As I mentioned last week, there are a few things that are coming with regards to how Pressware‘s theme (with more in the pipeline) to be treated with the nature of open source.

But in preparing for this shift, I’ve also been giving a lot of thought about a number of different things with regard to how we go about building plugins, themes, extensions, tools, and so on for WordPress. I think that we intrinsically know that we should be focused on our users, but I think there’s also something inside of us that wants to impress our peers.

I mean, surely it’s not just me, right?

But here’s what I’m getting at:

What would it look like to spend time critically investigating every single decision that went into a, say, theme’s design?

That is, I think it’s common to assume that all blogs will include a header, content area, and a footer along with an optional sidebar, but what about menu systems, widgets, and other optional areas?

So often, I think that we get in the routine of putting a new coat of paint on the same elements that we stop thinking, reconsidering, or investigating what options we have that could potentially bring innovation to the space.

Then again, I’m not claiming I’m that person. This is just one of those things that you end up thinking about whenever you, y’know, have too much time to think about what you’re doing.

But I know that in the future, one of the things that I want to do for the particular projects I want to release:

  • Focus far more on simplicity. If a person’s ultimate goal is to write, then nothing should get in the way of them being able to do within the context of the environment that they are writing.
  • Think Critically About Every Element. Does a theme need an author box? Do there need to be social icons? If a person is just blogging more of a life stream, do they need a menu or can they just use the menu widget?
  • Do we need sidebars? Or is it enough for the main stream of content to be the primary focus of the blog?

Obviously, each of these questions has their pros and cons when talking about blogging themes (versus, say, real estate themes, magazine themes, etc.) and I’m not trying to provide a definitive list of questions (or answers, for that matter) for any of the above.

I am, though, trying to get us to think a bit more towards potential customers, outside-the-box, and potentially in more innovative ways that we’ve seen over the past few years with regards to themes.

I know I’m not the only one who’s thought some of this through, so what is it that you guys and girls are thinking through, as well?