For me it all started back in July when I wrote a post about what I’d like to see in a WordPress theme. I had been driving family and friends nuts with my chatter about WordPress themes for months. Even those with blogs were beginning to roll their eyes when I started on the subject again. Several people suggested I write a post about it. Pretty much the response that I get when I go on and on about any current obsession. As in “bore somebody else with this, why don’t you?“!
So I sat down one weekend and wrote it. The response I got from my own readers was very positive. They all had ideas about what they wanted to be able to do with their own blogs. But I still felt my message wasn’t getting to quite the right people. Since the folks at WordPress (Automattic) are always encouraging users to interact with them, I put up a link to my post on one of the forums. This with the hope that maybe one or two of the WordPress people would see it, and mention it in a design meeting or something. WordPress did better than that. They featured my post and mentioned it on one of their blogs. The response in the months since then has been overwhelming. A lot of fellow bloggers added their ideas regarding what they were looking for theme-wise. Theme designers – from WordPress and beyond – read my post and more importantly took note.
Since I published that original post, WordPress has added 36 new themes – 23 of those free themes. Obviously a lot of those themes were already in the pipeline when I wrote my post, but in especially the more recent themes, I see things which I and other bloggers had asked for. Wow. We spoke and were heard.
One of the more exciting aspects for me, is that WordPress has built some of those ideas into their “older” themes. Themes which are loved by thousands of bloggers, but needed to be tweaked to make them that much better. I still intend to follow up my original post with some new observations, but in the meantime have a look at Ian Stewart’s post More Custom Headers, Color Schemes, & Theme Improvements. WordPress really got it – that we users wanted to be able to customize our blogs ourselves more easily.
There have been a lot of other changes in the functionality of WordPress since then, which have also been noted and appreciated. The one I particularly want to mention now, is the new “photo carousel” feature. (See Your Memories Take Center Stage with the New Photo Carousel). My current theme (which I really like for a lot of reasons) does not “do” photo galleries well. As an amateur photographer who likes posting photographs, this was really bugging me. I kept looking for some way to work around this, and was recently delighted to find that WordPress had solved this problem.
Thanks for listening to your users WordPress!
To other bloggers: if you have ideas about changes you would like to see, it is really worth voicing those “requests”. They might just come true.