Miniblock OOAK and off-the-beaten-path ideas in theme directory – WP Tavern
I was fascinated by the concept of Carolina Nymark’s Mini block OOAK theme for a few weeks now. It served as the inspiration for a design idea I worked on, and I’m happy to see Nymark pushing the boundaries in a space where few pioneers remain. Its design style always dares to take the paths less traveled, a quality I am envious of.
Despite loving the idea of the theme, I hadn’t done a thorough exploration of it until this week. It is intended for small home businesses and hobbyists, allowing them to create a simple landing page.
With a custom title font and on-brand color scheme, it seemed perfect for a family member who wants an online presence for an upcoming business. It’s not ready to launch yet, but Miniblock OOAK would be an easy-to-use landing page to direct people to their Etsy profile while still having a point of contact for customers.
I often opted for exterior solutions for single-page websites in the classic era. WordPress has always seemed overkill for such projects. Maintaining the software might require more resources than updating the content. However, I started coming recently. First, the prevalence of reasonably priced managed hosting means there’s less need to be a webmaster than a decade ago. This has played a significant role in democratizing publishing for more and more people.
The second reason is the introduction of the site editor and global styles in WordPress 5.9. Small business owners can build a one-page website without too much trouble with the ideal block theme. Of course, there are still a few issues to iron out in the user experience department. These are being actively worked on and improvements have continued over the WordPress 6.0 development cycle.
We need more themes to create starting points for users to build their own web homes in this new system. Miniblock OOAK matches this mold for its niche. This is the first one-page block theme in the directory but it won’t be the last. With enough pioneers blazing their way and redefining the themes, the years to come could be an interesting adventure.
The theme is small enough that you can explore its entire default design in around 10 seconds with a quick scroll down the page. It is set up for a fictional plush designer who is open to orders and sells their products through Etsy. It includes a menu of quick links to access a bio, work showcase, and contact section.
Like I said, there’s not much to explore with the default configuration.
The more pieces there are in the design, the more of the user experience flaws I mentioned earlier show up in the site editor. However, editing Miniblock OOAK feels natural. I could move around, select blocks, and customize without issue.
The theme is not just a single template. Nymark has also included eight block designs. Users can mix and match them to achieve the look they are looking for.
The theme uses the featured category to highlight designs, which I haven’t seen others do yet. I initially questioned the tactic, wondering if it was the ideal experience for users. This category pulls featured templates from WordPress.org by default. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the decision for that specific theme. Since this is a one-page design, it makes sense that users would mostly rely on the templates provided to them first.
I could see theme authors getting carried away with this, placing dozens of templates in the featured category. However, it can also make it easier to find the ones the developer wants to highlight. Carefully arranging the models that land there could create a welcome user experience.
Andrew Starr uses an alternative method of presenting patterns in his Alara chart. It has an “Alara – New” category that showcases the latest designs.
I love exploring with Miniblock OOAK. I especially like that the WordPress themes team has unlocked the strings that hold authors back, now allowing for original ideas. It was hard to break with tradition in the classical era for thematists and critics, but perhaps this theme is the start of something new.