WordPress Articles

Putting Layers into the Spotlight: A New Approach to Web Design

November 23, 2018
Layers WP, WordPress Page Builder Theme

Nothing could be more user-friendly than Layers, a popular WordPress theme that caters exactly to the user’s ease and benefit. Created by the team behind Obox Themes, the simplicity and flexibility of its design and its point-and-click site building system remove the usual hassles associated with creating a website from scratch. It provides a fresh innovative take on web design without sacrificing any hint of functionality.

Introducing Layers

To start with, Layers is a free and open-source theme framework made using an HTML and CSS front-end structure. It was specifically created for WordPress, a website that operates as a content management system, a publishing platform, or, in more colloquial terms, a blog. The overall UI of Layers is native to WordPress itself, which means one doesn’t need to learn an entirely new site system before using it. It’s designed to make the process of building and customizing sites easier and faster.

Layers works directly with the main core of WordPress and simply extends to its functionality. It’s built within the WordPress theme customizer, though WordPress itself doesn’t permit the installation of any theme or plug-in outside of their marketplace. To use the advanced features offered by Layers, the user must host WordPress.

Words to Know

  1. Theme: This is the first thing visitors see upon stumbling your site. Simply put, a theme is the visual display of the site’s contents and features. It represents the structure used to hold all the site’s functions together.
  2. Parent theme: It’s a special type of theme written specially to allow wide customization of content. In general, developers extend Layers through Child Themes or Extensions, as theme frameworks are not intended for direct modification. This approach ensures layout portability among different platforms.
  3. Child theme: A child theme inherits all the functionalities of its parent theme, or otherwise known as a theme framework. It’s a place to put additional stuff on the overall theme, a trait that permits one to easily switch between pre-made layouts and templates without messing with the base functionality.
  4. Extension: Self-explanatory in its name, it’s a WordPress plug-in that works to extend the current theme. It’s specifically designed to work with Layers and allows the user to stack extra customization on top of the theme’s fundamental framework.
  5. Widget: It designates a block of content in a given page. Often it makes room for headers, sidebars, buttons and sliders, to start with.

List of Features

In Layers, emphasis is placed on speed and agility. With the aim to be as lightweight as possible, the framework attempts to avoid all the clunky interface issues that other themes often face. The outcome is increased site stability, better usability, and overall performance improvement. The open-source nature of Layers also contributes to its user-oriented structure. It has something for every type of web user, from the average blogger to the professional developer.

As a theme framework, the primary feature of Layers is its highly flexible customization system. The interface as a whole gives a considerate amount of control over the visual components of the site and provides enough freedom in adding or styling page content. Offered to users is a wide range of custom widgets, templates and pre-built site layouts to kick things off when first establishing the site.

Layers WP Features List

Drag-and-drop interface

Following the trend of other web creation tools, Layers employs the point-and-click system, which enables the user to practice their web layout skills without having any coding experience beforehand. This ease provided by the theme allows one to bypass the manual and sometimes frustrating process of writing or manipulating chunky HTML and CSS code. For the Layers framework, one must simply drag and drop whatever content they intend to manipulate. This allows for almost effortless editing and enhances the experience of managing multiple blocks of content in the site. In turn, the user can then arrange the site’s contents based on each’s purpose or role in the overall layout.

Widget customization

Layers utilizes widget customization technology. Customization tools are automatically put inline, and the foundation block of the site is built using horizontal rows, with each row able to be occupied by one widget. The purpose of widgets is to cleanly divide the website design into as many sections as one wants to have. The user then decides the content that each widget contains. For Layers, there are various kinds of widgets available. Including are posts widget, slider widget and map widget, among others. Additionally, Layers also accepts third party widgets and custom-made widgets.

The theme framework makes it so that configuring widgets is easy and uncomplicated. For posts widget, the user can decide what posts to display, how many to show all at once, their layout in the site, the categories and more. This allows for easy blogging as the latest content can always be managed by the user. Layers also provides the access to tailor the design and appearance of each widget, whether it be its ratios, colors, fonts, formats or other features.

Layers WP Widgets List

Tools and plug-ins

The theme framework grants access to the usage of multiple plug-ins. These plug-ins are generally installed to enhance the site customization experience and go beyond the current functionalities of the base theme. It is to be noted again that Layers was never meant to be modified in itself. Its main role is to allow child themes and layouts to be extended and edited using its features. The ideal approach therefore to create backup templates in which tweaks could be made, added, erased and modified as one pleases.

Page layout templates

Included in the Layers package is a selection of pre-built page templates to provide the default formatting of static pages. These templates are also easily customizable, and the user can add or remove widgets as they please. Regardless of what changes are implemented, a key feature of the theme framework is its mobile friendliness. The website that has Layers installed is privileged with a mobile-responsive layout. Example pre-made layout templates are a homepage layout, a portfolio page, and a contact information page.

Because Layers is a WordPress theme, this poses difficulties in changing themes in the future. As prominent in drag-and-drop site builders, altering the foundation theme at causes the site to lose every progress and custom work done on it. Any content added to the site through widgets also gets lost in the process.

Live preview

Page modifications are shown in real time. The user has continuous live access to every change they make on the site. In short, results can easily be previewed just as soon as it’s processed, which equates to faster feedback and, in turn, smoother work. There is no need to go through the hassle of switching browser tabs, opening new windows, or refreshing the page every few minutes just to load the changes. On another note, one can use the live preview feature to view their website from a visitor or a passerby’s perspective and check if the layout’s contents are showing up as it’s properly arranged. This especially helps when trying to view the site pages from a different platform or browser.

Layers WP More Features

Technical Details

Layers function well in both desktop and mobile platforms, though issues might present when using earlier versions of browsers. Taken into account are the type of browser and operation system used. Layers currently supports most major versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer. The last one requires version 10 and above. Browser support on the whole heavily depends on the HTML, CSS and JS standards the site follows.

International English is used as the primary language for the framework. The availability of other translations largely depends on open-source contribution and public demand. As of version 1.2.14, Layers has seen progress in fourteen languages. On the other hand, the framework is now packaged with five official languages, providing support for localization in German, Turkish, Spanish and Simplified Chinese.

Layers is subject to trademark laws and the GPL 2.0 License. Obox Themes owns the rights to Layers and its core contents. It can be redistributed without proper credit nor can it be modified in terms of the branding. For all purposes, the framework and extended child themes can be freely downloaded for either personal use or commercial purposes. Extensions can be sold for profit as long as the original brand has not been reattributed or tampered with.

Applications in real life setting

Today, Layers has found active use in many websites of various goals and agendas. It has been utilized in photography logs, educational blogs, branding sites, business databases, online stores, freelance portfolios, and so much more.

A fully functioning website can serve as a good storage of information, putting multiple sets of data into one single space. This makes it easier to keep track of online activity, but of course a website must also have an excellent template to boot. Layers acts as a productive supplement to project management, providing control over tasks and team efficiency. Customization settings also give the means to create tools specifically meant for the user’s objective. The use of widgets can be a good means to make lists with clean formatting.

When the theme framework is utilized properly, one can see its compatibility with real life functions and therefore reap its benefits at the maximum.

Premium

Layers is free and available for use online. However, users have an option to upgrade to the Pro version and get access to better features. Layers Pro is treated as an extension that can be installed like a plug-in. For its features, it enables advanced customization of logos, background, image options, menu styling and site colors. This package introduces a wider range of control over web customizability.

Parameters have been tightly set on Layers to ensure that it doesn’t discriminate against new users, especially those not familiar with WordPress standards. Applying for the Pro version removes all those boundaries and exposes the user to full freedom and design potential.

For Layers Pro, background videos are allowed for the first time. These includes both third-party videos and self-hosted videos. To maintain the mobile responsiveness that Layers advocates for, background videos automatically swap to images when viewed in smaller screens in an attempt to reduce rendering times.

More emphasis is put on header modification. Logo can now be resized or enlarged. Headers can contain background images. Height, spacing and other variables can be tweaked according to one’s wishes. Menu links can be altered in a way that they either promote beauty or readability.

There is new control given over the type of information being displayed in a page. A content block can simply be toggled on or off, and without ever directly manipulating the source code.

Layers Pro sees a more detailed attention to colors. Text colors in buttons, widgets and menus can be manipulated. Background colors of headers and footers can be controlled. Border color, radius, and thickness are now available in this version.

Lastly, there is also the addition of entirely new widgets, exclusive to Layers Pro. Much more features are present in this package. For example, page animations are added in Pro.

To summarize, Layers Pro unlocks even more opportunities for theme customization. Even so though, the free version certainly doesn’t lose in quality. It’s then left to the user’s choice on whether they want to fully maximize their web design opportunities. For the purchase, they as the buyer are given three choices, in that they can either go for the single domain package, multiple domains package, or the unlimited domains package.

Review and Conclusion

Overall, Layers promotes an efficient, intuitive and versatile web design experience that isn’t always provided by other theme frameworks. Familiarity with WordPress is a big plus, but regardless picking Layers up is a relatively quick and easy procedure. The theme framework is designed to be simple, not resorting to the bulky scripts that other frameworks implement. As a result, its structure is very accessible to the general public.

If one desires to try this theme framework out, they should either grab the source from GitHub or download Layers directly from its official site. Without needing to go through development lessons and years of coding, Layers gives you the ability to put your most desired ideas into life.

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