Still No Wood Grain: WP Tavern Design Update

Screenshot of the WordPress Tavern homepage.
WP Tavern homepage design.

It has been a bit of a slow news week in the land of WordPress with the COVID-19 pandemic reaching across the globe. Most people are hunkering down or getting accustomed to a change in their daily lives. For some people, that has meant figuring out a way to work with children at home. For others, it has meant they cannot take their daily lunch with colleagues or friends.

With far less WordPress-specific news going on, it made for an ideal time to put some work into the WP Tavern website. Most weeks, I am far too busy sifting through stories to put the amount of work I want into updating the design, but I am trying to treat this week as a little bit of a blessing and look at the upside.

Not much has changed with the overall layout of the site, but I was able to tackle a couple of issues that you, our readers, have been asking for.

The biggest change that you will notice is a new header design. On mobile devices, it will look the same. However, on larger screens, the header expands to reveal a search form with a navigation menu below. The header colors have been updated. With more horizontal space, the menu also has extra links pointing to our primary categories, which has also been an oft-requested change.

While these changes may seem minor, I wanted to address some of the bigger user-experience issues that you all have messaged about. There is still more work to do, but I want you to know that we are listening to your feedback.

The major roadblock with this design iteration was related to the block editor’s markup changes. These changes will land in WordPress 5.4, so theme authors need to make sure they are prepared.

I wanted to spend more time working on front-end updates, but correcting editor issues took precedence. It has not been a great experience writing on the site for the past week without theme styles being properly applied. The block editor’s default font size is far too small for my poor eyesight, so backend work moved to the top of the to-do list.

Aside from those changes, I cleaned up several trivial issues that have been bugging me but would go unnoticed by visitors. Work on a website design is never finished, and I look forward to continuing molding things to better serve our readers.

One of the things I want to tackle next is featuring comments from you all in better ways. We have done a little of this with our From the Comments series, but that is just the first step toward building more of a community atmosphere. As always, feedback is welcome.

Everyone stay safe during this rough patch the world is going through.


25 responses to “Still No Wood Grain: WP Tavern Design Update”

  1. Under the hood improvment is anever ending job but a necessary one! Good luck!

    WPTavern had become a major media on the WP community over the years.
    Like I said on Twitter before, minimalism is great but the Tavern’s identity has vanished since the redesign. I like the content first priority but the wood grain background was the only distinguishing design feature I am able to remember.

    I am not saying you have to bring it back (kidding just bring it back pleeeeease) but it’s hard to identify WPTavern compared to another random media with clean minimalist theme design.

    Imho something is missing!

  2. “The biggest change that you will notice is a new header design. On mobile devices, it will look the same. However, on larger screens, the header expands to reveal a search form with a navigation menu below. ”

    Isn’t that a major problem? Mobile users shouldn’t lose functionality. Can’t the search box be added to the end of the menu?

  3. Hi,
    Please check the header on the small devices. iPhone SE here and the hamburger icon is not inline with the logo. It’s especially discomforting for sticky feature, because the header take up really much space of the viewport height.


    • Thanks. It looks like that has been a long-standing issue on devices that size. I’m surprised it hasn’t come up. It should be fixed now.

      • Oh, yes it was a long standing issue. But I can confirm, it’s fixed now. Thanks

  4. The most important element for recognition and distinction is still not back: The Logo!

    I am missing the beer mug:-(

    • It’s more than nostalgia. Things like the wood grain and logo, although arguably dated, were part of the site personality and to strip them out makes no sense. It’s completely bereft of any kind of character now. There’s not even a nod towards the site history.

  5. Does the featured article has to be black`? It looks a bit like a death notice.

    • It’s just the regular WordPress RSS feed and unrelated to the site’s theme. I don’t see any issues with it. I’m subscribed to the feed, and it has been coming through fine for me. It may have been a temporary issue.

  6. Hi!
    Homepage looks great. What’s your main theme? Are you using Gutenberg or a builder?

  7. We’re gonna miss the wood grain but it’s obvious that you have to move with the times. The present design is Ok, however a little bit more white spaces between post excerpts could be worth considering

  8. Until recently, on a desktop in the comments of your posts, it used to be that hovering over the “Liked by…” would display who it was that liked the post.

    That is no longer the case. Bug, or an intentional change?


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