WordPress 3.0 is garnering some positive reviews in the few days since its release. The latest installment of WordPress boasts features like custom post types, drag-and-drop menu management, custom taxonomies, multi-site merging capabilities…
That’s where they lost me, too.
My understanding of the WordPress mission has always been blogging and web design for those of us who can’t; essentially, a stripped-down platform for custom web site creation (my apologies to web designers who take offense to a blogger thinking he can dabble in site layout). While that may be overstating what WordPress could initially do, recent revisions of the service enabled just about anyone willing to dedicate the necessary tinkering time to craft their own personal space on the web.
As is the case with any company, growth was inevitable. As the WordPress team developed and released new generations of their product, the options and available tools have become increasingly complex. Some will say that more is always better, but I am beginning to wonder if by introducing more sophisticated instruments, the target demographic for the site- and as a result, its mission- has changed.
At first glance, any user will appreciate the new themes, including the new default, Twentyten. If the new menu management tool is as easy as advertised, it will also be a great addition for creating navigation with simple steps. WordPress also claims to have fixed over 1,000 bugs in the site, pleasing even the most basic user.
Beyond this point, the water becomes muddy. Not gulf oil-spill black, but more of an “I went a little overboard with the chocolate sauce” brown.
What I mean is the bulk of the feature enhancements speak to an audience with a broader knowledge of design and layout. This is not to say that with the right research and trial and error that one can’t utilize the full scope and power of WordPress 3.0, but again, what I perceived to as the essence of the service is falling further out of reach. Granted, not every feature needs to be used in order to successfully harness WordPress for your site. Those which you can’t understand can mostly be pushed aside for later activation.
Overall, I like the additions introduced in the WordPress 3.0. Pushing the boundaries of the service’s capabilities will ensure the site remains relevant and will keep users thoughtfully engaged. I just wish the more advanced upgrades were devised with basic users in mind.
Let’s just say adding “Help” tabs on every screen may be the best new feature for 3.0.