One of the challenges that comes with building WordPress themes is that there’s this disposition that we have to want to make sure that for every option in the backend, we have a corresponding option for the feature in the front end.
For example, does the WordPress dashboard support multi-level menus? Yes. We look at that and think that our themes need to support multi-level menus. Same goes for several other options. But why is that?
WordPress is a content management system and not all content is made the same.
So this raises the question: Do we really need to be creating front-end elements that map to most of the backend elements in all of our themes?
Granted, not every theme does this but I think one classic example is the author box. To me, the author box makes sense if it’s a multi-author blog. If, however, it’s the same author writing all of the posts, is there really a need to showcase that person’s bio after every single post?
I know – there could arguments for this such as, say, giving others a chance to connect with them on social media but, then again, couldn’t those icons be shared elsewhere?
Going through each of the options that exist in the dashboard and trying to determine if there should be a one-to-one correspondence with the front-end would be a tedious exercise and not one that I’m going to be doing with this post.
Besides, how many of you would actually read all of that? Exactly.
But the ultimate point that I’m trying to make is that as we continue into building new themes and for those of us who are trying to take the opinionated stance in doing so, it’s okay to say “No” to certain features for the sake of giving users a much more limited feature set in their themes.
This forces them not only to make more creative decisions as it relates to how they organize their information, but it also forces them to work within constraints to limit the amount of information that they’re presenting to the audience.
We don’t read everyone post that everyone’s written (well, some don’t, at least), so how likely is it that people are actually going to be reading every page or pour through every archive that you have?
Regardless of what you choose, start thinking a bit more critically about what options you support in your themes. Make some decisions on behalf of your users and let them operate within them.
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