As you probably know, each and every year, WordPress comes out with a new default theme. This is the theme which is uploaded automatically to WordPress when you first create a new blog. Each theme is very unique, and what’s neat is that WordPress allows you to access all of the previous themes from every single year… so, if there’s one you like, fear not, it doesn’t go away the following year. It’ll no longer be the default theme, BUT you can still access it free. This year, we have a really nice default theme, so I wanted to take a little time out to talk to you about it, and why I personally like it.
The Previous WordPress Default Themes
The previous default themes for WordPress have been good, so I wanted to touch on them real quick, so we can better understand what’s changed now in 2015. So, first, I’d like to talk about the theme for 2013. Twenty Thirteen (2013) was kind of a loud theme, having a lot going on at the top… which is somewhat uncustomary for WordPress default themes in general. The design at the top was rather extravagant, with the header portion at the top featuring an overly decorative design, with orange circles (of varying different shades), as well as some brown circles and abstract designs.
Aside from that though, 2013 was a VERY simple, and standard blog layout. which features the primary nav bar at the top of the page, and then lists all the blog posts right underneath it. This is probably the most common blog design within WordPress, because it allows people to quickly see all your top posts right there, in descending order, from newest to oldest. Overall, 2013 was a pretty decent theme, but they had a lot of room to do better.
So, onto Twenty Fourteen (2014), which was a wildly different theme from 2013, but still a good one in its own right. It features a black side-bar down the left, and the same color header across the top. Just like the 2013 theme, you see the blogs listed there in descending order once again, but don’t let that fool you, because this is still a very different theme. It features the search bar still (as 2013 did as well) but it’s been moved from the upper-right to the upper-left this time, right at the top of the left-hand sidebar.
What’s interesting about this theme, is that it displays a good bit of information down the left-hand side, such as a brief summary of recent posts, which is nice, and below that, it shows the last few most recent comments. Handy. Just below that it will display the archives, so people can peruse through your posts from the last few months. Last, but certainly not least, it shows you the categories after that. Overall, this is one of the most navigable WordPress theme which WordPress has ever put out as a default theme. Right on the left-hand side, people can quickly find virtually anything they’re looking for fairly fast, which I love. Now, one thing which I don’t like about it however, is that the menu fonts are in reverse-type (a light font on a dark background) and it doesn’t really offer a large font size for that text either, which can make it difficult to read, especially for elders. It doesn’t offer the fast, “in your face” nav bar that some other options have given in the past.
Let’s Talk About the Twenty Fifteen (2015) Theme
On the whole, it looks to me like they basically took the 2014 theme, and modified in a way which fixes its previous flaws and makes it a better theme overall. It certainly beats the 2013 theme, in my opinion, and many other previous themes.
So, what do I like about it? Well, like I said, the 2014 theme had a couple of issues, in particular the font on the left-hand nav bar being a bit difficult to read (reverse-type is statistically proven to take people between 2.5 to 3 times longer to read overall), and in general, the left-hand nav bar was just very small, considering all the things you access with it (recent posts, comments, categories, etc).
For 2015, it looks like WordPress brazenly made the nav bar much wider overall, so it really takes up a lot more room of the page. In fact, I’d say it takes up probably around two times as much… which you might think is A LOT, but really, I’d say it’s well justified. The truth is, you don’t REALLY need that much space to show off your recent blog posts… I mean, the posts themselves aren’t typically extremely “wide” so doubling its width was a good choice in my humble opinion.
Not only did they practically double its size they also made it a very simple, very clean black font color on a standard white background, thus, making the whole thing easier to read, and on top of that, they increased the font size as well. It’s not as “fancy” or professional looking perhaps as 2014, but in my opinion, it certainly gets the job done, and offers a very nice, unique simplicity, which gives you what you need for a clean, easily navigable blog, and takes out what you don’t need. Now again, it still features all the exact same items on the menu bar as the previous theme, and in all the same order, just a bit easier to read.
I’ll also add real quick, that with the added space in the nav bar, they also moved the search bar onto it as well, and I think it’s in a great spot. Previously, the search bar was hidden as a small icon of a magnifying glass in the upper-left, but now, in this theme, it’s pretty hard for you to miss.
In conclusion, I really think this is quite possibly the best default theme put out to date, because it can work with nearly any type of blog, is clean, simple, easy to navigate, and quickly gives you all the options you want right off the bat, like 2014 did, but with better proportions overall. I think it’ll probably be hard for 2016 or other future default themes to top this one, but we’ll see.