I’ve noticed a trend in WordPress Plugins, themes, and development. I’ve been interested in these things since I started using WordPress, a little over a year ago with my personal blog.
In this time I’ve noticed an extreme lack of interest in the individuals behind WordPress advancements, and quite a bit of interest in the actual advancements. This makes sense to me, since the advancements appeal to the selfish nature we all share (what’s in it for me). There are very few WordPress users I’ve seen that are concerned with who is responsible for some of the niceties they enjoy.
I have a couple of theories based on these trends, and what are (hopefully) some ways to improve the current situation.
The Problem As I See It
When users ignore the people behind the work that they use, this actually devalues the person behind the work and heightens the value of the product. When theme designers, especially, feel that they aren’t valued, they believe the only thing that is valued is the theme itself. So they produce more themes as quickly as they can, damn the quality. In the end this contributes to the problem of a lot of low quality WordPress themes.
Maybe this is being a bit too dramatic, but maybe there’s something to this. If, for instance, a designer knows that his name is tagged next to every theme he creates and that it is as recognizable as the theme name is, I’d bet he spends a bit more time on the designs he pumps out. From this, I would say that the weight of a designers name has at least an indirect relationship with the quality of work he creates.
What to Do About It
There are a number of ways that we, as the WordPress community, can help solve this problem. As an overview, the ways are:
- When you find a theme/Plugin you like, find out who is behind it
- When blogging about a theme/Plugin, be sure to attribute
- Follow your favorite designers and developers; subscribe to their blogs
I’ve tried to get better about these things at Theme Playground, but I know there’s a lot more I could do. If we can start to value the people behind WordPress, I think, we will see a lot more happening in the community.
What Might This Look Like?
The value of examples really has no ceiling, does it?
With Theme Designers
- Brian Gardner has been developing quite a few themes in conjunction with Revolution Theme, his latest pet project…
- Recently Jello Wala Mello caught my eye, as it is a new WordPress theme by Small Potato of WPDesigner…
With Plugin Developers
- When it comes to ranking posts (and even pages) I would suggest the Plugin Popularity Contest by the WordPress giant Alex King…
- Garrett Murphy is responsible for one of my favorite Plugins, Page Link Manager…
How to Get Started Today
There are a few blogs which I would deem essential for any serious WordPress users. To whet your appetite, check out the official WordPress blog, Matt Mullenweg’s blog (the creator), Alex King’s blog (brilliant Plugins) and pay attention to Weblog Tools Collection for other WordPress information on a weekly basis.
Oh, and don’t forget about Theme Playground, where you can find near-daily WordPress tips, tutorials, and insight.