. During the upgrade, few custom plugins were crafted and tailored to what you see on this website. The main features below can be an awesome expansion to the default 2017 theme:

1. Thumbnail images in recent post widget

The recent posts widget on this website is based on custom plugin that adds thumbnail images to the post titles. Thumbnails on sidebar post are cool enhancement when cropped to the proper size.

2. Sticky sidebar option

The sticky sidebar was there in twenty-fifteen, not returning since. Sticky sidebar can be great to enhance user experience and also make better use of the screen space. With sticky sidebar, instead of blank white space, user will see some content such as photos or other widgets, thus increasing possibilities of user interaction with the website.

3. Ajax search

It’s 2017, isn’t it? one would expect that AJAX search will become core feature. A search widget on the top navigation bar is another popular feature which did not make it to the default theme.

4. Contact form

There is no default contact form widget in WordPress and this is intentional. The spirit of the WordPress developer community is that such features are not supposed to be addressed by a “theme” as the appropriate way is to add a custom plugin for a contact form. All of the most popular “contact form” plugins are using loads of scripts which are in many cases loaded in even in pages that have no active contact form in them.  A custom plugin was crafted and tailored for html5arena to handle this issue.

5. Signup widget

Same as the contact widget, it is expected that such feature will be separated from the theme, and will be handled by a custom plugin.

6. Lazy loading of widgets

Lazy loading of heavy widgets may reduce page loading time and general user experience. The topic of lazy loading will be covered in detailed in future articles.

7. Views counter

It can be really nice to have if post views will be counted so that posts could be ordered by “popularity”

8. Custom logo on mobile menu

Mobile menu button is “centered” by default, with no placeholder for the site branding. The result is that in some cases, like in html5arena, there could be no branding at all visible in the “above the fold” area of the mobile page. It goes without saying that we really wanted to see html5arena logo on the mobile navigation bar, so we fixed this issue with custom css code.

9. Remove emojies

Ever since it made its way into the core, the wp emojies script is causing many eyebrows to raise.
Does a user of a website really need to load all that script code just to see a nice smiley which is rarely used?

10. Remove or replace the default font.

In many cases, the default font is not the most desired for a particular website. The ability to replace the font in the default theme requires some coding. as the google fonts are part of the core, a better solution would be very useful.

11. Basic SEO features as meta tags and redirects

This website is not using any commercial SEO plugin. A custom, minimal plugin was tailored only for basic features as meta description and title tags. Basic minimal features would be very nice to have by deafult , out of the box installation.

12. Offscreen mobile navigation

Though the default mobile menu is quite cool, light-weight and most importatnt – not based on bootstrap or any other external library, It can be very nice to have some styling options to contol the looks of the mobile menu. The most common thing is having the meny slide to the side, instead of sliding from top to bottom.

13. Basic social sharing buttons

Social sharing widgets are all over the place, we see them in each and every website these days. There is no standard way to ask users of website to share the content with their friends, and therefore that are many types of social sharing widgets , each has its own styling, icons and other tweaks. Having this feature as part of default theme, can bring some order to this aspect of the web.

Conclusion:

Despite all the improvement suggestions described above, html5arena is very bullish on twenty seventeen as it seems to adopt many html5 standards to the next level, now with embedded svg icons, mp4 video background, and other cool features.
This is why we decided to encourage the use of twenty seventeen default theme as well as its concepts and proudly adopt it in html5arena.com.