Ian Stewart published his new annual tradition prediction post which this year contains 15 different thoughts and perspectives on what the future of WordPress themes will be like for 2009. Among those 15 people is yours truly and this is what I had to say.
While 2008 proved to be a dynamite year for WordPress themes, especially the news/magazine layout, I think this year will continue down that same road but with improvements being made in all areas such as less dependency on the end user knowing how to utilize custom fields, better UI when it comes to configuring the theme in the WordPress administration panel, better documentation bundled with themes, etc. In last years prediction, I mentioned that the next trend of themes would revolve around Widgets enabling the end user more control of the initial layout of the theme. It didn’t quite take off as I thought it would however, I saw bits and pieces of the trend taking shape at the end of 2008 and I think it will make lots of progress throughout 2009.
Another trend I’m subscribing to in 2009 is the year of the theme framework. We have quite a few theme frameworks already in action and throughout 2009, I feel a few more will come online. However, educating end users about theme frameworks, child themes, CSS, should be a top priority or else this child theme concept will never lift high off the ground.
Last but not least, I see the premium/proprietary theme market expanding instead of shrinking. Will these new entrants abide by the GPL? Only time will tell.
I read through the responses this morning and it seems like many people are on the pulse when it comes to theme frameworks. Also worthy of discussion is the ever increasing blurred line between themes and plugins which was brought up by Nathan Rice. Lots of great thoughts and opinions regarding WordPress themes and 2009 so go on over and give it a read.