WordPress wish list for 2023

In what has become an annual tradition for MPWR Design, we’re kicking off the new year with some new year’s resolutions we wish WordPress would make. You can compare our 2023 WordPress wish list with our previous wish list for 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 to see how are hopes and dreams for WordPress have changed over the years. With that in mind, here are the primary missing features in WordPress that we wish would be added to WordPress core

1. Dark mode support

It would be lazy to copy and paste from last year’s WordPress wish list, but it’s also starting to seem pretty lazy that WordPress still doesn’t have better support for dark mode. WordPress developers have claimed themes should figure out how to support dark mode on their own, but that’s a terrible excuse. WordPress needs to add support for three dark mode features:

  1. Dark mode options should be integrated into the Customizer so users can easily add a dark mode and light mode color for each element.
  2. WordPress needs to add dark mode alternatives to images — i.e. show image A in light mode and show image B in dark mode.
  3. WordPress needs to add dark mode support to the Dashboard so site admins can edit in dark mode.

None of these three options make sense for themes to take on. Themes would have to determine which elements need to have colors selected as they do now, but the mechanism to do so should be integrated into core.

Here at MPWR Design, we’ve actually made suggestions directly to the WordPress team on this issue, but sadly, those suggestions were not implemented. As great as WordPress is, this is a terrible oversight, and we can only hope the WordPress development team corrects course at some point.

2. Built-in security

We mentioned this idea in 2022 as well, but it bears repeating. One of the biggest complaints people have about WordPress is that it’s susceptible to hacking. While competing website platforms tend to exaggerate the issue to scare people away from WordPress, it would serve WordPress well to integrate security features into WordPress core the same way they did with site health features. WordPress would benefit from at least a basic built-in security check to see if files have been altered or added, with a simple option to restore or delete those files. Of course, we’d expect hackers to try to alter the files that check for altered files, so this could be a bit of a back-and-forth battle.

As we mentioned last year, Automattic’s Jetpack plugin offers a similar feature. It’s a great plugin, to the point that we’ve called it a must-install plugin. But doesn’t the fact that we always recommend installing Jetpack make the case more obvious for why WordPress should integrate its features into Core? It seems like WordPress is content to keep these features separate, but we’d love to see WordPress have security features, site stats, and caching out of the box instead of needing a plugin.

3. Post duplication and update scheduling

We’d love to see more options for posts added to WordPress core. Specifically, duplicating posts and scheduling updates should be features integrated into WordPress. Third-party plugins are available for both of these features, but these are fairly basic features and shouldn’t need a separate plugin. On top of that, the PublishPress Revisions plugin is pretty clunky and we believe WordPress could do a better job implementing this feature.

4. Grandchild themes

Child themes are an important part of the WordPress structure, and we’ve recommend several use cases for child themes. However, this structure could use some expansion in the form of a “grandchild theme.” Essentially, a child theme is a collection of some of a theme’s files that should persist even when the theme is updated. Instead of making changes to a theme’s files, you should create a child theme so a theme update doesn’t wipe out your changes. But several popular themes have had other users create pre-made child themes with a collection of popular changes. If you make use of a pre-made child theme, it would be nice to have a way to make changes to those files and be able to receive updates from the child theme creator. Grandchild themes might sound overly complicated, but they would have a good use case.

5. Master control files

WordPress is a great platform for end users and professional website designer/developers alike, but in some ways WordPress seems to cater to users more than professionals. Some features that would be really useful for professional site designers and developers don’t currently exist. One of those would be a way to bundle a theme, a group of plugins, and some custom settings together for a quicker and easier installation.

What does this mean? Presently, if you install WordPress on a new website, you have to first install WordPress, then choose a theme, and then activate plugins one by one. You can upload theme and plugin files to a website at once with FTP, but you they can’t all be automatically activated and customized without a third-party import/export plugin. It would benefit professionals greatly to have a master settings file that could be activated on a website that would automatically activate themes and plugins and configure custom settings.

6. Automatic code minification

Site load times are incredibly important for a variety of reasons. Obviously, your site needs to load quickly to keep visitors happy, but site load times also impact SEO. One major factor in a site’s load time is whether or not its code is “minified” — a process that removes extra line breaks and spaces and consolidates files. We’ve created a handy tutorial to help you minify your site, but if would be even better if this tutorial could be no longer necessary because WordPress decided to minify code automatically.

Even though we’ve come up with several things we’d love to see the WordPress team add to core, it doesn’t mean we don’t love the platform. We believe it’s the best way to create a website, and we use it exclusively — we just see how the best could still improve even more.

What features do you want to see WordPress add? Let us know in the comments!