Making WordPress easier to use

(Originally posted 8 January 2014.)

I work on occasion as an instructor so I look at things with a beginner mindset.

As I look at WordPress I can see multiple areas that can be improved to make it easier to use WordPress.

Below are features I hope will be added down the road to WordPress Core. For instance in 3.9 , 4.0 or onward.

Page title/name

An option to turn off page title so it does not show up at the top of the content area.

With most themes one has to manually go into the CSS Stylesheet and find the correct tag and then write a display: none code. There has been no real solution inside WordPress to turn this off. Some theme authors include an option page where this can be turned off. For instance themify.me

WordPress comments

– Options to turn on/off commments for all pages/posts. Or select which gets a discussion area or not.
– Styling of comment section.
– Additional comment features.

WordPress Categories

A lot can be done to improve how category pages are seen.
– Styling the category page with a title, image, links, background color or image etc.
– Styling what each post looks like within the specific category. Rounded box, border and color, background, shadow etc.
One column, two column, three column, featured post image left/below/right. Sorting of posts.
– Categories could also contain a color.

WordPress Posts

In continuing with the Categories section. When deciding on a category for a post a color icon will automatically also show next to the category name in the All Posts screen. Sort by category/color etc. Draggable posts. Linking posts in a category and closing to show only the top post with a + beside it. Various ways to keep a good order.

Featured content

A simple way to show posts/pages in a grid on the home page or any page. Easy to style and sort by different criteria. Date, category etc.

I did a search for featured content theme and happen to come across this theme: https://www.designyourway.net/drb/gameliso-magazine-wordpress-theme/

Post Categories shortcodes that use Category name

Post Categories shortcodes need to be able to use the name not just the ID which makes it difficult to know which category is selected.
I am using a Child theme of the parent theme Basic from themify.me I am using their shortcodes on the home page to show certain categories.
The shortcode looks like this without the brackets: list_posts limit=”6″ category=”33″ . I have to go to the Posts -> Categories section and hover the mouse over the categories and look at the bottom in the browser status area to see the category ID come up. Instead of using category=”33″ it would be a lot easier to list category=”wordpress-developer”.

Plugins:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/intuitive-custom-post-order/
https://wordpress.org/plugins/category-post-list-widget/

WordPress All Posts and Pages

– Duplicate post/page.
– Draggable.
– Stackable.
– Additional view by order.
– An easier way to navigate directly to a page or post.

Plugins:
https://wordpress.org/plugins/intuitive-custom-post-order/screenshots/
https://wordpress.org/plugins/duplicate-post/

Better content editing

A new overhauled editing posts or pages section. With a WYSIWYG content creation.

Better Galleries

More options in creating the default WordPress Galleries. Having a standard feature set to create a Gallery from. Galleries are being worked on for 3.9 and I look forward to seeing how it turns out. I do not know how much they will do though.

Media library

More options for how to store media. Upload into month/year could also include other options as well. Tags/folders for better sorting and order. Similar to this plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/enhanced-media-library/

Sections

I like to split the site into sections. Lets say that there is one main site for different countries splitting the site into country sections. Or for me it could be here on this site split my site into WordPress, Adobe, other sections. With different headers and designs. What I am talking about is similar to this plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/jonradio-multiple-themes/

Integrate Child Themes

It would be nice in some way have Child themes integrated into WordPress. An easy default no brainer way to add a child theme.
There are plugins today but it would be nice to have it integrated into Core.
Here is a good plugin to check out: https://wordpress.org/plugins/orbisius-child-theme-creator/

WordPress Footer text

Today we can easily add header text and description, but there is no easy way to change the footer text.
An upgrade of header, description and footer text to include easy to insert link, color, font would be helpful.

WordPress Profile page

In a profile page is the section to add some information about yourself. Perhaps a link below your description.
An image beside of your bio. It would be nice to easily style the author box and content. Then select where the author information should show (all posts or specific posts) and if it is to be seen in the top or bottom, as well as other viewing options.
It would also be good to include a checkbox where it could say: “Use gravatar image” or “upload a avatar image”.

Here is one author box plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/fancier-author-box/

Integration of Multisite

It is a tedious process to create a multisite. Creating a hybrid between single and multisite could be very interesting. The hybrid could then be different sections in the same site or other sites. For instance I want to create a section of my web site dedicated to WordPress and want it to look different then the main section. With a different layout, header image etc. Actually something similar to this plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/jonradio-multiple-themes/

– Shared media across network: https://wordpress.org/plugins/network-shared-media/
– Shared posts across network. https://github.com/laelitenetwork/Network-Latest-Posts
– Shared/different login information across sites.

https://wordpress.org/plugins/multisite-enhancements/

Menus

A minor thing but it can confuse beginners as I noticed in my last (media) class.
Manage location and Edit Menus. Manage location with Main Navigation should automatically add the first menu created. As it is right now one needs to go in add assign a menu. This can be easily forgotten by newcomers to WordPress.

WordPress Page Templates. These can be a very helpful! Located on the on the right side in a drop down under where it says Template.

This is up to each theme developer to include additional page templates.
For instance: a landing page which can remove the top header, menu, sidebars and the footer or a mix of these.
This can be used while the site is under construction. But there are also plugins for this which I will get back to another time.

Other templates can be an Archive page, sidebars, photo gallery, etc. All of these are meant to help us on our way in creating content. Looking inside the php file of a Page Template much can be understood and hopefully the theme author has also left some comments inside the code to make it even easier to understand what is going on. And perhaps even commenting out suggestions on how to change the template as well.

Here is a Page Template post I wrote that also brings in how to change the body background, install custom fonts and more.

I have been creating child themes for the theme Basic from Themify.me: https://themify.me/themes#free-theme

They have a framework for their themes. Making it a lot easier for the user as it includes many options.
For instance turning off page title, sidebars etc. A good section for Social links and other sections.

A look at innside the Themify Framework.

Some additional areas in WordPress I would like to see…. 

Presets/Skins. Saving a CSS Style as a preset. 

I create multiple Child Themes which all use a common function file (added widgets and more) and Page Templates.
I would really like to see a preset area where I can load in different designs of a site. This means I can have a Master theme or child theme and in a folder called designs/presets/etc I could have multiple CSS Stylesheets which I could choose from in the Presets area.

I have lately begun looking at Shoestrap which uses Bootstrap, and the Redux Frameworkhttps://shoestrap.org/ They are talking about extracting what does not belong in the theme design into a plugin or addon. Which seems like a good idea. Having a plugin for the most used options in WordPress will be very helpful.

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