In December 2023, Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, delivered the keynote speech at the State of the Word event in Madrid, Spain.
This marked a significant milestone for the WordPress community in Spain as it was the first international gathering of its kind.
During his address, Mullenweg reflected on WordPress’s 20th anniversary and highlighted the achievements of 2023.
He also unveiled the upcoming initiatives for 2024, focusing on data liberation and enhancing web accessibility.
In this article, we will delve into the key takeaways from the State of the Word 2023 and explore what WordPress has in store for the year ahead.
Looking Back at WordPress 2023
Here’s the full featured video on state of the word 2023 in Madrid, Spain-
WordPress Turns 20!
The year 2023 was a momentous one for WordPress as it celebrated its 20th anniversary.
It is a rare feat for any internet-based platform to endure for two decades. The WordPress community marked this milestone by hosting 70 WordCamps in 33 countries.
WordCamps are events that bring together WordPress users and developers to share knowledge and experience.
After the disruptions caused by COVID-19 in the previous years, the return of WordCamps in 2023 was a significant achievement.
Openverse Wins the Open Education Award for Excellence
Openverse, an open-source media library integrated into WordPress.com, received the Open Education Award for Excellence.
Openverse provides users with a vast repository of free-to-use images, audio, and other media resources.
With seamless integration into WordPress.com, users can easily insert media from Openverse into their content, enhancing the overall user experience.
Introducing Twenty-Twenty Four Theme
WordPress introduced the Twenty-Twenty Four theme as the latest default theme. This theme offers full customization capabilities and is designed to be adaptable, versatile, and suitable for a wide range of websites.
Users can easily personalize their websites using this theme and create unique online experiences.
Playground Tool for WordPress
One of the groundbreaking developments in 2023 was the launch of the Playground tool. This tool allows users to set up a WordPress environment directly within their web browser.
It is a significant advancement for developers and provides new WordPress users with an easy way to experiment with plugins and features.
Improvements to the Site Editor
WordPress made significant improvements to the Site Editor in 2023. On the writing front, features like footnotes and distraction-free writing mode were introduced.
Design enhancements included more intuitive styling options, simplified customizations, and a wide array of new themes.
These updates aimed to provide users with a seamless and user-friendly editing experience.
WordPress Future Plans for 2024
During the State of the Word 2023, Matt Mullenweg outlined the future plans for WordPress in 2024. These plans focus on enhancing user experience, performance, and collaboration.
Here’s the video of Matt’s speech–
WordPress aims to make website migration as seamless and painless as possible. Whether users are transitioning from another WordPress host or migrating from a different platform like Wix or Squarespace, WordPress is dedicated to streamlining the process.
The development of robust migration tools will empower users with greater flexibility and control over their data and online presence.
A groundbreaking feature set to be introduced in 2024 is real-time collaboration.
This functionality will allow multiple users to simultaneously edit content and design. Changes made by users will be synced in real-time, fostering a more efficient and collaborative editing process.
This feature will enhance productivity and enable teams to work seamlessly on WordPress projects.
WordPress will continue to focus on patterns, which gained significant momentum in 2023.
The advancements in this area will include enhanced syncing capabilities, increased customization options, and refinements to the site-wide implementation of patterns.
These developments will provide users with more powerful and flexible tools for creating and customizing their websites.
WordPress is committed to improving the platform’s performance in 2024.
Users can anticipate a substantial boost in efficiency with upcoming releases. Actions like typing, uploading media, and publishing will occur at a significantly accelerated pace, making the overall user experience smoother and more responsive.
The backend of WordPress websites will undergo a transformation in 2024. The dashboard and admin interface will be refreshed to adopt a more cohesive and user-friendly design, similar to the Site Editor.
This evolution will gradually unfold throughout the year, offering users a more intuitive and seamless experience when managing and navigating their websites.
Highlights from the Q&A Session
During the Q&A session at the State of the Word 2023, Matt Mullenweg addressed several audience questions, providing insights into various topics related to WordPress.
WordCamp US 2024 in Portland, Oregon
Matt announced that WordCamp US 2024 is scheduled to take place in Portland, Oregon, from September 16 to 19.
WordCamp US is one of the flagship events of the WordPress community, bringing together users and developers from around the world.
AI’s Role in WordPress
When discussing the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in WordPress, Matt Mullenweg explored the potential of AI for productivity enhancements and educational purposes.
He emphasized the importance of upholding principles of openness and freedom while leveraging AI to assist WordPress users.
In response to questions about plugin monetization, Matt recommended a shift towards building direct audience relationships and subscriptions.
He emphasized the need to move away from reliance on advertising and explore alternative revenue models for plugin developers.
Automatic’s IPO Plans
Matt clarified that there are currently no plans for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for Automatic, the company behind WordPress.com.
This statement addresses speculations and rumors surrounding Automatic’s potential public listing.
When discussing headless WordPress, Matt expressed the view that it can be a suitable choice depending on specific site needs.
However, he cautioned against overselling its benefits in certain instances, highlighting the importance of considering the unique requirements of each project.
Key Takeaways from State of the Word 2023
To summarize the State of the Word 2023, here are the key takeaways:
- WordPress celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023, marking two decades of success and growth.
- The WordPress community hosted 70 WordCamps in 33 countries, proving the enduring impact of the platform.
- Openverse, the open-source media library, received the Open Education Award for Excellence, enhancing the availability of free-to-use media resources.
- The introduction of the Twenty-Twenty Four theme provides users with a customizable and versatile default theme.
- The Playground tool enables users to set up a WordPress environment directly in their web browsers, facilitating experimentation and testing.
- Improvements to the Site Editor enhance the writing and design experience for WordPress users.
- WordPress’s future plans for 2024 include seamless migration, real-time collaboration, next-level patterns, performance improvements, and a dashboard/admin refresh.
- WordCamp US 2024 will take place in Portland, Oregon.
- AI, plugin monetization, Automatic’s IPO plans, and headless WordPress were addressed during the Q&A session.
As we look forward to 2024, WordPress continues to evolve and innovate, aiming to provide users with an even better experience and empower them to create exceptional websites.
With a focus on data liberation, collaboration, and performance, WordPress remains at the forefront of the content management system landscape.