Feature #16795


Updating default themes on new sites and templates

Added by Laurie Hurson over 1 year ago. Updated 9 months ago.

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Hi All,

On several of the dev/community calls we have discussed updating the default theme on new sites and the templates offered during the creation flow.

Current template sites are below. For Academic, Conference, and Teaching sites, I believe these sites (below) are cloned when a user chooses one of these templates. Is that correct? If so, if I change the theme here, will this update the default theme for any new sites that select the template?

Any new site default theme is Twenty Twenty

Academic Template:

Conference Template:

Teaching Template:

Looking at the templates again, I don't know if we actually need to update the themes for the Academic or Conference templates. Thoughts?

I think new sites and teaching templates would benefit from a new default themes.

Perhaps we make the new default Twenty Twenty Two to be consistent with Wordpress? 2022 theme is more appealing than 2020.

For the teaching template - Colin - are there any themes that have been really popular for BK faculty teaching courses? In my experience a lot of people like the Radiate theme, but we may want something new since a lot of other sites are already using this theme. I will also start a new ticket with suggestions for a few new themes to add to the network.

Actions #1

Updated by Colin McDonald over 1 year ago

Thanks for getting us started on these updates, Laurie. I think they'll make a big difference on teaching courses and elsewhere when the templates are helpful.

I'm adding Boone and Ray here as watchers to confirm that changing the themes you linked will update the default theme for any new sites that select the respective template.

I agree about focusing on updating the New Sites and Teaching themes. Portfolios/Academic and Conferences are more updated and pretty niche, so we might want to research/test more before changing those.

For the New Sites one, going from 2020 to 2022 seems like a good idea. It's a good aesthetic update, and it's also nice that 2022 has the new site editor built in:

This would also work nicely with this documentation Scott's already made:

For Teaching, I'll admit that I've used 2020 a lot lately and tend toward simpler and responsive sites, at least as courses are just getting going and don't have a lot of content (sometimes the theme then just sticks around, though). I like Radiate and could see that working well -- do you have a link or two to a course site using Radiate?

I'll think on other possibilities there. I suppose 2022 would be one, but we may want to mix it up.

Actions #2

Updated by Boone Gorges over 1 year ago

I'm adding Boone and Ray here as watchers to confirm that changing the themes you linked will update the default theme for any new sites that select the respective template.

Confirmed. The site templates or "layouts" are simply prototype sites. Their settings, content, etc are copied in their entirety to newly created sites. Changing any configuration on the template sites, including the theme, will result in those configurations being copied to new sites using the layout.

It's okay with me if we switch to Twenty Twenty-Two for one or more of the templates. But we should be prepared that, by making it the default theme for at least some use cases, many more users will find themselves using the Site Editor than is currently the case. So we should make sure we're happy with the documentation (and links to external documentation, as necessary).

Actions #3

Updated by scott voth over 1 year ago

I agree with Boone that Twenty-Twenty-two might be confusing to those who want to set up teaching sites. Maybe Twenty-Twenty-one would be better, since it does not have the (Beta) Site Editor.

Actions #4

Updated by Laurie Hurson over 1 year ago

Moving away from the standard WP yearly themes, I suggest we go with Polite Minimal (, as the new default theme for the teaching template.

Tested here:

Its clean, simple, easy to understand for a new user, but also has a lot of theme options. What do you all think?

I would recommend we keep the Conference an Academic Portfolio themes the same. I also think we may want to consider renaming "academic portfolio to "faculty portfolio" to deter undergrads from selecting this template.

Actions #5

Updated by Boone Gorges about 1 year ago

  • Assignee set to Laurie Hurson
  • Target version set to Not tracked
Actions #6

Updated by Colin McDonald 9 months ago

That theme looks good on the test site Laurie. Let's see what Scott thinks. Changing from Academic Portfolio to Faculty Portfolio sounds better but I wonder if some students going there to set up a portfolio will still be confused. Maybe being contact with the program about it as you suggested on Tuesday will help too, though.


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