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I don’t like WordPress (WP). It’s clearly a powerful Content Management System and very popular among non-codey types. I like that. What I find difficult is writing the standard and semantic HTML needed to provide a Universal Design (Note 1) and also, if I admit it, my own presentation preferences.

Screen grab of the WordPress visual UI for formatting content
The WP formatting bar today

For example, using the formatting bar is very limited. Where’s the definition/description list?And what is this Code format about?

<dl><dt>Item</dt><dd>Description or definition</dd><dl>

And why when writing  in “Code” format above (using the <pre> tag I assume) must it be so difficult? Where’s the line break that makes pre-formatted text usable? Press Return and the “code” is escaped. To achieve the Pre snippet in the line above I needed to Return, input the next word, and then delete the line-break between the code and word. Eek!

Screen grab of an improved presentation of PRE-formatted text (using styled spans)
A more usable code snippet presentation


And where is the out-of-the-box figure tag? Why does WP wrap my media in a figure tag simply to convey a caption? (Not that this last thing is bad, it only fails to meet my content needs). The visual Theme appears to over-ride everything. At the least I can fiddle with customised CSS and include a :not(.WP-theme-figure) attribute.

And where is an internal anchor tag link? (Shrug). It must be somewhere. This is the Web! Oh, there it is… doh.

A modern, “Picture” tab would be useful too to define and serve mobile-first and desktop image file sizes and versions. We should all be fluid-responsive these days, no?

And when I do want to insert my “own” HTML, I must go, Tools > Source code. The HTML displays in one minimized string dump. It’s hardly user-centric. It is so difficult to find or to insert the content needed editing. Bah! To get into the weeds I need to copy and paste into a text file or WYSIWYG editor, make my additions, and past back? (An abbr tag with title attribute would be handy too.

Screen grab of the minimised WordPress presentation of this post's source code
The minimized source view for this post (so far…)

(I’ve not done this yet – two reasons: one, I’m already cross-eyed and two, what happens to between-the-tag spaces in WP. OK, I’m lazy. Leave it. We’ll deal with that over time.)

Enough grumbles already.

The ideal?

It’s why I love to work and write directly to HTML. I know the pattern library and styles and employ them as I need.

So perhaps, its a “control” thing? Maybe. And I’ll add, also an efficiency thing. I just don’t find it efficient. I need to think too much about modifying my content to fit the template. It is distracting and hard work. I only want to dump in a quick blog post, after all.


Put up with it and adapt, of course! And tweak what I can where I am allowed under the hood 🙂 There are many (I assume) WP blogs out there with smart Pre and Code tags. I’ll have to investigate.


And there’s my summary. Why must I need to “work under the hood” to make something work?

That’s a key learning outcome for the softwares we design.


Note: I don’t want you to confuse my meaning when I use the terms, Universal Design and Universal Experience Design
Universal Design
Designing the accessibility, usability, and learnability of products to make them available to the widest range of people (users) regardless of ability.
Universal Experience Design
Designing the universal impact of the product and enterprise across their widest influences on the user experience from conception to reflection.

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