This tutorial features the Feast Plugin, which contains theme enhancements.
The Simple Category Index Block lets you create a simple visual index of your categories, by leveraging the new Category Featured Images.
This allows us to build a more user-friendly Modern Recipe Index.
Just insert the fsci block (feast-simple-category-index) wherever you want to display a list of categories, like on the homepage and posts.
Calling the block with no additional parameters will output all eligible categories.
- Block examples
- Block settings
- Shortcode settings
- How to add featured images to categories
- Conversion video
- Tips for building category images
- Grouping categories
- Image alt text
- Live examples
- Where can I use this?
- Eligible categories
- Separate mobile and desktop displays
- Seasoned Pro and Cravings Pro
- Related posts
- 💬 Comments
If you've embedded the category name into the image, you can disable the title output by adding toggling off the "show title" setting. Here, we've also added the new feast-image-round class to the images, which display the images as a circle.
Another fun new image style we've added is the feast-image-pivot class, which displays the images slightly off-center:
By combining different styles, we can create entirely new and unique displays. The images for the pastries categories below are uploaded at full color, but displayed in a classical parisian monochrome-style and frame.
By adding the image_class="feast-image-double-frame" to the image and applying the list_class="feast-category-index-list-overlay" class to the list, we create the effect below.
The block settings let you customize the layout of the FSCI shortcode visually:
Note that the categories you enter must be the category slug.
Using the feast-simple-category-index shortcode without any parameters will display all your eligible category images and the category name, but you can customize the display with:
- categories="" - specify exactly which categories to display, using your category slugs - recommended
- show_title="no" - to disable the title output (for example, if the category name is in the image)
- list_class="feast-grid-third" - to change from the default one-fourth display. This controls both the mobile and desktop layout. Available displays are:
- feast-grid fifth
- You can over-ride the desktop display by adding the desktop-specific classes. These classes need to go after the feast-grid-X class, and only affect the desktop output:
- eg. list_class="feast-grid-third feast-desktop-grid-sixth"
- container_class="" - to add your own custom styling to the container with custom classes that you define in "Additional CSS"
- image_class="feast-image-round" - to add classes to the images, for styling. New image classes we have built in include:
- feast-image-round for round images
- feast-image-border for a single border
- feast-image-double-border for a double border
- feast-image-pivot for an off-tilt image
- feast-image-casablanca for monochrome
- image_size="" - this is not yet implemented but will come in a future update. Currently, all images display at the dimensions you upload at, so upload all squares that are 1200x1200 (1000x1000) minimum
Note: in all themes later than 4.0.8, anything larger than "full" is displayed as one-half on mobile for readability.
How to add featured images to categories
1. Enable the Category Featured Images
As of version 4.4.0, this has been automatically enabled for simplicity. Ignore this step.
2. Upload your Category Featured Images
Then upload the new category featured images in Media > Add New
Due to a weird bug in WordPress, you'll need to upload new images, because old images may not have the appropriate meta-data.
That aside, we recommend intentionally building new category images so that they have a consistent look.
Square images (1200x1200 px) with centered text that takes up around 70% of the width provide the best clarity:
3. Set the Featured Category Image
You can then add them to your categories in Admin > Post > Categories
If you've already set up the Modern Recipe Index with shortcodes instead of blocks, converting it over is very straight forward:
Tips for building category images
- Images should be 1200x1200 or larger (minimum 1000x1000)
- Image names should follow good SEO practices: they should match the page content (be named after the category + word "recipes") eg. breakfast-recipes.jpg
- Including the category name in the center of the image allows for flexibility in how it gets displayed, and allows for circle-styling
- Due to a weird bug in WordPress, all images for the category featured image must be new uploads
We're tracking this bug down, but it's likely due to a change in how WordPress handled image uploads in the past.
We aren't big fans of nested categories, and with the Simple Category Index you can create a visual hierarchy by grouping categories without actually requiring categories to be nested.
For example, you can have a category for seasonal recipes including "Winter", "Spring", "Summer" and "Fall", without having a useless "Seasonal" parent category by simply displaying these categories with a "Seasonal" h2 header.
Image alt text
The image's alt text is generated from the category's name for accessibility and screen readers.
These are some sites that have category images.
Where can I use this?
All the places!
- It can be inserted into the homepage widget areas as "Custom HTML" widget
- It can be inserted into the "Primary Sidebar" widget area using the "Custom HTML" widget
- It can be added to the "Archive Intro Text" to display on category pages.
- It can be inserted directly into posts to link to all the categories the recipe is a part of
You may need to enable the Process Shortcodes on "Custom HTML" widgets feature in the Feast Plugin:
To be eligible for display, all the following criteria must be met:
- category featured images must be enabled
- the category must have a category featured image assigned to it
- the category must have at least 1 post in it
- the slugs you specify must match an existing category
For more troubleshooting, see "Troubleshooting" below.
One of my categories isn't showing
- If the shortcode doesn't find an exact match for your category slug, it will not show
- If the shortcode doesn't find a category featured image for the category, it will not show
- If your category has no posts in it, it will not show
- If you haven't uploaded a new image, it won't show (WP bug)
- This typically displays as "failed to get attachment ID from URL"
- If the image you uploaded is too small for the thumbnail size, the image won't show (upload category images at 1024x1024 minimum, 1200x1200 recommended)
We considered adding a placeholder image for all categories without images set, as well as displaying categories without posts, but decided that this would be a bad user experience for visitors.
It's important that you intentionally build these images, and categories, and optimize it for your readers so that you don't end up with thin-content garbage that you need to delete later on.
See our tutorial on how to configure category pages.
This has become especially prominent given that many sites being audited end up needing to delete poor quality content, and it drives up their ranking.
Note about CDNs: we've seen issues with image hosting platforms and CDNs including WP Offload Media and Jetpack. We always recommend removing Jetpack completely, but for WP Offload Media, you'll want to use the "remove from bucket" feature:
How can I prevent a category from showing?
The shortcode is built to be additive, instead of subtractive. That means if you want to exclude a category from showing, you should list the categories you want to show, instead of trying to remove specific categories.
The shortcode is designed to be used as a short, specific list rather than display-all. This is because most blogs have a huge number of unrelated categories and displaying all of them in a single place isn't a user-first experience.
The categories you display should be related to the content of the page you're on. If you're on a desserts page, showing categories related to desserts (pies, cakes, cookies) is a good idea. Showing unrelated categories (salads, smoothies, soups) is not.
Sidenote: not setting a category featured image will prevent that category from showing. So if you have a "family" category, simply don't set a featured image.
The parameters I'm setting aren't working
We've seen a few people report issues with not being able to change the layout. These have been tied to using incorrect quotations, which are caused by copying + pasting from a third-party application (such as Microsoft Word).
Make sure you're using proper single ( ' ) or double ( " ) quotation marks - not the slanted quotation marks that are used by word processors.
Another issue that comes up is breaking the shortcode into multiple lines - you can not have a newline ("enter") in the middle of the shortcode. It must be one continuous line.
Separate mobile and desktop displays
The default grid columns (feast-grid-half, feast-grid-third, feast-grid-fourth) should be used to control the mobile layout. We live in a mobile-first world - design for mobile.
You can use the separate desktop classes to change how the grids are displayed on desktop: feast-desktop-grid-half, feast-desktop-grid-third, feast-desktop-grid-fourth, feast-desktop-grid-fifth, feast-desktop-grid-sixth
Ideally, you'll want to use a mobile grid that divides evenly into desktop - the two primary would be:
- feast-grid-half with feast-desktop-grid-fourth
- feast-grid-third with feast-desktop-grid-sixth
Seasoned Pro and Cravings Pro
This is a completely new, better method than what was built into Seasoned Pro and Cravings Pro years ago. We recommend replacing the recipe index with the Simple Recipe Index and removing the Seasoned Pro and Cravings Pro method. To remove the theme setup:
- Remove the "Featured Page" widgets from the "Recipes Bottom" widget area in Admin > Appearances > Widgets
- Delete the pages you've created from Admin > Pages
- Remove any redirects you have in place for those pages
- How to use categories
- Category pages need content
- How to configure the category pages
- Food blog site structure
- Simple Category Index
We'll introduce two more guides for how to best use this in your categories, as well as your posts. There should be a few more built-in styles available over the next couple weeks.
Currently, categories are displayed in alphabetical order by WordPress, regardless of the order you specify them in. We're looking into setting them to display in the order you specify them.