What a wonderful addition to the arsenal of tools WordPress.com gave us folks that like to upload and display a lot of photos in our posts. But after a month of using the new Gallery tiled display option, all I can say is that if the Gallery feature is a misunderstood child, the tiled mosaic is a misbehaving one.
To begin with, collectively calling the new Gallery display “tiled mosaic-style layout” feels like a misnomer since this only refers to one of the three available new “types” of Gallery display. The three new types are circle, square and rectangle, the last one creating a mosaic like the second Gallery below.
Then, it isn’t clear in the Support documentation that while you can control the number of columns and the size of the image displayed in the standard Gallery grid display, the tiled display will span the entire width of your theme’s content posting area and images will be automatically sized to fit accordingly. If you are uploading and displaying images in multiples of 3 this is less of a problem. If you have a different number of photos and have chosen either the circle or square Gallery types, get ready for over-sized images, which on themes with wide content posting areas, like Nishita and Timepiece, is especially prominent.
(Depending on the visual story you want to tell, the standard grid display is sometimes the better choice.)
Lastly, the new Gallery tiled display also seems to break on certain themes. I’ve seen this both on my Gallery demo blog and in bug reports that I and others have posted in the Community Support forums. It can be just a matter of whether your theme has a sidebar or not, whether it is a flexible or fixed width theme, whether the theme’s homepage display is excerpted or not or whether you are viewing WordPress.com on your mobile device. Hopefully these problems will be addressed by WordPress.com’s Theme Team. Otherwise, your only choices are to either not use the new feature or switch themes to one that does support them.
Personally, I feel like a kid with a new box of watercolor paints whose parents overlooked telling her to not use them on the walls. How about you? Have you been using the new Gallery types on your site? What’s been your experience with them so far?