Keeping WordPress Themes Simple

One of the best pieces of advice we ever received in our lives was “keep it simple”.  To some users, it may sound like giving up or giving in, but at the end of the day, it will always comes down to that.  It’s taking what could be complicated and breaking it down for everyone to understand. Some of the world’s biggest problems have often times been solved by the simplest of solutions.

Never has this phrase been more true than in the world of web technology, especially WordPress Themes. In a field which can be extremely overwhelming to many users, we as developers have to remember to keep it simple for the rest of the internet. If it’s a good enough saying for Steve Jobs to found Apple on, then I would think it would be good enough advice for any of us to follow.

Recently, we were doing some research and came across a very interesting article on WPTaven.com titled, “Why WordPress Theme Developers Are Moving Functionality Into Plugins” by Sarah Gooding. This article perfectly sums up why WordPress themes are getting out of hand with bloated options and drowning in wasteful plugin functionality. One of the main issues which made us step into the world of theme development was the overindulgence of plugins in themes.  We need to remember what made us all fall in love with WordPress: how simple it was to create a powerful and attractive website or blog.

In Gooding’s article, she sums up our vision perfectly by stating, “When it comes to theme options, the cold, hard truth is that not everyone is a designer. There is no ultimate visual layout builder or unlimited color chooser that will magically make you into a designer. If this is something you can recognize about yourself, then you may want to steer away from themes that offer massive options panels with unlimited everything. Instead, opt for design-specific themes that follow best practices and offer a few options using WordPress’ native customizer.”

This is the vision that Modern Themes was started with and will be what we will strive for in the future. Modern Themes makes it our effort to keep plugin functionality minimal and concentrate on delivering simple WordPress themes that are beautiful in design. We understand the draw that plugins have when users see their power. It is only in the end that they realize they use less than half of the plugin functionality in themes, and are left with a bloated site that is hard to navigate, with very slow page load times. These are issues that can ruin a website experience.

Modern Themes does not hate plugin functionality. In fact, plugins have helped us become better developers by teaching us about user experience. We are just encouraging our theme users to pick the right plugins, not each and every plugin. By developing our themes to be plugin-friendly rather than plugin-heavy, users can purchase our themes for the design and simplicity, then choose what additional functionality they may need down the road. We will always offer plugin suggestions to our themes based on what the theme could used for, but we will never push our users to have something they don’t need.

Keep it simple.