WordPress 4.6 to Update Theme Filter Tags in the Admin

The admin themes browser has been updated and modernized in recent years to make it easier to search through the 3,800+ themes available on WordPress.org. One aspect of the interface that has lagged behind, however, is the list of tags for filtering themes. The tags have gone untouched since back in the day when users would search themes by color.


The WordPress Theme Review Team’s proposal to overhaul the outdated tags/filters is making it into WordPress 4.6. All of the color tags will be removed, which makes sense since many modern themes are customizable when it comes to accent colors. The update will also remove fixed, fluid, and responsive layouts and will add ‘Grid Layout’ to the list. In the list of miscellaneous features, Blavatar will be removed and Footer Widgets will be added.

The Subject section will be completely revamped by removing the all the previous tags and replacing them with a new list of general theme categories:

  • Blog
  • E-Commerce
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Food & Drink
  • Holiday
  • News
  • Photography
  • Portfolio

The tags will also be updated on the WordPress Theme Directory in cooperation with the meta team.

The WordPress theme landscape has changed so much over the years, especially with the introduction of the customizer, and this update will make it easier for users to narrow down themes they want to use. WordPress.org theme authors will want to be ready to update their themes as soon as the new tags are available so that they can be more easily found via search.

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  1. How about Agency/Business filter ? I think it’s would be good to include this.


    1. Yes we need categories like business, corporate, hotel, medical etc that we see in marketplaces. Those are most needed.


  2. Sarah, I have a draft post for the Make Themes blog ready to go that will go into more details. I’m just waiting for the go-ahead that they’re OK to start using in themes, which should be prior to the 4.6 release.


  3. Not sure, what is the difference between “food, holiday, entertainment …” in regards of using a theme. Is there any standard for “food websites” or “holiday website”? Is it that picture in the header like an ocean with sun or some carrots? ;)


    1. Food and Drink are for themes designed primarily for the hospitality industry like restaurants and bars.

      Holiday designs should be holiday-themed: Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. Themes for the holidays.

      Entertainment is for themes catered toward sites that handle gaming, movies, TV, and the like.

      All of these will be explained in the upcoming post I mentioned above. :)


  4. I’d like a “freemium” tag to filter such themes out, but something tells me that it’s never gonna happen…


    1. I hate it when we download themes that falsely state they are free but are actually demos only. WordPress please fix this.


  5. The update will also remove fixed, fluid, and responsive layouts

    What’s the explanation behind that? Seems like one of the most important things to filter by to me…


    1. Based on our research, surveys, and discussions, “responsive-layout” was pretty much always searched for. Given that the vast majority of new themes and theme updates in the past few years are responsive themes, it means that searching for a responsive theme isn’t actually narrowing the search results.

      “Fluid-layout” was often mistaken for meaning the same thing as “responsive-layout”. And, “fixed-layout” wasn’t searched for much and was often mistaken for non-responsive.

      Essentially, it’s not that these tags were not important aspects of a theme. It’s that they’re not actually helping users narrow down their search results in any meaningful ways.

      In the upcoming post on the Make Themes blog, I’ll be posting links to all of the previous discussions and such. That way, everyone can go back and read through the reasons specific tags were decided on.


      1. At least in my view, responsive means it adapts to the device and resolution, possibly changing layout to be more appropriate. Fluid means it fills the screen/window while keeping the layout the same, so significant difference between the two. While fixed is, well, fixed, doesn’t care.


      2. Please add: completely free, free demo with disabled features, free with features disabled until paid, etc as search options somehow. I just want to search for free themes sometimes.


  6. As I have made clear on many occasions, I absolutely hate the customizer, but I have always agreed with the Theme Review Team’s decision to require support for it in the wordpress.org repository because I thought such standardization would help facilitate an overhaul of the theme search facility.

    It’s taken a bit longer than I’d hoped, but this is a very welcome development. (And I can still turn off the customizer using an appropriate plugin!)


  7. So if I was, say, a plumber (or contractor or accountant, etc) looking for a new theme where would I look?

    It can’t be E-Commerce so it looks like there are some things missing from that list to me.


    1. If we start getting a large number of themes catered to plumbers, it’d make sense that we’d add a tag for that.

      In our meeting today, we’ll be discussing a more formal, ongoing process for updating the tags in the future.


      1. Ok, forget the plumber example.

        How would you classify a BUSINESS that isn’t ecommerce with the list you have now?

        Think any and all of the following:

        Accountant, lawyer, anything construction, car wash, car parts business, piano store, payroll company, architect, gym, power plant, *put any number of thousands more examples here*.

        I wasn’t trying to be literal in the first example.

        Bloody devs. Never looking at the real world. ;-)


      2. Wait for the upcoming post (we haven’t even officially announced the change) and read all the discussions that took place and the decisions that were made along the way. The proposal wasn’t meant to cover and classify every example in the world. The proposal was to start an ongoing process of improving the tags over time. Iteration is the name of the game. Small improvements over time should be favored over trying to get it right on the first go. Consider the current tags round #1.

        There are specific reasons for every tag that was chosen or not chosen. Some tags that I loved and wanted were voted against. Everyone had their chance for input and to sway others. Ultimately, compromises had to made.

        In today’s team meeting, we also proposed an ongoing process for updating the tags on a yearly basis. If you feel strongly about adding/removing specific tags, please get involved with the process.

        Also, I wasn’t taking your plumber example literally (I doubt anyone believes we’ll get tons of plumber themes). :) Users still have the actual search field. So, if there’s not a specific tag, a user can enter search terms. The tags are just a way of narrowing the list down.


      3. SVG support would also be a nice topic to talk about. Nasty code can easily be added to PNG files etc but that rarely happens so why can’t an admin person making a site have the ability to upload their own SVG files natively?


  8. I think its a good decision considering the fact filters aren’t used that much. I would suggest use of categories instead like photography, blogging, hotel, business and medical etc.


  9. I think the subject field is misleading if it is going to be limited.

    Further, the subject field has both subjects and purposes in it.

    Purposes are : Blog, Portfolio, eCommerce, Informational, Service

    Subjects are: Education, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Holiday, News, Photography

    Other subjects could be travel, real estate, medical, gaming etc etc

    I think those five purposes cover most websites.

    Of course, some sites are multipurpose. e.g. an educational site may be both Informational (documentation) and a Service (online training); a gaming site could be a Service (online games) and have a Blog; a news site is mostly a Blog, but some use eCommerce to sell photos; a real estate site is a Service and Informational; a photography site is a Portfolio and may a Blog.

    I don’t know if this break between purpose and subject is necessary, that’s an aside and something to think about.

    But I do think such a limited list of subjects may be confusing – or in modern speak, not good UX.


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