Amanda, Boone and I have been having a conversation over on Github, and I thought I would bring it over to the public forums because more people interact here.
The issue we are seeing is how different themes deal with headers and header menus. With the current implementation of the OpenLab header:
- There is often a small white spacer and black divider line between the end of the OpenLab Header and the start of the user website.
- Depending on the theme, that space may stop sticky headers from looking professional, because the header that should be at the top of the screen will float a little lower.
- Finally, if the header overflows (if a plugin adds additional content that does not fit) the header will expand to a second row, but the content isn’t pushed farther, rather it will hover over the menu of the user’s site.
The thread on Github has a conversation about this and includes screenshots.
In my suggestions, I’ve made some assumptions:
- The OpenLab Universal Header is based on WordPress’ default logged in header that is normally at the top of the webpage, is only available to logged in users (though there are plugins that make it always show), and it is sticky (it stays at the top of the page, even if you scroll down).
- My second big assumption is that getting code like this to work properly, changing core features in WordPress that interact with every theme will always a little bit hacky because there are so many theme designers and small differences in how they code might mess whatever OpenLab does.
So on github I said 3 suggestions off the top of my head (all of which would make the universal header more like WordPress’ default header, which I hope would make it work more uniformly with any theme.)
- Make the universal header smaller, more like the black toolbar on this page. This would probably kill the icons that most of us use, and we would either have to replace with shorter icons, or use the site icon that is designed to look good small.
- Make it sticky to the top of the page.
- Give users the option to hide the universal header for non-logged in users if it messes with their design.
I wrote on github, “I’m going to say something that might sound a little hyperbolic, because a little gap in the header or header misbehaving doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I actually believe that the header right now is one of the biggest issues in OpenLab. Other features are nice, but at its core, what we want students to be able to do is making really great-looking websites, and any issue with the header, however small sticks out like a sore thumb.”
What do you think?