The story of WordPress – how it impacts on the world of design

WordPress was introduced to the world May 27th, 2003 and probably none of us could predict how deeply would it influence web designing. This content management systems was created as a very comfortable and easy tool for blogging, yet during last 16 years it evolved into something much more than bloggers’ favourite little helper.

Madness is like gravity…

And so is WordPress, all it took was a little push. Paraphrasing Heath Ledger’s Joker from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, I try to say that this one universal tool spread over the web design world in wrong and far too vast way. In a way it discourages creativity, as any other phenomena of such general applicability does.

As I have already mentioned, the story of WordPress begins with blogging, yet it definitely doesn’t end there. Theoretically speaking, it works well with online stores, simple forums or online photo galleries, but still… WordPress is dedicated for blogging.

Using WordPress for these (as well as many unnamed others) types of websites created something like semi-not-exactly-discipline of “WordPressing”.

The very tool, this CMS reversed the way websites should be designed, at least from web designer point of view. Bringing new website to life shouldn’t start with already chosen CMS. Picking the right toolset is ought to be the first step of designing.

In the “good old days” we used to work with charts, it was very basic. Later came times of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, different resolutions, smartphones and other mobile devices. Everything was changing in its own natural way and web design was adapting accordingly while someone decided to do something exactly opposite.

Using WordPress for nearly all kinds of websites stopped the evolution of design.

Moreover, it also made us adapt content of one particular website to popular WordPress templates. This trend was further enhanced by Elementor and online templates markets such as ThemeForest. In the meantime the real web design is struggling to resurface.

Some may argue that such solutions are just the results of developing functional design, yet I couldn’t disagree more. Treating web design (discipline combining graphic design and programming) as if it was just online version of playing with plastic bricks is simply mad. Choosing a pretty template for the main site is not the end of the job, exactly like putting a cover on a pile of pages doesn’t necessarily make it a book.

Of course such solutions, as those mentioned above, seem quite useful and honestly, they really are useful. The main issue with them is such, that they are dominating over real, thorough web designing. It’s like modeling. There are professional models and there are Instagram models – quality of their work (or “work” in some cases) and photos are the factor that makes the difference.

And there are complete templates to buy and use, such as those on ThemeForest. These are the worst. First of all, they create an illusion that all possible ways of designing a website have already been invented and placed on the online market.

Such a scenario is impossible but many people don’t know it and they fall for this false image. They end up with templates that are not fit for their needs and the number of bad underperforming websites only increases. There is also the case of SEO. The vast majority of templates aren’t optimized, which makes them really difficult to be well advertised and appealing to receivers.

Creating such templates is still less of a crime than pretending to know how to design a website.

Long story short, a consumer may end up paying not so small sum for a website that isn’t really tailored for his or hers requirements. Of course such website may still look pretty on the outside, whereas its code leaves much to be desired.

Returning to WordPress itself, I have to mention the latest big and significant development of this CMS, by which I mean the new editor called Gutenberg.

When you read about it, it seems that this development named after famous historic german inventor aims at becoming something similar to popular “builders” such as Elementor for example, but it is not exactly true. Of course, Gutenberg also bases on building website from blocks, but from the technological point of view, there is a huge difference.

Gutenberg is already built in WordPress so it doesn’t have negative effects on either development or management.

When you juxtapose the reality of using Gutenberg with other builders such as Elementors it is the new WordPress editor that makes a better impression.

My main and most essential conclusion, stemming from the story WordPress and especially the very existence of Gutenberg, is that WordPress creators are developing their CMS in the right direction but its future lays in hands of users.

This probably most popular CMS started as an open source tool for blogging. Then it was kind of taken out of its comfort/dedication zone and people started using it to create a huge mass of templates and websites that had (and still have) nothing in common with term “good quality”.

Everyone may use it as they please to, yet at the same time there is nothing wrong with saying that it is similar to using kitchen knife: one may use it to cook a delicious meal or to chop a pile of wood. Choice of the right usage of knife is up to you, dear Reader.

Finally, I must admit I may seem to be a little harsh on many’s favorite CMS but it is not my intention.

WordPress isn’t a bad tool but it is not used wisely by many so-called web designers. Unfortunately, this user-friendly blogging tool was widely misunderstood by its users and as a consequence, it accidentally contributed to creation of many wrong practices.

WordPress has many benefits and can prove undoubtedly useful, but under no circumstances should be perceived as an all-in-one universal web designing tool to rule all others.

Categorized as design