WordPress.com’s theme offerings lacked good options for small businesses.
Sarah designed and built a one-page scrolling theme to make it easier to build these types of sites on WordPress.com.
The theme is now in use on over a million sites and has been used as the basis for a number of similar themes to follow.
competitive analysis, wireframing, prototyping, visual design, front-end development, usability testing, documentation
Small businesses were an underserved market in WordPress.com’s theme offering, which focussed on themes for bloggers. In order to appeal to a wider market and compete with other platforms, WordPress.com needed a solution with the needs to small businesses in mind.
Selecting cafes, restaurants, and coffeeshops as a target market, we started by conducting competitive analysis of the existing market. This research revealed a number of common patterns. A highlight of the findings was that a single-page scrolling site was extremely popular for this niche.
The visual design followed patterns discovered in the research phase, using darker colours, a subdued colour palette, and modern typography. In addition to the scrolling single-page design, the theme also provided interior pages in a complementary style.
WordPress’s Customizer wasn’t designed to handle this sort of pattern, so it was important to keep the experience intuitive. We prototyped solutions and performed lightweight usability testing to choose the best path and ensure users understood this new approach.
Documentation & customisation
In order to make it simpler for users to build the layouts they need, the theme includes an icon set, map integration, testimonials, and custom button styling, as well as special templates for panels. It was accompanied by an extensive help page.
Most of the themes created by the professional design team at WordPress.com are geared towards bloggers. That’s why the latest Pique theme is an unusual and exciting release.
Pique makes it easy for anyone to build a one-page, branded website with all the specialized content sections that you would traditionally expect from a business theme.· WP Tavern
Pique was well-received on both WordPress.com and WordPress.org, picked up some positive press, and was featured in WordPress.com TV commercials. Pique is now in use on over 900,000 WordPress.com user sites, as well as over 4,000 self-hosted WordPress sites, where it has a 4.8 out of 5 user rating.
The innovative patterns established in Pique were reused by a variety of different themes, including the default Twenty Seventeen theme. The theme has been used in a number of custom high-profile client sites for its flexibility.