by Ramona Nemeth-Csoka on May 5, 2020

The Most Important Changes in 3.4

Every software evolves, which involves using new technologies to make it better. It’s also important to make the design better to improve the software’s usability. The 3.4 update is our fourth major version, and it’s the second time when the UI of Smart Slider changes. What are these changes and how do they help with the evolution of Smart Slider? Keep reading to find out!

⚠️ Notice: Once you install version 3.4, you won’t be able to downgrade!

Changes in the Slide Editor

The Slide Editor is where you spend most of your time in, and it gone through some major UI improvements. First, it has a totally new and modern layout. In 3.4 you can edit your slides full size, without WordPress’ or Joomla’s menu taking up useful editing area.

On the left side the old (3.3) slide editor and the new (3.4) on the right

But there are other improvements, too, which maybe not as easy to see. Let’s see some of the most important changes in more detail!

Slide settings moved to the layer window

We’re improving Smart Slider 3 based on our user’s feedback. Lately we found that many users were looking for the options of the slide in the layer window. So when we redesigned the Slide Editor in 3.4 we kept this in mind, and moved the Slide options to the layer window. As a result, you only see settings like the slide background when you actually want to work with the slide. This helps making the UI cleaner. Additionally, you’re not forced to scroll up and down to see the changes you made in the slide background.

Slide background in 3.3 and in 3.4

So, how do you reach the slide settings in 3.4? When you go to any slide, the layer window opens with the Slide options. If you need it anytime layer, just click on the Slide label which is always on the top of the slide when your mouse is over it. Or you can select the Slide from the Layer list.

Layer positions replaced editing modes

In the 3.2 release we introduced Content mode, which was our new and innovative way of slide editing. Content mode allows you to build your slides super fast. Additionally, it reduces the time you need to spend to make a good responsive layout. If you wanted a drag’n’drop slide building experience, you could use Canvas mode. It’s downside is that it needs much more effort to achieve a good result on small screens.

In the past you could switch between the two editing modes at the toolbar above the slide. If you wanted to switch from Canvas to Content mode, you needed to click on the Content button at the toolbar. Then you had to drag the layer to position it in Content mode. Unfortunately, this allowed switching the editing mode by accident.

Absolute position in 3.4

The new version improves this mechanism as well. First, Content mode was renamed to Default, and Canvas was renamed to Absolute. Second, they don’t act as “modes” anymore, but rather as positions. This eliminates the possibility of accidentally moving the layer to the wrong position. What makes the new system truly superior? You can see which position the current layer is in at the layer window. Furthermore, and you can switch to the other position there.

Say hello to a brand-new, super useful Layer list

During the slide editing it’s important to be able to access any layer, even if they’re not visible. This is where the Layer list comes in. It allows you to see and select any layer you have added to your slide. You can reach the Layer list from the top left corner of the layer window.

Bye-bye Font Manager

Editing every aspect of your layers in the layer window, and seeing the result on the Canvas was our main priority when we designed 3.4. Because of that, we decided to get rid of the Font manager, which opened in a popup. This popup covered the Canvas, and you couldn’t see anything but the layer you were currently editing.

From 3.4 you can find every configuration option right at the layer window. To reach the extra options, click on the More button at the Style tab! Removing the Font manager meant we had to deprecate the Linked fonts as well. But you can create Presets instead, if you want to re-use your designs.

New Preview

When you’re working on your slide it’s important to see how it’s going to look like on different devices. We know this, and this was one of the reasons why we’ve redesigned the Preview. This new Preview gives you an accurate idea on how your slider will look for example on a small mobile screen. As an example, you’ll see whether the slider fits in to the mobile viewport or not.

The new preview

What’s new in the Slider settings?

Configuring your slider takes a lot less time than the slide creation. However, there were significant changes in the Slider Settings as well. The most noticeable change is that the Controls (which had their own section at the bottom) were moved up and received their own tab. As a result, it’s much more convenient to access them when you need to customize, for example, the arrows.

No more Expert mode

One of the most important changes of 3.4 was that we no longer felt the need of keeping the Expert mode. We created Expert mode to keep the UI user friendly, especially for new users. With Expert mode we could hide tons of options which you didn’t always need. As a result, you weren’t bombarded with too many settings to configure your slider.

The old UI with the expert mode

The location of the options is more logical

The slider configuration options are placed more logically in 3.4 than ever. As a result, you no longer need to switch to different tabs to find related settings. For example, you can find every effect and animation at the Animations tab. At the Autoplay tab, you can both configure the autoplay, and find the autoplay related controls. If you use a Showcase or Carousel slider then you can set the slide sizes at the Size tab, where the slider size settings are.

The new slider settings page

Custom sizes are no longer equal to breakpoints

In the previous version of Smart Slider you needed to set up a custom slider size for two reasons. One, to be able to create a custom breakpoint where your slider had to switch to a different device. Two, to be able to increase the slider height on a different device. These actions aren’t the same, and the new 3.4 version won’t handle them together. What does this mean? You can create a breakpoint without having to set a custom slider size, and vice versa.

New Breakpoint system

Speaking of breakpoints, we’ve changed the way Smart Slider handles them. Previously the backend and frontend used different breakpoints, which made the editing complicated. In the new system the breakpoints are the same at both the backend and frontend. As a result, your slides will look better on different devices than ever before.

The new breakpoint system

Limit slide width replaces the Max height

The Maximum slider height option was deprecated in favor of the Limit slide width feature. From 3.4 you can use the Limit slide width option to prevent your slider from getting too tall on larger screens.

Trash is now available for sliders

One of the most requested features was an option to recover the deleted sliders. So the 3.4 update introduces the Trash, where your removed sliders end up. As a result, you have an option to recover accidentally deleted sliders.

Internet Explorer is no longer supported

According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer isn’t a browser anymore, but a compatibility solution. So in 3.4 we decided not to support Internet Explorer as a backend or frontend browser either.

Conclusion

It’s exciting to see how much Smart Slider evolves after every update. The new version, 3.4 brings major improvements to your workflow, so you can create better sliders in less time. No gimmicks, no bloat, just the tools you need when you need them.

Ramona Nemeth-Csoka

About Author

I’m Ramona Nemeth-Csoka and I’m a member of Nextend‘s awesome support team. You’ve probably chat with me if you’ve submit a support ticket. When I’m not answering support emails I read a book or go cycling. I enjoy writing as well, both for our blog and for my private projects.