The Stream Gets a Total Redesign, Like Button, and Other Major Refinements in MD4.9.2
Do you know of a theme that gets the caliber of updates as Marketers Delight? Today is a perfect illustration of MD’s bold update cycle and I am proud to announce Marketers Delight 4.9.2 is now available as a one-click update in your WP admin panel!
The main attraction of today’s update is the total redesign of the Stream (introduced back in MD4.8.4) and the sitewide enhancements that have come from the creation of this new design.
Nothing in Marketers Delight is built in isolation. In fact, when you see new features to one part of your site there’s a good chance those changes benefits other parts too. Today’s release is as good an example of any of how MD grows as a smart system rather than a fractured product.
To best illustrate this growth, I’ll be showcasing what’s new in MD4.9.2 in the exact steps I took to develop this release.
Sit back, enjoy, and let your imagination run wild as you see the new interactive site features introduced in MARKETERS DELIGHT 4.9.2!
The Stream Gets an Intuitive Redesign
The driving force of MD4.9.2 was redesigning the Stream. Based on much of your feedback and usage of the Stream on your own sites, I could no longer hold back my excitement for developing one of the most innovative features of Marketers Delight further.
You’ll feel right at home upon first glance at the new Stream. Its design has been made more compact, making your shorter posts easier to read, and now more closely resembles a feed rather than an artsy interface like the previous design.
In addition to a feed, you can now customize your Stream with a custom header image, headline, and description text from the new admin settings page. This adds personality to your Stream and gives readers an immediate understanding of this unique page on your website.
Just like any other page on your website you can add a custom sidebar to your Stream page and add helpful Widgets like categories, tags, email forms, and anything else you wish to display alongside your Stream content.
The whole point of the Stream is to make publishing quick posts to your site easy, and also share content from your blog, bookshelf, and other custom post types easy.
The Stream wasn’t made to replace social media, but to bring the concepts that revolutionized the way we create and share content to your website, and tailor make it for your content.
Speaking of revolutionary features, MD4.9.2 adds a playful new feature you may recognize…
Make Your Blog Posts, Pages, Streams, and Other Content More Interactive With the Like Button
Simply redesigning the Stream wasn’t good enough, it needed a way to become more interactive. After all, posting on the previous version often felt like you were shouting into the abyss with no way for your audience to interact with you.
Now with the new LIKE button, you have a way to get the same kind of instant feedback you get from your readers on social media—all they have to do is click the Like button to send some love!
Go ahead, like this post to see how easy it is!
Since MD is a system, I couldn’t develop the Like button independently and would miss a huge opportunity by restricting it to just the Stream. So, the Like button has been integrated into the powerfully simple MD Share button system, making it available on ALL post types!
To develop this, I had to step back from the Stream and dive into the MD Share feature, which was introduced all the way back in Marketers Delight 4.6! Naturally there was a lot of refining to do and you will love just how simple it is to add the all powerful Like button around your site.
How the Like Button Works
As soon as you enable MD Share the Like button will be added to your share buttons set. You can display the Like button in a floating bar on the side of a post, or enable the inline share buttons and place it within your posts instead.
With a simple animation, the Like button will update as soon as your readers click it and save to your website. That means those Likes don’t disappear, and are recorded for everyone to see. This adds a simple way for people to contribute to your site without any effort.
…and just for fun, you can even change the Like icon from a heart to a thumbs up or a hand icon from the simple MD share settings panel:
The Like button is a must-use feature and is now enabled in MD Share by default. If you are updating from a previous version, you will need to go to WP Admin > MD > Share and save your settings to add the Like button to your share bar.
Let’s go deeper! In order to make the Like button fit in around your site, and particularly the Stream, many refinements had to be made to the Share feature itself. Here’s what’s new:
MD Share Gets New Share Button Styles, LinkedIn Icon, and Refined Smaller Details
To make share buttons work on the Stream, the Bold style of the MD Share buttons was going to need to be made easier on the eyes. This simply came to be with the new Minimal share button style, which you can now set to your inline buttons from the Share panel.
From here there were many more refinements to be made. Here’s a quick and dirty list of the improvements made to MD Share:
- You can now add a LinkedIn share button (required OpenGraph meta tags)
- The Google+ share button has been disabled by default
- The email share button now uses a mailto link if you don’t set a popup (duh)
- Removed funky HTML character codes that would show in share button text
- Removed text labels
- Updated icons to be more aesthetically pleasing
Finally, with MD Share refined and the Like button perfected, it was time to put it all together.
The next challenge was fitting the Stream’s unique layout into the rest of MD’s design system so you can use features like custom sidebars, pagination, and layout options with the same seamless precision as the rest of your site.
This process helped me clean up many small details around Marketers Delight and simplify the markup greatly. First, I’ll tell you about the obvious changes, then tell you about the behind-the-scenes details below:
MD4.9.2 Refines Typography, Mobile Spacing, and Other Layout Cleanups
Marketers Delight 4.9.2 now holds our most precise typography system to date! For starters, the default font has been changed from Tahoma to Helvetica Neue. When I first chose Tahoma, I wanted a font that read decently and wasn’t used everywhere else.
…but soon after, the dated look of Tahoma caught up to me and I came to terms with how superior Helvetica Neue read. Besides, there’s a good chance you’ll switch to custom Google or Typekit fonts with the MD Site Designer, but if not, you have a more solid font out of the box.
The typography improvements don’t stop there—MD’s typography system has been tweaked to better calculate font and headline sizes on mobile and even slightly constrain your content area on desktop.
There’s still room to improve on these details, but as of today MD has never read better and the amount of custom typography styles I personally write on custom websites is nearly zero, and that speeds up the development process GREATLY!
In addition to changes to typography, I’ve updated the HTML markup on various components in MD’s layout to simplify your site’s structure and make it more clear which classes you should target in your custom designs.
Here’s a list of those minor changes:
- Responsive header menu + button improved spacing
- Added new font icons to the MD Icons library
- Fixes email widget warning messages on save
- Adds author box to top of Author archives page
- Content Box markup altered for more flexible layouts
- Content Box CSS classes removed:
- Template files changed:
- Gutenberg editor helper class enhancements
- File reorganization and code cleanup
What Grows Together, Comes Together
We’ve now come full circle, and I hope this post has illustrated for you the kind of thinking I put into each MD update. My goal with these updates is to not only deliver something excellent to you now, but to set you up for the next two updates, even in ways that aren’t yet obvious.
By building these kinds of outstanding features together in Marketers Delight, the amount of plugins you need drastically drops and the performance of your website goes up.
Even though I add a little more in each update, I also take away what is no longer needed at the same rate, if not faster. By reusing existing systems like MD Share I can introduce new features that you already know how to use without ever having used them before.
The longterm sustainability of your website is important in today’s fast changing landscape, and thanks to MD’s increasingly rock solid foundation, we can push the barriers of what we do with our websites with features never seen before like the Stream.
Truth be told, this update was a small detour in the greater scheme of what’s really being worked on in the MD Labs. Do you want a hint? It’s the most seamless optin form integration system you’ve ever used, and it’s coming soon to a Marketers Delight near you.
Until then, go ahead and update your sites to MD4.9.2 and show me how you use the Stream! Follow me on my Stream to see daily updates about the developments of Marketers Delight, and send me some Likes if you like what you see! I’ll talk to you soon.
How can we make “The Stream” our homepage?