Jeff Chandler gets at something I’ve been considering: WordPress themes that let users change the layout configuration from the admin might be a dead end. How many times do you need to change your layout? It’s neat feature—at first—but I think there might be a better way.
5 thoughts on “How Many Times Do You Need To Change Your Layout?”
I think it’s more suited to giving a large user base the ability to personalize their installation of the theme a little. Rather than the itchy-clicker who wants to freshen their layout every week.
In moderation it can be a neat feature, if it becomes a full blog design GUI then I think that’s taking it a bit too far.
Shifter, approached customizable themes from the wrong perspective. This I know for a fact, due to a few problems we had back when I wanted this “Killer WordPress Theme.”
However, the need for being able to customize a theme (to the extent of shifter) still exist (in a weird way). I thought about this, and for the most part, end users perform this task (heavily) about once or twice per theme.
As long as wordpress.com and wordpressmu exists, the need for these types of these will still be there.
I can see themes heading off in two directions: one, for those who code or don’t mind tweaking code, and the other for those who for whatever reason can’t or won’t touch the theme code.
This is why I think child themes will eventually take off. You start off with a solidly coded base theme. Then, you can make a myriad of different layouts and designs from that base theme. Ultimately, this gives users more options than a theme with a lot of different layout possibilities from the admin panel.
What this gives you is less bloated code and it actually makes it easier for users to modify. And, users almost always modify the theme files. I don’t care how many theme options you put in the backend; that’s just what they do.
This, in turn, makes users not want to update their theme.
As Andrea mentioned, the need for these types of themes will still be there for users that don’t want to touch code. I think we might even see a continual rise in theme options for a while because of the popularity of these type of themes.
In reality, most theme authors that add theme options don’t know how to add a single option to the database and end up cluttering users’ databases with multiple options (something I’ve only recently changed in my themes). Getting off topic here…
As I mentioned on Jeff’s site, my least favorite theme is my Options theme because everything is set in stone (to a degree). Each child theme I make for it would have to account for every option. It gives me less flexibility as a theme developer.
I’m now adopting a different approach, which will allow me to have greater flexibility with child themes.
I think you’re exactly right, Justin.
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