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An options panel is pretty much essential these days for any premium theme; they are a great step forward in theme design for the casual user as it gives them the abilility to customise certain aspects of their sites without having to delve through html and css which is alien to them.

The more options on offer, the better really but it can be difficult to provide something that is powerfull and easy to use at the same time. We must consider interface best practices and other considerations.

In this article we will be looking at some nice examples from premium theme companies to start with and then looking at how you can code your own theme options panel.

Elegant Themes – ePanel

The Elegant Themes ePanel is one of my favourites, its a very attractive design with gradients to simulate a 3D feel, nice clear icons and really nice intuitive feel. Its backed up with some jQuery and Ajax so no page re-loads are needed.

Elegant Themes include an overview of the ePanel here, including a video of the features.

FlexiThemes – FlexiPanel

FlexiThemes are another premium theme company with an attractive options panel, named the FlexiPanel. When I joined the, panel wasn’t included with all their themes but I assume they will be upgrading it to all of them soon.

The FlexiPanel covers all the main options we expect from a premium theme, including layout, colors, social media integration, advertising & menus.

WP-Answers

This one is a work in progress, my own WordPress plugin WP-Answers will soon ship with an advanced options panel. I’m currently coding it but I thought I’d include it here anyway so you can see the styling choices I went for.

ThemeShift

Another premium theme company, Themeshift, provide a range of attractive business, personal and magazine style themes. All their themes come included with a range of features including their own options panel :

WooThemes

WooThemes are one of my favourite premium theme companies, everything about their company is slick and well designed / coded. Their options panel is no different – nice to look at and easy to use with javascript for no page re-loads :

Kreative Themes

I hadn’t heard of Kreative themes before researching this post but I was impressed with the quality of their website and the range of themes that they offer. They include clear screenshots of their options panel, called the “Kreative Admin Framework” :

Theme Warrior

Theme Warrior are another premium theme company that I hadn’t heard of before, they actually got in touch with me in the comments section after reading this post. They added a preview of their theme options panel and very nice it looks too :

Conclusion

While researching this article I came across many premium theme companies that only listed their theme options panel as a feature, no demo of it and not even full size screen shots of it. I consider this to be  one of the main selling points of a premium theme as the non-technical user wants to know they can easily customise their site, without knowing what options are open to them it has to put them off buying, or having to request further information.

I have been considering creating some premium themes to sell and I will definately be putting some time into creating a well-functioning theme options panel and will make a demo of it available.

Now we have taken a look at some nice commerical examples, lets find out how to create one …

Create an options page for your WordPress theme

Including a Theme Options page for your theme is one of the best ways to increase ease-of-use for managing a complex theme. However, a few quick Google searches later and most people give up. Such a great inclusion for theme design appears to have such little documentation, that it appears to be one of those heavily guarded secrets which only the crème de la crème of designers hold the key to.

Create An Advanced Theme Options Panel in WordPress

Creating a WordPress theme options page is something that we’ve touched on before on WPShout, and this week we’ll be expanding on what we covered before to create not just a theme options page, but an advanced theme options page.

How To Create An Options Page For Your WordPress Theme

Today we will be incorporating an options panel for the WordPress Classic theme. The methods you will learn will allow you to very easily integrate it into an existing theme you’re working on.

Make a control panel for your wordpress theme

Mimbo is one of the most used magazine theme for wordpress, it’s a great theme ! The only weakness is the way you change its options … Manually in the code …
It’s why i decided to create my own custom mimbo theme which includes a control panel. In this post I’m going to show you how you can create a control panel for your theme (in this example I will use mimbo).

How to Create a Better WordPress Options Panel

Today, we’ll go through the entire process of creating an admin options panel for a WordPress theme, using the excellent WooFramework as an example. Then, we’ll take things a step further, as we implement jQuery to improve some of the functionality.

WordPress Tutorial: Add an Options page to your WP theme

Have you built your own wordpress theme and now would like to add flexibility by allowing the admin to customize parts of it? Then what you need is an Options page  within the WP admin side. Now you’re thinking “OMG, admin side? That’s much too complex for me!!!”. FALSE! Believe me: read this tutorial, and then you’ll be able to add any kind of option to your theme!

WordPress Theme Design with Options Administration

Are you running WordPress? And how are you controlling all options of your current wordpress theme? WordPress offers you get_option() function to get the options of your wordpress. However, all of default options wordpress gives to you are not enough. You maybe want to add more options that easy to implement on your theme design. How to do that? This tutorial will help you create options and administrate them in wordpress admin page.

A Look Into the WordPress Themes’ Options Pages

For a long while the option panels where something that people could only find in premium (commercial) themes, and for a good reason. The pricing of their licenses allowed the premium theme developers to invest more time in giving theme users the ways to do through these panels what they could not do through coding.

How To Add A WordPress Theme Options Page

In this post you’ll find out how to add and create a custom wordpress theme options page inside the administration area which will let you Add/Edit your own Youtube video, for use in your sidebar.

How To: Create a Theme Options Page for Your WordPress Theme

Theme Options pages are growing in popularity among quality WordPress themes. They provide the user with greater customization control over their website without having to know a hint of HTML or CSS.

Create settings page for WordPress theme

Not many WordPress themes have additional settings page where blog admins can adjust some of the themes settings. One of the reasons for this is hard to find examples describing in details what you need to do.


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Author:

Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, a small internet company based in the UK. Kooc Media runs several high-profile websites including WPLift, ThemeFurnace and DesignersTalk.

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25 Comments

  1. dalecom

    Hey Yogi, I checked our your theme site – very nice :) ( although you dont have large screenshots or a demo of your admin panel! )

  2. dalecom

    Hey Yogi, I checked our your theme site – very nice :) ( although you dont have large screenshots or a demo of your admin panel! )

  3. dalecom

    haha cool, let me know when you're done and I can include you in this post.
    When will your affiliate program be working ? I wanted to join …

  4. dalecom

    haha cool, let me know when you're done and I can include you in this post.
    When will your affiliate program be working ? I wanted to join …

  5. I’m going to be the voice of dissension for overtly styled theme options pages. I believe every decent theme needs an options panel, but it should mimic the same style that is already in existence within the admin of WordPress. Visual consistency for the user should be the rule. You can still use AJAX, there is no reason to skimp on ease of use, just don’t make it look like your in another program.

    • I see what your are saying Tom and Im happy with either way personally – the features are the important thing, not visual gloss.
      I think for a Premium Theme company though, a nice custom options panel can extend the branding and give the whole thing a more polished feel.

    • I know exactly where you are coming from and this is for sure a hot debate. When I first started using themes with custom options panels, I felt as if I were lost navigating, and that there is really no use. But then again, they are pretty nice and can extend the branded of your theme company, as stated by Oli.

      Cheers!

  6. I’m going to be the voice of dissension for overtly styled theme options pages. I believe every decent theme needs an options panel, but it should mimic the same style that is already in existence within the admin of WordPress. Visual consistency for the user should be the rule. You can still use AJAX, there is no reason to skimp on ease of use, just don’t make it look like your in another program.

  7. This is a great set of resources. I think I know what I’m going to do not to update my own WP.

  8. Paul Ingham

    is there a way of using the elegant options panel in the front end for user forms as such or a similar plugin or tutorial. it would be really cool if they could use the interaction to complete a form to be submitted.

  9. It’s true, it s hard to quickly find documentation of such an amazing feature to add to themes. This list is a great resource to include in research.

  10. Armanketigabelas

    NICE LIST!

  11. nice list. thanx for share.

  12. allways i used to read smaller articles that as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this piece off writing which I am reading at this place.

  13. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone
    aand tested to see if it can survivee a 30 foot drop, just
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    I know this is completely off topic but I had to share
    it with someone!

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