EP342 – Putting your best theme forward

October 25, 2019

This week the WPwatercooler panel discusses the WordPress Theme Directory based on a post by Justin Tadlock of WPTavern – Curated List of Featured Themes Coming to the Theme Directory. The panel discussed many different ways the Featured Themes section of the Theme Directory is flawed currently in its weird random setup. Curation seems to be a good strategy for fixing this issue but inforcing rules is going to be a tough one.

“While themes in the directory undergo a strict code review, there is no quality control on design.”

We noticed this too while on the show, it seems that we need to take some time and build out a strict cutoff and one of them should be, in Jason Tucker’s opinion be if the theme is accessible or not. If we came from a culture where “mobile-first” was important at one point in our recent history then “accessibility-first” should be the new goal. 105 themes in the directory are set with the Accessibility Ready tag but when you have poor examples such as Stix in the directory, is quality being looked at?

Sé Reed mentioned the talk that Natalie MacLees did at WordCamp Long Beach regarding accessible themes.

Reading into this a bit more Justin Tadlock writes:

“The team implemented a program that allowed the top reviewers each month an opportunity to pick the featured themes…” “The problem was that nearly all of the top reviewers were theme authors. Their incentive for doing reviews was to get their themes featured. Big theme businesses stood the most to gain. They could put multiple reviewers to work who would knock out review after review.”

with that being said it looks like the theme directory and it’s Theme Review Team have a plan, Justin writes:

“The general consensus seems to be that featured themes would not have any upsells or other commercial aspects. That could limit the pool of potential themes considerably because many theme authors have some sort of commercial interest in having their themes hosted in the official directory.”

Jason Cosper had a prediction regarding restricting the directory to non-upsale themes – “we’re going to see a lot of Automattic made WordPress.com themes in the featured themes”

Thanks Justin Tadlock and the team over at WP Tavern for the topic for us to discuss if you want to join us on this episode of WPwatercooler you can do so by visiting our Participant guidelines page to learn more.

WPwatercooler network is sponsored by ServerPress makers of DesktopServer. Be sure to check them out at https://www.serverpress.com


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