Take a moment and give some feedback. Make giving back to the community easier for you and others.
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As many of you may, or may not, have noticed there are currently over two thousand themes available in the repository. I think that is amazing. Seriously, huge thanks to all those that have contributed not only their time but their efforts as well.
One thing I noticed some time ago was the mentioning of the theme previews. I can’t recall where it was brought up but I do recall it mentioned that it wasn’t the greatest preview of a theme, or themes really. I do hate to admit it but it is fairly true. The current preview is lacking on some things.
One of the things being post formats. Currently the theme preview is just a few posts and a few pages. I think we can do a little better now. I’ve brought up a ticket a few times: #30 in the Meta trac.
Here are some of the things I think we can not only improve upon but can contribute to.
- Sample data
Simple and to the point. We need posts and plenty of them. How about quick little tidbits like how to set up a front page, or changing the image header. Doesn’t have to be huge.
Galleries. Sliders. Single images. We need more boats!! Okay not really but if you have them it would be awesome.
I think we can find a way to contribute a few videos here and there. I know there are some themes that have video format support and I would love to be able to accent that in some way.
I’m thinking podcasters and maybe musicians.
So there you have it. Let’s discuss!
I’ve actually wondered as to what most of us like to use when it comes to reviewing themes and possibly even creating themes.
One thing I would like to see is the use of VVV. I know most of us have never tried it out or even heard of it but I feel we can all benefit from using it. Why? Because as the video states it does make it easier to be on the same page.
I would love to see what you all use for your testing and development of themes. Or even plugins.
Chip’s great post on Points of Emphasis and a recent discussion about a specific Theme Unit Test guideline (failing themes with long titles that overflow) point to a need to change our attitudes to the theme review guidelines.
If you step away from that specific Trac ticket and look at the bigger picture you’ll see a change is needed to make all WP theme reviews less dogmatic and more pragmatic; not only WP.org directory but also for WP.com, ThemeForest, MOJO, any other marketplace that accepts some submissions and rejects others.
The items in the Theme Unit Test are guidelines not hard and fast rules. Highly recommended and encouraged and we should feature and love and promote the themes that nail them all. Shout from the mountaintops if a themer manages to achieve the full list! Themes that don’t nail them all can sink to the bottom of the list organically because people might end up not liking them as much.
Guidelines shouldn’t cause a theme to fail or be prevented from being in the directory. That should be limited to blockers like licensing, security, and spam/malware. What Chip said.
By letting theme designers choose to implement guidelines in full—or not—you give the power to end users to vote for the best ones by activating them. Instead of keeping out hundreds or thousands of potentially amazing themes that fail the too-strict rules we have now. The themes—and the people behind them—that we lose out on might never come back; and there’s evidence this has happened many times already.
Changing a strict philosophy of enforcing guidelines as rules to encouraging more experimentation and variety will go a long way to remove negative friction from reviews and make the themes in the collection better in the long run.
In summary: let’s enforce the “Points of Emphasis” (security, license, no spam) and leave the rest as recommended guidelines. We absolutely love if you follow them all, but none are blockers to your theme being included in the directory.