So, you’ve installed a brand spanking new theme and are starting to plough into the prospect of fitting it out with some sweet customisations. Your theme has a bunch of content editable areas for you, because the developer knows you’re smart and can find your way around their very clever structure. You have, what they call in the biz, intuition. So, you go to your Appearance » Widgets and have a scan down the right hand side of the page to decide where you want to put your content.
Easy, right? Personally, I don’t think so… It feels like there’s been little thought given to how they’ve gone about naming widget areas and sidebars. Or, perhaps they’ve given thought to what makes sense to them, the developers, but I wonder how much thought was paid to the people who will be using their theme?
Now, I reckon if, as we’ve already discussed, you have intuition and/or experience, you might figure that Primary Sidebar is the main big, well, sidebar, and the Blog Sidebar is only on the blog. Cool. And if you’ve been around websites as long as I have you might also figure that Secondary Sidebar is for a 3 column layout? and is Tertiary for a 4 column, layout? But after that? I dunno… This is a popular framework and I’m probably missing a heap of functionality that means one can’t explicitly pin down the place you’re putting your widget areas… So don’t hate on me for dissing on it.
However, when I compare that to the below… I don’t have to go far to add another check in the boxes of Genesis Framework* awesome. I’ve added in those three last sidebars with my own names/descriptions, not that I need it because the theme’s not for distribution, but you get the idea… the titles point to their function and the descriptions give useful detail.
What I’m getting at is this. If you’re making a theme, or customising a theme for your client and adding in your own widget areas/sidebars, have a think about the lowest common denominator of users, and write titles and descriptions for your sidebars for THEM… and while I’m thinking about it, while as a dev, you and I both know they’re ALL actually called sidebars in WordPress… your users couldn’t care less what they’re called so long as they make sense… so how about writing titles/descriptions that actually describe their placement and function – In the front end admin, let’s describe widget areas as widget areas, and sidebars as sidebars (IF in fact they really are over on the side…)
Just a thought,