WordPress has launched a centrally hosted free blog solution ALA Blogger. On first glance it works great but it's seriously lacking design.
I'm not talking about that design for design's sake crap, but the need for a well developed GUI and an online presence to attract new users and retain existing ones. In several ways I think WordPress has a lot going for it functionally but in order for the software to seriously gain market share the developers need to recognize that design is needed to complete the product.
And while they're at it they should acknowledge Micheal Heilemann's contributions to the current level of success their product enjoys today. Michael's ongoing work in designing a better default template has definitely been value-add to the WordPress platform.
In no way do I discredit the technical merits of the software, I know it's good, but why disable to the potential of this product by leaving design behind?
I know that at one point a well known web designer was brought in to turn things around visually but those efforts were eventually put on hold. I have no idea why this happened nor do I really care, except that I'd really like to see this product mature to the point that it can seriously compete with the likes of Google and Six Apart. Not because I'm looking for a new platform to jump too anytime soon but good competition breeds innovation, the kind that keeps everyone pushing to develop the next great thing.
Somewhere in time developers and designers developed a rivalry in the tradition of engineers vs. managers, Macintosh users vs. Windows losers, Ford vs. Chevy truck owners.
I'll leave it to historians to figure out what sparked this bitter, cold-war between these two groups I just want to see it stop. Designers need to understand that their efforts aren't going to bring about world peace anytime soon, while developers need to admit that most users will never, ever appreciate the genius of their code.
Everything needs curb appeal, including web based applications. And if WordPress can't figure this out their application will always look like the welfare option in blog software.