WordPress has been launching frequent updates in recent years to take user experience up a notch. And things are only getting better with the new homepage and download page designs launched a few days back. Presently, WordPress.org is sporting a refreshed look that complements the eye-catching look and feel the platform is so well known for.
Nicholas Garofalo, a contributor to the Automattic-sponsored WordPress marketing team, explains what the new designs are about. According to him, the new homepage design helps bring more attention to the advantages and positive experience of using the WordPress platform. It also highlights the community and the resources one needs to get started.
On the other hand, the new download page comes with an improved layout that makes it easier for visitors to get started with the platform. It presents both the hosting and download options right at the top of the page.
To elaborate, the new refreshed download page design offers users two clear options at the top. You now have buttons to easily download and install WordPress and browse through recommendations for setting it up with a hosting provider. In addition, you also get help and support options, including developer resources, WordPress courses, basic support, and access to user forums.
While the feedback for the newly launched designs has been overwhelmingly positive, the journey that led to these developments was by no means smooth. The Meta team, responsible for the maintenance and management of WordPress.org sites, published an update around three weeks from the launch date of the design project. It mentioned that the designs were ready, and they were working on a block-based theme for implementing it.
Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress and the CEO of Automattic, wasn’t impressed with the pace of the project and was quick to put forward his opinion on it. His words were, “This is not a good use of time, nor does it further the actual goals of a new homepage or download page, and we have better places to spend our development time.”
This interaction didn’t go well with some other community members, with a few being offended by Mullenweg’s criticism of the project’s speed. Alex Shiels, an Automattic-sponsored contributor, responded to Mullenweg’s negative criticism by providing a rough timeline of the team’s work on the project since they started working on it. While he said he understood that the founder’s response was due to the use of the block theme, Alex was proud of the outstanding work done by the team in what he considered to be record time.
Mullenweg responded with his own view, saying that taking 33 days since project kickoff didn’t feel quick to him, especially as he considered the design a “prettier version” of the same information and ordering currently present on the homepage. He went on to say, “So, if we’re just doing a prettier version of the same thing, make those changes in place with the existing code approach quickly and move on to something higher value. If you are trying to further WP itself, you need a fundamentally different approach.”
Also, several users criticized the founder on Twitter for his take on the issue. In response, Mullenweg put forward a tweet saying, “Regardless of whether someone is a volunteer or sponsored, open source developers need to be able to debate and discuss our work in public, as we have since the dawn of wp-hackers so that we arrive at the best outcome for users.”
Overall, while the designs have received a positive response from the users, the project has sparked new debates. The conversation now revolves around how difficult it is to develop new designs using the block editor, even for the WordPress team.