Notification bars are unobtrusive status bars, usually spanning over the whole width of the website, stuck to the top of the browser window, with (hopefully) a simple way to get rid of. They are quite useful when it comes to, as their name suggests, notifying the visitor of something or displaying some quick (and hopefully useful) information without getting in the face of the visitor.
One such plugin that we’ve come across this week is named Foobar Notification Bars or simply Foobar. However, as unintricate as the name may sound, the functionality this WordPress plugin packs is very near impressive. First of all if you’re uninspired by its name, have no fear, the author of the plugin, Brad Vincent (@themergency), has made it possible to rename/rebrand the plugin name into anything you would ever want, so it makes more sense to clients or content editors.
Foobar Notification Bars is fairly simple both conceptually and usability-wise. Foobars (or whatever you may rename them to) are managed from the Foobars menu. Each Foobar that you create has its own subset of settings and options like bar styling, height, positioning (sticky or not), message styling, bar and message animation (fade outs, movement speed and easing, etc.) and message content. Foobar allows for a set of messages to be displayed one after another, and if a message is too wide to show in full-width glory, it will be scrolled once before switching to the next message in queue. Messages can also be pulled in via RSS and twitter which is quite handy.
A Foobar can also host custom HTML code on the left and on the right of the allotted message space. Social profile bookmarks are quite a great idea to place up there, which is urged by the inclusion of (at the time of writing) 91(!) social icons and a whole section dedicated to placing them on the bar in an orderly fashion.
Foobar allows an unlimited amount of bars to be created and managed. A default Foobar will displayed on all posts and pages unless setup otherwise. Each individual post or page can have a specific Foobar attached to it. And to end it all Foobar has a hefty debug feature to let you sort out any issues while extending the plugin.
As Foobar Notification Bars is still very young, there’s much to be eagerly looking forward to. Here are some things that we think are worth expecting:
- Duplication of foobars – it may turn into a night-long frustration trying to populate your WordPress blog with individual Foobars, which are created with default style and settings, for all your 419 posts (at least the social profile bookmarks can be shared between bars).
- More control over the bar CSS – I, for one, have found no intuitive way of texturing my Foobar with a repeating image, even though Custom CSS is supported to some extent.
- Built-in popups for simple navigation, sign-in, contact us forms
- A “display at the bottom” feature
There is of course a handful notification bar plugins for WordPress to choose from, like attentionGrabber, Heads Up Bar, ViperBar and Hello Bar, and Foobar is surely one to look at when choosing, and we sure do wish Brad Vincent and Foobar luck and will be on the lookout for updates.
Be sure to check out the Themergency Foobar Notification Bars home page.
…ah, of course, the competition (“Didn’t think you could get away with forgetting, did you?”). For those of you who have read this far (thanks) here are the competition rules:
- Follow @themefm and @themergency on Twitter
- Tweet this post to your followers
- Leave a comment with the link to your tweet and tell us how you would use Foobar
Follow these rules to have a chance of becoming one of the three lucky winners to get hold of a Foobar license for free. The winners will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday, August 16th) at 18:00 Moscow time as an update to this post. Winners will be e-mailed their licenses so double-check your e-mail address when commenting.
Also, don’t forget to let us know what you think about Foobar and about notification bars in general. How do you put them to good use, or do you consider them to be quite useless? Thanks!
Update: Winners Announced!
Drumroll!! The random chosen ones were:
- Paul de Wouters
- Ali 360
- Luigi Greco
And here are their tweets:
Congratulations guys, you’ve got yourselves a free copy of the Foobar Notification Bars plugin. Hope you enjoy your plugins and put them to good use. We will get Themergency to e-mail you your brand new licenses and make sure to come back here and send us a link to your newly Foobar’d website after you have implemented it.
Thank you everyone for participating!