CSSIgniter: Retrospective and our future directions

A new era for WordPress is coming with Project Gutenberg and we thought it’s a good time for a retrospective, how we started, what are we doing now, and what are our plans for the future. Read on to find out!

The beginning

It’s been almost six years since we (re)launched CSSIgniter. We started out with one goal, to create beautiful WordPress themes, without the confusing parts. No multi-purpose themes, no hundreds of tweaking options. We would research a particular niche and build a theme which served one purpose, to be good at building sites revolving around that niche. Our music themes were very popular among musicians and very good at what they did. They were not particularly suitable for, let’s say, fashion bloggers, but that’s the idea, each to their own. So, we have the beautiful, niche, WordPress themes, let’s take a look at the second part of our core strategy, “without the confusing parts”. When a developer tries to predict or anticipate a user’s minor or secondary needs the program tends to become a beautiful mess of switches, toggles, and obscure options, ultimately making the user’s life more difficult instead of adding value. Knowing that we gathered a few (still more that enough for most users ) options in our own custom options panel. Most of you will be familiar with the CSSIgniter Settings panel. If not, it looked something like this:

All the basics were there. Both bespoke theme options and customization ones alike. However, we also had a trick up our sleeves for those who required something beyond the basics. Our support was not, and is not there just to fix broken things, since day one, we went past typical support confines to help people extend our themes, add functionality and essentially create something both they, and us are proud of.

The way up to today

The Customizer settings in our Specialty job board theme

The recipe described above was pretty successful. People liked our designs, the simplicity of our themes, and the help they got from our support. Our user-base kept growing steadily and we gained some loyal followers. So we continued doing what we did best, we kept creating beautiful niche themes, and it was time to remove one more confusing part. With the rise of WordPress’ built-in customizer we noticed that some users found it inconvenient having to switch between the two to get their work done.  That was the end of the CSSIgniter Settings panel. All our modern themes have their customization options built in the customizer, this way we can provide a seamless experience to users setting up their theme, especially ones that come from WordPress.com and are not familiar with custom options pages.

The present day

It’s time for some shop cleaning. Some of our older themes will be retired. We will however build modern versions for the most popular ones among them to replace them. Some older themes that still function well and look awesome, will be transitioned to the customizer, making life easier for users. Finally, we started supporting the extremely popular Elementor page-builder. We are regularly releasing both free and premium landing pages for it, we also make sure all our new themes work nicely with it, and include custom elements to help you display the theme’s content optimally when using Elementor.

The future

Our first block for Gutenberg. The Slideshow block.

The Gutenberg era is closing in, if you have not read about it, we suggest you start catching up, it’s going to be a big change when it comes to content creation on WordPress. We started tinkering with it early on so we can be prepared and offer our users a smooth transition.  We plan on adding custom styling for some of Gutenberg’s default blocks in order to make them look at home in the general theme styling. We are also working on a plugin that will offer some awesome custom Gutenberg blocks! As mentioned earlier, we already support Elementor, we are working on Gutenberg support, and very soon we will be announcing support for another very popular page-builder, making sure our users are as versatile as possible when it comes to creating content.

Wrapping up

That’s all folks, for now at least! Hopefully you enjoyed this little retrospective, and you are interested in the things to come! Follow us for updates on future projects, and keep on creating!

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