WordPress 4.5 to Introduce Native Support for a Theme Logo

In October 2014, Jetpack 3.2 introduced a new site logo feature for theme developers. As Jetpack is widely used, it provided a way for theme developers to easily build in logo support, thereby increasing data portability across themes.

After discussion in yesterday’s core development meeting, WordPress 4.5 is now set to introduce theme support for a site logo using code that was ported over from Jetpack’s implementation. Themes will be able to declare support via: add_theme_support( 'site-logo', size ), which will add the site logo upload to the customizer.

Image credit: Ryan Boren
Image credit: Ryan Boren

According to release lead Mike Schroder, WordPress 4.5 will ship with a new version of Twenty Sixteen that will support a site logo as an example implementation for theme developers.

Adding a Site Logo was Not Intuitive for Users During Testing

In the corresponding ticket, a few WordPress contributors were concerned about users experiencing confusion between the “Site Icon” and “Site Logo” features. Tammie Lister conducted two users tests, which she posted on the make.wordpress.org/flow blog.

The first user landed on Appearance > Header and said, “I’m not really sure if this is the logo where I should be adding this.” She goes back to the admin, returns again to the header setting, and then finally lands on the customizer. She mistakenly added a site icon thinking it was the logo. Eventually, she found the correct setting and added the logo.

The second tester first landed on the Tools menu and then navigated to Appearance, got lost in the theme browser, and then landed on Customize. She thought she was on the wrong screen and went back. She navigated to Settings, Users, and several other screens in the process of trying to find the right place to upload the logo. Eventually she found it with the explicit instructions included in the testing round for those who are having trouble.

Both test users struggled to find this feature. Based on these tests, it does not appear that adding a site logo is very intuitive for users who are not working in WordPress every day. Watching the test users struggle through the admin in search of this setting is rather painful.

“Discoverability of the feature isn’t great,” Lister reported when summarizing the results of her testing. “Perhaps this is ok as a theme feature. Perhaps we need to ensure publicity of this feature and documentation. Once people find it and use it the actual process makes sense.”

Two Jetpack support personnel joined the conversation to report that the site logo feature has been well tested while used in the plugin and that they receive very few questions about it.

“I can’t recall a single case where a user was confused about how to use the Site Logo, nor a single instance where a user confused it with the Site Icon,” Kathryn Presner said.

Several contributors involved in the conversation commented that the feature seemed rushed. Given that nearly every modern website has a logo, this feature is one that is likely to be widely used with theme support. Theme authors will be the ones to add support for a site logo and field questions about how to use it. Based on the user tests, however, a brand new WordPress user with a vanilla site running Twenty Sixteen may be in for a bit of a hunt when trying to upload a logo.

Schroder pulled the trigger yesterday to include the feature in the upcoming release and it is now available in the first beta released last night. If you want to help test, the easiest way is to use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin and select “bleeding edge nightlies.”


19 responses to “WordPress 4.5 to Introduce Native Support for a Theme Logo”

  1. The user testing was more revealing about discovering where to customize stuff than issues with the site logo, at least from what I understood.

    I’m just happy we’re finally getting a core standard for this. Given the 100s of themes with their own implementation, it makes sense that core would standardize this. The concept has been well tested for years in themes (and Jetpack). It’s a natural progression that core would get it, just like core standardized post classes, body classes, featured images, and other features that started out in the theme space. There’s an obvious need for it.

      • Apart from the top level menu items, there has to be at least a general idea of how the system works in order to find stuff, any stuff. But that said, I don’t know how one second or third level menu entry could be any more or less intuitive than any other.

        And how the testers are selected? Are they totally new to WordPress or do they have a level of prior experience?

        • Also, I’ve never figured out that Feedback option. I’m not even 100% sure it is part of WP core.

          If I were a theme developer or making money with WordPress clients I might be more of an expert. But, I’m not. I use WP to publish my content but my focus is on my content. Likely that is the difference in the experience people have with WordPress.

      • It may not be “correct” to post this here, but I’ve been looking at TYPO3. It seems to have more options for things I want (with free add-ons) and it has some of the user friendliness or intuitiveness which WordPress has lost (a little) since WP4. There is documentation for WP but I really don’t want to read through a document for every change, glitch or update. I’m only speaking/ typing for myself and I do think very well of WordPress and the people who work on it. But, I’ve been keeping blogs a long time and I find WP is limited by the available plugins.

  2. The site logo is something that can be added to the header, other than the header image? But, I don’t have anything to use as a logo. Nice option but more like an extra toy to either play with or spend money on. Luckily it’s just an added frill so I can skip it until I actually figure out how to make a logo that isn’t too hopeless.

    At first seeing this logo post I thought it was a way for theme developers to add their logo to any sites using the theme. I wonder how many others will be confused in the same way.

    • No sure how you’d be spending money on a feature being added to core WP.

      Logos are just images that typically replace the site title. They have been around for as long as Web design has been around. This is just going to be a standardized method of handling the feature in themes. If the theme doesn’t support the logo feature, the option won’t appear. It’s really nothing more than that.

  3. Core has to have some useless feature every release, this is the useless feature of 4.5 :(, This feature is designed with the best practices of 2010 instead of 2016. There is no way to add a retina enhanced versions of the logo and no way to add “mobile” version, so this feature is not “responsive” nor retina friendly by design.

    To add insult to injury, a major aspect of having a logo is its placement which in the real life have to take into account the other elements of the page and you can not just place it at top left corner and hope for the best. There is no placement support in this feature.

    It is totally possible that only 1% of the users care about what I said above, and the feature will turn out to be a huge success, but the proper development here, since there is no real feedback about how the feature is being used in jetpack, is to first push it only into the default themes to get the feedback and after that decide if it is core worthy. This feature could have waited for 4.6, their is no reason to rush it into 4.5.

    As for discoverability, this is a two edged sword. If the feature is a “theme optional” thing, why would people assume it is at the costumizer at all, but once it is in core and every new user learns where it is from the default themes, every theme that do not implement it will get support questions of the type “I have a bug, I went to change the site logo but the thing is not there”. The theme review team might as well add it as a requirement.

    sorry for the long rant. This is absolutely the last core ticket I am getting involved with so I am hoping that all future rants will be only half fact based as true comment on the internet are supposed to be.

    • This is kind of telling:

      Core has to have some useless feature every release, this is the useless feature of 4.5 :(, This feature is designed with the best practices of 2010 instead of 2016. There is no way to add a retina enhanced versions of the logo and no way to add “mobile” version, so this feature is not “responsive” nor retina friendly by design.

      Before the last update of WordPress, my video embeds were all fully responsive. The video screen would adapt to browser screen.

      Now? If I visit my blog on mobile, video embeds (using the new oAuth embed option with just a link) display outside the window.

      I thought it was just a glitch, but now I’m beginning to think less so.

      And no retina display option in 2016? Ugh.

  4. This will strengthen the Customizer and, as the Customizer gets better and better I will use it more and more.

    Most sites want a logo first thing. If this isn’t something that shouldn’t be part of Core I don’t know what exceeds it.

    Ask the question, “What are the items most sites want to customize?” Logos are at the top of that list for sure. Site icons (favicons) are up towards the top of the list too. Fonts, colors, layout, etc.

    So sure Site Logos should have been the FIRST thing added to Customizer.

    • That is exactly how all software fuckups start, everybody demands “A” but no one actually bother to define what is A. To say that I want a logo is like saying that I want a “car”. What car and how it will be used is as important as having 4 wheels and an engine. In the beginning of the 20th century saying that you need a “car” was good enough, you even knew its color, but .that is no longer true, now you don’t want a car but a roadstar, an SVU a truck or a jeep or just a family car.

      You should download the beta and let us know how much effort this feature would have saved you.on the sites you develop/manage

  5. The feature is new in core and can only improve with time plus constructive feedback.

    Yes core places the logo at the top left but theme developers have the options to add styling support to their themes – you can put the logo anywhere you like for that matter.

    In Actions (yet to be reviewed) I have the logo placed to the left of the site title which is done with a little css. It runs off a function so themers can very easily add filters for easy manipulation via say a plugin and it wouldn’t be too difficult to add in retina support.

    A very welcome addition IMHO – weldone team :)

  6. Great to see this being included in Core! Standardization of common elements like this is progress that helps to make WordPress easier to use for the novice and more powerful for the experts. Jetpack is good but not everyone wants to install it (or any other plugin for that matter).


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