Boring, Boring WordPress: Why WP is Falling Behind

Boring, Boring WordPress: Why WP is Falling Behind

Another week, another set of plans for a new WordPress release and another massive anti-climax.

Colleen was not impressed by the latest updates to WordPress
Colleen was not impressed by the latest updates to WordPress

Yet more confirmation that while Medium is reinventing how we publish online, people are freaking out about Ghost purely because it offers a nice, simple experience and third party platforms like Squarespace are ripping it up… WordPress continues to persist with an interface that looks like a database application from 2005, with some quasi-modern color changes.

Sure, WP may be powering 20% of the web and growing, but it’s standing still. Maneuvering more like an ocean liner than a zippy yacht.

And that makes it both vulnerable to competition and complaints, and the biggest challenge to all of us working with the software, the question of how long will users stand this kind of experience and lack of progress.

I mean let’s take a look at the exciting new additions coming to a 3.8 version near you.

An MP6 Coat of Paint

The aim of the MP6 plugin was to “simplify” the WordPress admin area, perhaps with projects like Ghost in mind.

MP6
Oh, hooray, it’ll make plugin authors up their game by having to redo everything, woot.

And yet it completely fails in every way. In fact, it doesn’t even try.

Sure, it adds in (finally!) a responsive experience to the admin area beyond just shrinking a menu, but that’s about as revolutionary or interesting to your average user as watching paint dry (after all, they are using the WordPress Apps, no?).

It’s a dressed up admin theme. Changes nothing. Boring.

Dull as Dashboard

The Dashboard plugin (two ratings, four unanswered support threads???) is really gonna rock your World. Erm… Not.

Observe as it transforms your MP6 flavored dashboard from:

Your standard MP6 dashjboard experience
Your standard MP6 dashboard experience.

To:

The 'all new' sexy dashboard, yeh!
The “all new” sexy dashboard, yeah.

Yep, it’s really just cosmetic and not even awesome cosmetic at that.

Maybe it’s got “less bloat,” maybe it works nicer, but really, to the vast majority of users it’s just a bit of a design tweak.

And hey, it’ll be interesting to see where Matt places his pet news site in that config.

THX, But No THX

And then there’s THX38.

THX
Useful if you have lots of themes, perhaps.

You know when there’s a nice WordPress.com feature (wp.com has already got MP6, of course, so what were the chances of it not going into WP proper!), let’s just say it’s a nice wp.com feature and include it?

Because to the vast majority of WP users, a nicer theme preview and selection experience is about as useful as, well, something that’s not very useful at all.

Widget, Um, Clicker?

I don’t know how this one even merits a mention.

Widgets boring

So let me get this straight. It allows you to click on, as well as drag, widgets?

That is all.

Yawn…

Change For the Sake of Change

We posted about these features on Facebook and the response wasn’t exactly overwhelmingly positive:

Facebook
A thumbs down from Facebook users.

Thinking Inside the Box

If you want your software incrementally improved, looking a bit nicer and acting a bit better, then this release is for you.

If, however, you’re looking for something more interesting, something perhaps, like what Automattic is doing with WordPress.com, then you’ll be disappointed.

And if you’re looking for the future of web publishing over the next 10 years then you should probably look elsewhere.

Image credit CC Jason Scragz