Looping video backgrounds are very popular on home pages. I decided to make a homepage module so WordPress users could quickly build one on their home pages. Users only need a short video clip and some homepage module settings to complete this task. The configuration options for this module are:
Select a video (mp4) from the WordPress Media Library.
Add any text content or basic HTML content to be overlayed over the looping video.
Select the overlaying text’s color.
Select the opacity of the video.
Select the height of the video.
Position the Video Background module on your homepage with the Redux Homepage Layout Manager. So fast!
When you decrease video opacity, an underlying background line pattern reveals itself. Decreasing video opacity and exposing the background pattern improves the visibility and readability of the overlaying text content. There is a working example of this module at the bottom of my homepage but only temporarily.
After building a parallax in a client site, I decided that my clients might want to create or edit their own parallax. A web parallax is a vertically fluid scrolling of images and text. A parallax is easier to understand than to describe, so see this example parallax. I am using the Redux framework on the backend of a WordPress site for a content provider to easily build and configure the parallax. Here were my goals to create the parallax on a Bootstrap homepage:
the parallax’s position on the homepage could be changed
the parallax could easily be activated or removed from the homepage
the number and order of parallax images needed to be adjustable and re-ordered
the floating parallax text blocks could be easily edited
the parallax could have an optional title
the height of parallax images could be adjusted
the opacity of the parallax images could be adjusted
there could be no client coding, only WordPress content provider skills required
What made my project really work was Redux’s slides field. This field allows the user to create any number of slides which each includes: an image, a title, and a text block, so you can create a parallax with an unlimited number of slides. The slides can also be reordered by dragging each slide to your desired sort order, the top slide displays first. I also added adjustments for the background images’ height and opacity. Making adjustments to the parallax couldn’t be easier.
Adding images and text blocks within the Redux homepage theme options
Your site’s homepage is the most important page of your site. It is where your visitors land and the homepage needs to be interesting to keep your visitors at your site. This is an introduction to creating a WordPress homepage with the Redux options framework installed within the WordPress theme. The framework allows non-technical content providers to create and modify the layout of the homepage without ever losing its professional design. The framework allows WordPress developers to create Dashboard theme options to further enhance the look and functionality of a great homepage.
The Redux framework can integrate with any part of a WordPress website but this post only covers using the theme options to configure the homepage. WordPress’ post editor is fine for creating a post or a simple webpage. But in many cases, content providers don’t have the time or knowledge to create a quality homepage. Not only does the homepage need to look good, but it needs to be a fully responsive page that displays properly with all internet devices. The Redux framework allows content providers to quickly refresh their home pages; resulting in a homepage that is never stale.
How does all this work? A nice homepage has blocks of content that make up the page’s design. The homepage highlights various content within the website. One block of homepage content might highlight a featured post known as a Jumbotron content block. Redux calls these blocks of content modules. Inside the theme’s options panel is the Homepage Layout Manager, where homepage modules are organized. Only enabled modules are displayed on the homepage. These draggable modules can also be reorder, which changes their positions on the homepage. The content provider never writes the homepage content, they configure the modules to create a homepage design.
My WordPress theme has ten homepage modules to choose from. Below are some module descriptions and their settings.
Widgets (3 column)
Fullscreen Video Background
The Hero Content is simply a header title and header image for the top of the homepage. The content provider can easily change the title and header image in a minute.
The Hero Post module if enabled displays the content of the latest post published.
The Jumbotron allows you to highlight any other web page or post with a bit of text, an image, and a connecting link.
Page Content brings in content that is on your designated front page.
The Two Columns module displays a title followed by two blocks of text. The content provider provides the title and two blocks of text in the module’s settings.
The Divisor modules are used to visually separate other modules. The overlay text and text color can be changed, and the background image can easily be changed; its height and image opacity can be adjusted within the module settings.
The Portfolio module displays a thumbnail image (and link) to your latest three projects. The module’s settings allows you to change the number of displayed portfolio projects on the homepage.
If you like to work with WordPress widgets (Appearance>Widgets), you can enable the Widgets module to display widget content in a three column layout on the homepage.
The Services module displays text blocks of each service you offer. You decide how many to display and if you want to include an icon image from Font Awesome’s icon library.
The Slider module allows you create a Media Library gallery which slides each selected gallery image across the homepage. The Wide Slider gives you a full page width gallery.
With the Google Map module, you just enter your latitude and longitude values in the homepage theme options, then, drag the map module to its homepage position. This seems incredibly easy for clients to insert fully responsive Google maps into their WordPress site. You can also embed Google My Maps if you want customized maps with an advanced map editor.
The tabbed panel module is very similar to the standard tabbed panels you find on many sites.
The video player module embeds videos from Vimeo or uTube. Just enter the URL to your movie.
This where you use a looping video (no video player) as a background to some text content.
The parallax module creates a fluid scrolling effect over a number of images and inserted text.
Configuring the homepage is easy with the Layout Manager in the Theme Options. Just enable the modules you want, order the module layout, and set any module settings that may exist. Content providers can quickly create a perfect responsive homepage layout without any coding or even messing with the WordPress editor.
Recently I decided to improve my WordPress photo gallery. The goal was to improve my pictures when viewed with the new high-end retina or 4K displays. This post covers some of the challenges I encountered and image technology improvements that WordPress now offers.
A 4K screen means 4000 pixels across and now there are even 5K displays available. Apple’s retina iMac display has 5220 pixels. The upper end of TVs now boast 4K as the new hi-def plateau in picture resolution. If you have professional photography or artwork that you want to present visually at the highest quality, then, you may need to upload higher resolution images to display optimally on these new retina/4K/5K displays. Retina images (so called 2x images) double the amount of pixels that your image will be displayed at (e.g 200 x 200 pixels), and inserting the 2x image into half of that space (100 x 100 pixels). In many ways using web images has become more complex and having the optimal images delivered to the many different types of internet devices has become tricky. Internet devices come in many sizes now, some displays are retina quality and others are not. So what size of image is going to work with such a wide range of internet devices/displays? The answer is no image size will work effectively for all the possible devices and display resolutions.
The last time I wrote an article about WordPress it was at version 3.5 and having a WordPress site that was responsive to all the new internet devices was the upgrade goal for many WordPress sites. This post focuses on working with images and widgets including some new features of WordPress 3.9 and a couple of the newer plugins available within the Jetpack set of WordPress plugins.