First, the Code to Implement the Thumbnails
This is NOT a post on how to implement the new thumbnails code for WordPress 2.9 (latest is 2.9.1). If you want to implement the code, simply open functions.php and add the code as explained in these posts:
- Mark Jaquith: New in WordPress 2.9: Post Thumbnail Images
- WordPress Codex: Template Tags/the post thumbnail
- WP Engineer: About WordPress Post Thumbnail
This post is about how one can use thumbnails to enhance a site.
Why are thumbnails important to your site?
When you first come to a site, be it a blog or a website, what do you see? You might see a list or a menu of links and a header with an image reflecting the overall site. You might see one large image representative of the last item posted to the site. If all you see is lots of text or links, this may not entice to click further. But what if you are given choices, as in this library site:
Much more likely to click on one of these than on a plain link, right?
What if you want the posts organized differently on another page, say on a category page? How’s this:
Same thumbnails, but this page has tags, dates and category links as well. Same posts, but the layout has changed and more information added.
What has changed in WordPress 2.9 in regard to thumbnails?
Before WordPress 2.9, you could do thumbnails using a custom field. Now the thumbnail has its own spot on each post, and you can easily add the thumbnail (and change it) as well as descriptive text while working on the post. Also, thumbnail does not have to mean small; one can use a variety of sizes. See the links at the beginning of this post for detailed information.
Noteworthy Examples of Thumbnails
Do you have an example that you like of a page with thumbnails? It doesn’t have to be done with WordPress – just good thumbnail design.