I tried, really tried. I really wanted to like it. I even promoted it. The truth, though, is that the WordPress Customizer sucks. I know I’m being harsh but that is the truth. It has almost no value for a developer or designer and has minimal value for users. I’m writing this because I just got done reading the article “Initial Customizer Survey Results Reveal Majority of Respondents Don’t Use It” on WPTavern and had an “it’s-not-me-it’s-you” moment. I’ll tell you why regular users and DIYers have no real use for it.
The WordPress Customizer Sucks for regular users
If you took the steps to learn a bit of WP and bought yourself a theme, learned it and created a site for yourself you have absolutely no use for the Customizer. Any theme that can call itself a theme has fields which you can customize it in. The Customizer (as is) is not open to just any kind of customization. This forces the developer to split the customizable elements of his design into ones that can be part of the Customizer and ones that cannot and have to be placed somewhere else. Why would a theme developer, who cares about the user experience of his customers, force the user to sift through (more then they already do!) the dashboard trying to figure out what controls what! One day, when all components of a theme can be edited in the Customizer then we can start talking about a useful tool. But from the moment I have a theme which lets me edit the theme title and paragraphs in its own editor, why would I go to the Customizer to do that?
The WordPress Customizer Sucks even more for professionals
Besides the fact the we are being pressured to adapt our themes to having (certain) parts adapted to the Customizer, we have been introduced with many features that we don’t use. When I first heard about being able to tinker with CSS and see results live in the Customizer I was pretty excited. The experience has been underwhelming to say the least. Maybe for a quick mindless edit it is fine, but it pales in comparison to the FF, Chrome or Edge inspectors. For example, editing in FF, with all its features, is worth the “extra effort” of copy-pasting code into your styles.css, as opposed to the ‘ease’ of typing the css into the Customizer. Which, when you think about it, the inspector already shows you the CSS which you can play around with. With the Customizer you end up going to one of the above browsers to see what the damn classes and ids you want to change have attributed to them.
I love WordPress and I want to have a great a great Customizer, but it looks like I might have to wait a while for that to happen.
Also published on Medium.