I recently sat on a panel at WordCamp NOLA alongside Matt Thomas (Creative Director, Automattic) and Ron Domingue (Ron Domingue Studios) to discuss the future of WordPress design. We covered a variety of topics and received some pretty good questions from the attendees. But now I’d like to hear what you have to say about some of this stuff. I’d love to have a dialogue about these things, so please leave your thoughts below, or hit me up on Twitter.
Grandma’s got a blog.
With each release, WordPress is progressively lowering the bar for entry to the blogging arena closer and closer to zero. Literally anyone can have a blog up and running on WordPress.com in a matter of minutes. Or a self-hosted WordPress.org site in not much more time. This means that the market for themes is going to continue to grow. Many of these new users take their writing very seriously, and see their blog designs as their online business cards. These beginners are going to be on the lookout for themes that are not only eye-catching, but easy to use and well-documented & supported.
Recently we’ve seen a huge shift of emphasis from longform writing to shortform content publishing on the web. Naturally, people are going to want their blogs to serve as a funnel for all this content they’re creating. Microblogging like Twitter, and other media like Vimeo and Flickr are obvious additions. However I think things like Asides and Miniblogs (See Below) are going to becoming more and more commonplace as well.
WordPress = CMS
Even if WordPress wasn’t meant for it, it already has the ability to serve as a viable Content Management System. As time goes on, and as features are added and refined, I think we’ll start to see it fill that role even more often. What’s this mean? It means that corporations are going to stop spending thousands and thousands of dollars on custom CMSs and start downloading WordPress for free. For us designers, it means we’ll have a whole new market of WordPress users looking for unique themes solutions for their corporate sites. Since they’ll now have a CMS that cost them $0, their budgets should be wide open for some great design.
WordPress in 2009 is going to be huge. More to come.