Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who likes to build websites, and make video games. He buys way too much Lego.
Building WordPress themes for Pro Theme Design I have to tread a fine line, between what people ask for, and what people want.
I get loads of feature requests, and generally my approach is to suggest a plugin, or to dig a bit deeper and work out why the request has been made. The requests normally end up filtered into one of three piles.
Will it benefit me or my own website?
This is particularly relevant for my framework, Elemental, since I use this as the parent theme for every site I build, but is also important for a theme like Nominate, which I use on WPVote.com.
Will the changes or improvements make my own website (this website – Binary Moon) better? If the feature is something that would genuinely improve the quality or functionality of my website then it’s likely it will improve other peoples as well, and so I will work on it.
Will it reduce support requests?
Often these requests actually involve simplifying, or introducing, commonly requested features. If something has been requested 5 or 6 times then you can almost guarantee that there are another bunch of people who have struggled through the problem themselves. So adding this feature will make the users of my themes happier (less work for them to do), and will make me happier (less work for me to do) and so it gets added to the to-do list.
Is there a plugin that does the same thing?
I mentioned this above, but there are so many WordPress plugins available that often the items requested can be solved with one of the hundreds of free plugins on the WordPress website. The Pro Theme Design policy is that we don’t support third party plugins, this is simply because there are so many of them and I don’t want to have to study how they work in order to support them. That said, if a particular plugin is popular then there’s a good chance I will take a look as a problem may mean there’s a deeper issue with the theme in question.