Shopify Updates – Late 2016
Shopify’s newest update, the Sections addition to the theme editor, introduces a new way to revise your homepage content: one section at a time. The idea is that users can redesign, reorder, add, and remove specific content with a new visual editor instead of having a homepage that is set in stone by a rigid theme.
Currently, the Debut theme is the only one to support the new Sections editor, but Sections will slowly be released to all themes. The new visual theme editor, however, is available to all themes with a new update.
What Makes the Sections Update Special?
Shopify focusses on being a reliable and user-friendly digital store design platform. So, why is this Shopify update special?
Depending on the theme you have chosen to use for your store, the new Sections update is designed to allow parts of the theme to be revised in a different way from the other parts. In other words, the homepage can be designed in sections, instead of as a whole page. Because each theme has a different visual display, each theme also offers a unique set of editable sections with a variety of content options. The page editor allows sections to be rearranged on the homepage, as well as the revision of content within each section.
For example, themes that previously had sections displayed in a set order may have displayed text at the top, followed by an image, and then products. With the new Sections update, themes will now allow the shop owner to rearrange these sections in any order that he or she chooses.
Within each section, the new update gives the shop owner the power to add and delete a variety of content, including text, images, videos, and more. The specific types of content that are permitted in each section will be governed by the theme the shop owner has chosen.
You might be wondering, ‘What is the point of having a theme if the new update makes everything customisable?’
Themes offer so much more than content layout, which is mainly what the new update will allow shop owners to modify within a theme. Features and characteristics like fonts and fixed sections are determined by the shop theme.
Every theme will offer fixed sections, which may not be movable around the homepage, or may offer limited content modifications. Usually, the fixed sections will be important to the theme, like the header and footer.
How Does the New Theme Editor Work?
Sections is a separate update from the new visual editor. Even shop owners who don’t currently have the Debut theme or another theme for which the Sections update has been released may be able to access the new editor. However, it’s designed to be used with Sections, and some functionality may be reduced until Sections is released to your theme.
The new editor divides the screen into two sections. The homepage is displayed on the right, while the editor and options are displayed in a vertical menu on the left. There are two tabs at the top of the editor on the left side: Sections and Settings. Sections is relevant to the new update that modifies the homepage, and Settings applies to the entire website.
The Sections editor only has content on those themes that have the new Sections update, which currently only includes the Debut Theme. Under the Sections tab, shop designers can do two main things: change content by adding or removing it, or move content around the page.
Here, you’ll find the options for adding content to themes under a new button labeled ‘Add Section’, and each section can be dragged up or down to reorder them on the shop homepage. Once a section is added, content can be added and modified within the section. Sections can be reordered by clicking and dragging them into the order you’d like. Fixed sections, like the header and footer, cannot be dragged, and will be separated from the other sections by a space.
The Settings editor is a visual way to modify your store within your theme’s settings. Each theme offers specific colours, fonts, and other specific settings. These can be modified here, and a visual representation of the changes can be seen on the right.
Why Should I Use Sections?
If you look at websites through time, there is a trend: today’s websites are much more user friendly, customisable, and aesthetically pleasing than those of five years ago, which are more so than the websites from ten years ago, and so on. Very few sites that are used today are designed in the same style that sites were designed with in 2006, or 1999, and that’s because they’re constantly being updated, modified, and improved.
While there are certain themes that can be found in groups of successful websites today, like colour schemes, marketing techniquest, varied content, and visually pleasing fonts, photos, and designs, there are no two successful websites that are exactly alike. Why? Because the designers behind successful websites take the time to design and build websites that meet their needs and the needs of their specific audience. This takes some skill and the ability to modify and tweak the site until it is exactly as it needs to be.
The new Sections update allows Shopify users to do just that, because why shouldn’t building a successful website be simple? The ability to customise the homepage while using the visual editor shows the shop owner what they are doing as they are doing it makes it so simple to have a great looking website. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be successful. All that’s left to add is great content!
What If My Theme Doesn’t Support Sections Yet?
Themes that don’t currently support Sections won’t be affected by the new update, and changes with Sections cannot be made until the theme supports the update. However, with the new update, Shopify shops with any theme will have access to the new visual theme editor.
If you want to use Sections now, you can go to the Theme Store and purchase a theme that does support sections. Currently, this only includes the Debut Theme.
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