Design faster in Wix

WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg questioned why a WordPress homepage and download page makeover took weeks to complete, while the same project could be done in hours using a website building platform like Wix or Squarespace.

What happened is that a group of WordPress contributors decided to use the WordPress block editor to revamp the WordPress homepage and download page to showcase what can be done with the new editor.

Everyone who commented on the proposal said that using the WordPress block editor is a good idea.

But a month later, Mullenweg questioned why it took a WordPress development team weeks to create two pages.

He wrote that he had a hard time imagining a person using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) website builder platform like Wix or Squarespace would take more than a day to complete the project.

Mullenweg wrote:

“…it’s such a basic layout that it’s hard to imagine someone spending more than a day on Squarespace, Wix, Webflow, or one of the WP page builders.”

The meaning of his words is clear.

WordPress block editor

The block editor, also known as the WordPress Gutenberg editor, was launched in 2018. However, an important feature of full site editing, the template editor, will not be released until 2021 as part of WordPress 5.8 and the template editor.

More parts of the full website editing experience will follow in the coming months.

The goal of the block editor is to modernize WordPress, making it easy for anyone to install and quickly start building websites.

The block editor is the future of WordPress, but it’s not done yet as it continues to improve.

WordPress Homepage Revamp

On July 8, 2022, a WordPress contributor (also an Automattic employee) announced the start of a redesign of the official WordPress.org homepage and download page, and suggested using WordPress’ block editor to do so.

The block editor is part of the WordPress initiative to modernize it and make it easy to design websites without learning to code.

The idea is to showcase the WordPress block editor.

The announcement was well received.

A WordPress contributor commented:

“I’m excited to see this project come to fruition on WordPress.

…Using the homepage as a place to showcase everything WordPress can be modern, innovative, and empowering would be a great goal.

In other words, with WordPress, you can basically do anything – build anything.

I’d love to see this design showcasing the modernization of the site’s editor and layout capabilities – and even do many things that have never been seen before. “

Another post:

“I am very excited about this project!”

Others wrote that this is a great way to showcase the editor and the WordPress community:

“The biggest opportunity I see, especially on the homepage, is a more cohesive WordPress story.

Beyond the power of the software itself and what it can do, there are entire communities that regularly come together to share the movement. “

All comments are positive and optimistic.

About eight days later, Mullenweg criticized how long the recent redesign of the WordPress news page took, noting that the project shouldn’t have taken so long to complete.

He posted:

“This should take a week or two to launch, not months, and the most interesting part will be the post-launch stats and feedback, and any subsequent iterations we make from there, rather than the long process before.

The redesign of /news took a long time.

We have a lot of .org to redesign, and a lot of accumulated crap, such as the current navigation – we can’t spend too long on any one section. “

One month later… Mullenweg criticizes project progress

A month later, the team created the two pages together, and on August 1, they shared the update in a post titled “Developing a redesigned home and download page.”

This post is a pleasant update on all the progress made on the still incomplete redesign.

Eight days later, Mullenweg started the discussion by criticizing the effort, commenting:

“It’s not a good use of time and doesn’t further the actual goal of a new homepage or download page, and we have a better place to spend our development time.”

The developers who led the redesign defended the pace of progress, writing:

“In less than three weeks from design to launch, I’m very proud of the collaborative work the team has been able to accomplish. The new theme is great. The teams involved have built a great theme in record time. I think people will love it. “

Others have also posted support for the progress.

Mullenweg criticized the pace of the redesign:

“33 days after the project started doesn’t feel fast to me, but I think it’s worth digging deeper and not trying to quickly turn a Figma design into a theme (which should be hours, not weeks, though)  … .”

He went on to express his vision that this should go faster:

“You can imagine a world where instead of taking more than a month to release a design, it means we can do up to 12 of these designs in a year, we pre-produce 20 to 30 designs, and ideally have Very different approaches and replication, and focus our development time on measuring success metrics for each approach and iterating from there.”

He then compares the speed of development on WordPress to the speed on a SaaS website builder platform:

“…implemented in ‘hours not weeks’ – it’s such a basic layout, it’s hard to imagine someone spending more than a day on Squarespace, Wix, Webflow or one of the WP page builders time.”

Finally, he recommends using the existing code approach:

“So if we’re just doing a prettier version of the same thing, use existing code methods to make those changes quickly and move to something higher value.

If you want to push WP itself further, you need a completely different approach. “

response to criticism

Reactions on Twitter ranged from a sarcastic dig at WordPress to a team supporting the redesign.

But some support Mullenweg:

WordPress is not as good as a SaaS website builder?

Mullenweg’s comments may reiterate WordPress’ vision that development should be fast and easy.

From this perspective, 33 days to recreate an existing design might be seen as less than ideal.

Have SaaS website builders like Wix, Duda, Squarespace surpassed WordPress?


Featured image by Shutterstock/Luis Molinero

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