2012 is long gone. The past month was slightly busy owing to happenings here at 1stWebDesigner (stay tuned, we got a lot coming your way!), and as February begins, I have decided to take a look at how 2012 was, as well as what 2013 has in store for WordPress!
Now, before I actually start ranting about how good or bad 2013 is going to be, let us spend some time taking a look at 2012.
2012: The Year That Was…
All in all, 2012 proved to be a wonderful year for WordPress users and enthusiasts all over the world. The year saw two major releases of WordPress — Green (version 3.4) and Elvin (version 3.5). And, if I may say so, you already know you’ve got a good year if you have two awesome releases of WordPress in your hands!
However, it was not simply the version number that saw an upgrade. WordPress, as software itself, underwent significant changes. The Theme Customizer came into being, the Media Manager was revamped, and the Links Manager perished.
Yet, not all innovations were well received by the community. A good number of users criticized the new Media Manager — it seems to be ideal for creating a gallery, but not for the old school among us, who wish to enter the URL to a given image and insert it directly. Beyond that, the Theme Customizer and the disappearance of the Links Manager was appreciated by the vast majority of folks.
Still need more? The plugin repository incorporated an awesome concept of user reviews and feedback. Personally, I am not sure how effective this review mechanism will prove to be in the long run — most of the time, WordPress end users prove to be lazy reviewers. Ratings are good, but detailed reviews are a rarity. Yet, some innovation is always better than no innovation, isn’t it?
Now, coming to WordPress themes and plugins. I recently did an article about the state of WordPress themes (which, by the way, also has an accompanying infographic designed by Michael Burns — so if you have not checked it out already, DO IT NOW!).
Just like any other year, 2012 also saw many new free and premium themes as well as plugins of which Twenty Twelve is a shining example! Responsive and minimalist desogns have continued to gain momentum, and awesome ideas such as ManageWP, InfiniteWP and managed WordPress hosting too, have risen in popularity.
Thus, all said and done, 2012 was a terrific year for WordPress. Oh, and before I forget, voices were also raised against the current shape of WordPress and its user base.
2013: The Year That Will Be…
Having gone through 2012, let us now turn our focus towards 2013.
Ah… well, 2013 is over a month old, and it already looks to be promising enough. Wanna know why? For a start, version 3.6 is already getting ready for a barrell roll. Now, only time will tell whether version 3.6 turns out to be a hit or a flop, but, as is obvious by now, we should be ready to be greeted with new WP releases in 2013.
And while we are talking about getting ready, how about checking URL embedding prowess in WordPress using one of our awesome tweets?
“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson buff.ly/T9Ep4w
— Dainis Grāveris (@1stwebdesigner) December 28, 2012
Last year, Matt Mullenweg spoke emphatically about mobile publishing for WordPress. In 2013, we have every reason to expect to see those words turning into action. As far as my prediction goes, I do not envision an all-out radical revamp of the user interface. On the contrary, I do expect many mobile-friendly innovations to come to the fore.
Let us stick with the mobile for some more time. Having used the WordPress.com mobile app sometime back last year, I do hope that 2013 provides us with a better alternative. The current WP.com app can surely use a facelift, and with the ever happening and versatile community over at WP.com, it is only a matter of time before the much needed facelift greets the mobile app.
Also, speaking of innovations, we are already aware that WordPress is now retina ready. In 2013, I am assuming there will be many new developments in the touch-friendly zone as well. However, by touch-friendly and mobile-friendly, I am not simply referring to a leaner (and meaner) admin panel. As far as I can see it, the popularity of plugins such as WPtouch Pro can rise significantly this year.
What about Design Trends?
When it comes to trends related to web design in general, predicting on the basis of calendar dates becomes difficult. After all, just like any other art form, web design trends happen to take birth without a warning.
Speaking strictly of WordPress themes, one new trend that I can see gaining momentum in 2013 is the Metro style (blame it on Microsoft Windows 8 and its Metro UI). Basically, Metro style means using bold, and often colorful, blocks of content against a light and minimal background. Quite obviously, such innovations are futile without responsive design. Metro Style is a wonderful theme that portrays a design similar to Metro UI.
Furthermore, I do not expect the popularity of responsive web design or minimalism (accompanied by subtle textures and clean typography) to diminish anytime soon. Another interesting design trend that will gain even more popularity in 2013 is the use of Parallax in WordPress themes. For instance, Mercurial is a good example of the use of Parallax in WordPress themes.
Each time I write a “future predictions” article, I feel like a soothsayer from Ancient Egypt (minus the part related to animal sacrifices and shaved eyebrows).
2013 will, in all likelihood, be a good year for WordPress. The apex CMS crown will not be challenged anytime soon, and the number of themes and plugins will continue to rise. I do, however, feel that most of the innovations this year will be on the mobile front, and the desktop version is likely to remain more or less the same. Lastly, I personally do not envision multiple changes in the WordPress UI in 2013. However, if it happens to be released this year, I am surely expecting the Twenty Thirteen theme to surpass all of its predecessors in terms of awesomeness.
What do you think of WordPress in 2013? Furthermore, what are the new changes and additions/deletions that you would like to see this year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and is the author of "Sufism: A Brief History". He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.