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, 2022, and 2023 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
In our 2023 list, we said, “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.” Yet here we are in 2024 and nothing has changed.
Just to be clear, WordPress is an amazing platform for building a website. It’s still the best choice without hesitation. However, the way WordPress has handled dark mode is nothing short of embarrassing. WordPress developers have placed the onus on theme developers to figure out how to support dark mode on their own, but that’s a terrible excuse. The entire point of WordPress is to provide a common codebase for all themes and plugins so developers don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but they have failed in respect to dark mode.
As we stated in last year’s wish list, proper dark mode support requires three components:
- Dark mode options should be integrated into the Customizer so users can easily add a dark mode and light mode color for each element.
- WordPress needs to add dark mode alternatives to images — i.e. show image A in light mode and show image B in dark mode.
- WordPress needs to add dark mode support to the Dashboard so site admins can edit in dark mode.
These three components of dark mode all make much more sense to integrate into core rather than leaving the work to theme developers. Themes would have to determine which elements need to have colors selected as they do now, but the mechanism to do so would be much better integrated into core.
We’ve actually made suggestions directly to the WordPress team on this issue, but sadly, the WordPress development team held strong to their position that theme developers should figure out a way to integrate dark mode on their own. We can only hope the WordPress team corrects course at some point.
2. Better feature parity between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress sites
This one is a little farfetched but bears mentioning. One of the most confusing aspects of WordPress is that it is actually two separate things. WordPress itself is an open-source software package that anyone can download from the website WordPress.org and install on their own website. But a company called Automattic, which is heavily involved in the development of WordPress software, also owns the website WordPress.com and offers to host websites there. The two are not the same, and we’ve even written an explainer detailing the differences between the two WordPress offerings.
In a nutshell, Automattic takes the WordPress software and modifies it for WordPress.com sites. In doing so, they add some cool features — site stats, anti-spam protection, and security, for example — but they also require a paid plan to access some features that are free to self-hosted WordPress users. The latter is understandable. After all, they’re running a business and need to make it profitable. Automattic also offers their added WordPress.com features in a plugin called Jetpack, which we have recommended for years. But wouldn’t it be nice if WordPress included these features by default?
The problem is it seems as though Automattic doesn’t want to build those features into WordPress core, so while this would be a welcome change, it’s extremely unlikely. But we can still dream — after all, that’s what this post is for, right?
3. Update scheduling
We mentioned this feature last year, but it bears repeating. One powerful feature WordPress has had for years is the ability to schedule a new post or page to go live at a certain time. For example, our WordPress tips (like this one) go live on Mondays at 5:00 AM local time. This way, they’re available before our first scheduled social media posts go live, and we don’t actually have to wait until Monday mornings to post content.
The problem is that once you’ve published a post or page, you can only change it effective immediately. There are plenty of reasons you might want to schedule changes to content though. Whether it’s limited-time content (articles of the month, for example) or simply keeping an article up to date when information is set to change, scheduled updates would be just as handy as scheduling content to go live in general.
While third-party plugins are available for most missing WordPress and this is no exception, this is a fairly basic feature and shouldn’t need a separate plugin. We use the PublishPress Revisions plugin, but the user experience is anything but smooth. Surely WordPress could do a better job implementing this feature.
What features do you want to see WordPress add? Let us know in the comments!