WordCamp Chicago 2012 is probably months away and, at this point, WC Chicago organizers haven’t even announced any plans for an official gathering. For the sake of the Chicago WordPress community, and to humor myself, I thought it would be fun to reach into my crystal ball and pull out some likely topics you’ll see at WordCamp Chicago 2012.
The envelope please:
Responsive Theme Design
This all pretty much started with the default TwentyEleven Theme and it’s really starting to pick up in the premium theme development community. Basically, instead of creating a separate “mobile” website or using a mobile WordPress plugin, the theme actually “responds” to the browser. Thus, when you use a browser of a smaller resolution, say a iPhone, the theme adjusts its display properties accordingly so content is show an optimal way.
Search Engine Optimization will probably always be a hot topic among WordCampers, especially among the user/blogger trac. Popular trends we’re seeing right now include the integration of social search, where organic search engine recommendations are based on your habits and data that search engines are able to aggregate from your social networks. Other popular topics that kind of fall into the SEO category are themes and plugins that create landing pages. The use of landing pages are becoming more and more popular for creating specific pages on your WordPress site that are purely meant to cohorts the reader to cause an action.
You really can’t talk about theming for WordPress without mentioning a framework. With the continued popularity of frameworks such as Genesis, there appears to be no looking back when it comes to standards for theme development. If you’re serious about building web properties and you’re not interested in doing all of the coding yourself, then this is a great way to get started. I expect to see at least a handful of sessions focused on elements of using frameworks and creating child themes.
Back to Blogging Basics
We’ve really seen WordPress grow into a multifaceted content management system great for all types of web applications but, at the end of the day, the build in blog is what really make WordPress so great. I hope to see more topics related to actual blogging vs. using WordPress to do X and YZ. Because WordPress is so functional, it allows us to create awesome content, something that every blogger should be focused on rather than going off into a million directions with extended function themes and plugins.
One-page portfolio themes seems to be all the rage. Matt Mullenweg briefly hit on these “Scrolling Themes” in his last “State of the Word” address at WordCamp San Francisco 2011. We’re starting to see a small influx of one-pager themes on ThemeForest but the functionality of these themes are still pretty limited. Something I personally would like to see more focus on in 2012.