This is a sore subject in the dot org world currently and it makes me laugh as I read all the comments. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it was a decision to use the customizer as the basis of all theme options that are hosted in WordPress.org‘s free repo.

The reason I laugh is because the common arguments being made are that it kills creativity and innovation. Okay. How so? It restricts you from using certain things. I could see that. To a degree. The few elements I can think of are textarea boxes and the ever-so-loved image sliders ( I type this out as my eye twitches ). Those are great but do they really belong in the theme? A WordPress theme is used to present your information, your content, your cats, your images. It’s not meant to create this. That’s what plugins do so when you switch a theme you don’t lose that image of your cat dressed as the tenth doctor.

Let’s think about this for a second. What is creativity?

the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/creativity

That’s the second definition from Dictionary.com and it almost hits the nail on the head. So what people are arguing, whining about is that the customizer makes it harder to be original, progressive or imaginative? I’m going to get some flak about this and I don’t care, but a fairly good example is US prisons. You tell me that a prison inmate can’t get a knife. I guarantee you they will find a way to get the job done. I mean most of us have seen Breaking Bad, right? We all know how Walt was very creative about his doings with limited resources.

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.

A great example, right? At least I like to think so. Another one is a song by Fort Minor brilliantly titled, “Tools of the Trade.” Give it a quick listen and you’ll get a better understanding of how out of restriction can come something good.

I know, I know. Not many of you like the song but it does give you a better perspective of how creativity can be greatly influenced by restriction. Another great example is Ok Go’s The Writing’s on the Wall video:

The thing to remember is that this video is filmed in one entire shot. There are no special effects added. Just straight camera and optical illusions. You can’t tell me that isn’t creative. People have been doing these things for years. Even in photography. Double exposures, dodging, burning, cross-processing films. They may sound like simple examples but they are creative ways to enhance a photo.

The customizer can do just that for a user’s experience. You just have to be creative about it.