One of the most difficult decisions I face when building a new theme is which customization options to include.
It’s an incredibly difficult feature to balance. Customization options can make it possible for a single theme to be used for a greater variety of websites (which is good from a sales perspective), but it can also make a theme more complex to set up and customize.
Many of the best-selling commercial WordPress themes are ones that allow non-developers a huge amount of customization choices. Avada, Canvas, Divi, Make, Total and X Theme all have hundreds of settings. The big website platforms like Squarespace and Wix also provide a huge amount of design control.
Options Are Both Popular and Complex
I understand why customization is important. One of the main purposes of a website is to express a brand or identity. Customization of fonts and colors can be hugely important. When I helped my wife set up her first WordPress site years ago, I installed Canvas by WooThemes because I knew she’d want something that could be altered to fit her specific design aesthetic (and I didn’t have time at the time to customize it for her).
But even with a thousand options, there’s no way that everything can be customized. And adding many options has a downside: it increases the complexity of the user interface and code. Continue reading